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Wednesday 8 March 2017

Would the last one out please turn the lights out?

How many Bayern fans does it take to spend a pfennig

Things I learned last night:

- Yet another utterly humiliating Champions League capitulation was made all the more distressing because at half-time, it felt as if this was just about the first time this season that we've witnessed a properly motivated Aaron Ramsey (playing like he was wearing a Wales shirt!) and Theo Walcott. Could it be that Ramsey was finally able to cast off the shackles in the absence of Özil? But then at the same time, one has to wonder if the Arsenal performance during the first forty-five would've proved quite so acceptable, if they were playing against a Bayern team who hadn't already qualified?

- I find that it is often the little things that are most revealing and for me, I couldn't help but wonder if evidence of just quite to what extent the wheels have come off at the club was seen in the opening minutes against Bayern. I think it was our first corner of the game, right in front of us (and the raucous Krauts), when I noticed the Ox walking over, to hand a somewhat surprised looking Granit Xhaka the ball. Perhaps I'm guilty of reading too much into it, but I had to wonder just what exactly the Gunners do at London Colney every day, when the team isn't sufficiently prepared to know precisely who is on corner duty before they take to the field?

- On the radio before the game, they were discussing Robert Pires' appearance on TV earlier in the evening. After Wenger had spent most of the previous day's press conference denying the rumours of a training ground bust up, apparently it appears as if Bobby didn't receive this "party line" directive and (embarrassingly for AW) happily admitted that an incident had taken place.

- As happened in Munich, it was most disconcerting when Koscielny made his premature departure to witness quite how incapable Mustafi was of marshalling his defence. No matter how farcically incompetent the officials were, considering how optimistic I was about his strength of personality when Mustafi first arrived, Shkodran's failure to step up and show some leadership traits when we lost Laurent, this left me feeling most depressed, wondering if any of last summer's signings are destined for long-term success at the club?

- I wonder how many of our team wished they'd been in Welbeck's shoes and avoided the ensuing ignominy by falling ill prior to KO? All credit to Bellerin for coming out and fronting up to the TV cameras after the final whistle, but then I'd expect nothing more of just about the only player in red and white to show respect for those of us Gooners who remained right to the bitter end (although I must admit, I was wondering if I lit a fag, whether the stewards might do me the favour of throwing me out :-) But this was in complete contrast to Özil, since when Wenger rolled the dice, sending all three subs on with 15 mins to play, Peres and Coquelin were both stripping off, while Mesut was standing there, still in his training vest, as if he was bemusedly pondering "Who me?".

But then we were already 1-2 down (I think) and down to 10 men and in Özil's shoes, you could hardly blame him for his reluctance to be a party to the fiasco that followed. As much as I adore watching Mesut play and for all his "Ya ya Gunners" tweets, he hardly strikes me as being the sort of person who is ever going to put the honour and pride of the Arsenal, before self.

The fact that Özil seems to be in a position where he can dictate whenever he fancies time off, it strikes me that this sort of prima-donna situation can hardly have a positive impact upon team spirit. Am I being unrealistic to want a return to the days when the entire squad travelled with the team to every match, whether they are on the team-sheet or  not?

- Meanwhile if Arsène does decide to make his exit this summer and as looks most likely, we are also destined to witness the departure of Sanchez, should Özil join him and we lose what are our only two genuine world class stars and the new incumbent is left struggling to attract replacement as a result of a failure to finish in the top four, I fancy it might be worth betting ones shirt on Wenger's successor getting the sack in his first season!

- Finally, I wonder how many Gooners would be willing to suffer the ultimate humiliation of losing to non-league Lincoln on Saturday, if this was guaranteed to seal Arsène's fate?

Personally speaking, I retain enough appreciation and affection for the obdurate old bugger that I wish he'd bite the bullet and announce his impending retirement now. Aside from the fact that this might be the only means of getting a response out of this group of players, to galvanise both them and us into making the unified effort to give him a decent send off, I just can't bear the thought of enduring another couple of months worth of unenjoyable acrimony at every game