Being an Arsenal fan is easily one of the hardest occupations on the planet. Every year to get brought up by expectations and promises of changes and new faces fall flat and lie broken on the pitch. Arsenal is a different club. Unlike every team in Europe, we’ve kept our manager for over two decades. We’ve gone through a period of transition as we now have a new stadium and had to cope with limited finances whereas every other team has splashed the cash frivolously for the last ten years. It’s our difference that defines us but also breaks us. The recent 3-3 draw with Bournemouth highlights the optimal of woe heaped on gunners fans. The frustrations of being an Arsenal fan hover over our stadium and it’ll take more than a gust of wind to blow them away.
Arsenal’s style of play is like a really attractive girl trying struggling to do simple maths problems. Pretty to look at but ultimately frustrating. Arsenal play beautiful football. Jack Wilshere’s Tiki Take goal against Norwich City in 2013. Oliver Giroud’s scorpion kick goal against Crystal Palace. Henry’s volley against Manchester United in 2001. Bergkamp’s goal against Newcastle United in 2002. All examples of the quality that Arsenal possess. They keep a lot of possession and press high up the pitch. Some games you’ll see the gunners score three, four or five goals past opponents in real dominant displays of attacking football. But it can be frustrating to watch. I was at the recent 1-0 win over West From. We didn’t break the deadlock until 86 minutes into the game. Had we not scored then a boring 0-0 draw would have felt like a loss. The boys were all over the Baggies and it was so agonising to watch. They tried the same old tactic: press high up the field, constantly pass the ball lengthways across the midfield putting the ball forward at times only to come back after a few seconds, eventually find space and sprint to the by-line and ground pass it across goal. It has been the same old crap for years and frankly it is so god damn boring to watch. Wenger doesn’t think to change it up a bit. If we’re 1-0 down or 3-0 down in the case the Bournemouth game, he wouldn’t then force his team to play the long ball like Big Sam or Tony Pulis. No he’d sit in his chair and then bemoan the officiating after the game as always.
Arsene Wenger is a man who doesn’t ‘do’ change. He has a clear set way of thinking and won’t often change. He likes to focus on the development of youth, buying cheap and buying players can converting them to different positions such as converting the club’s greatest player Henry from a winger to a striker. The only time Wenger has had to sort of change his philosophy is post-Emirates construction when the club’s budget was tighter than a nat’s arse. Even now Wenger is reluctant to put his hand in his deep and bountiful pockets. There has been a shift. Ever Since Mesut Ozil’s transfer in 2013 there has been some improvement. The subsequent additions of talisman Alexis Sanchez; Rock at the back Shkodran Mustafi and a possibly exciting accusation in Lucas. But It’s too little too late. Had Arsenal rebuilt their squad a few years earlier they could be considered to be genuine title rivals rather than the usual battle for fourth place. The one chance we had to win the league, last season, we had Chelsea losing week in week out; LvG’s self-destructive Manchester United not wanting to play; Pellegrini’s City faulting due to the news of the incoming Pep Guardiola; Klopp’s Liverpool couldn’t find consistency. Where did the title end up? The blue of Leicester as Arsenal once again got to Christmas and the title charge was over. Again. It breaks your heart to come out at the start of the season all guns blazing only to limp over the line at the end like a defeated sprinter at the end of his career.
Embarrassment is one of the main foundations of supporting the red and white of North London. An 8-2 loss to Manchester United. A 6-0 loss to Chelsea. A 4-0 defeat at the hands of Southampton. Getting knocked out the League Cup on penalties to League Two side Bradford. Finishing Runners-up to Birmingham City in the League Cup final of 2011. I went back and rewatched the highlights of that cup final and honestly, it still haunts me to this day. It makes me so depressed knowing that the club I love destroyed all hope I had in 90 calamitous minutes. If those results had come under any other manager apart from Sir Alex Ferguson, I believe they would have been sacked. The board is too scared to sack Wenger. The man is arguably the greatest manager the club has ever had. I am not saying sack him. I am saying maybe he needs to realise he isn’t what the club need anymore? Maybe a change will rejuvenate us? Yes it hasn’t worked for Manchester United and yes there is the argument as to who would replace him as every desirable manager is at another club. Eddie Howe looks a perfect future replacement. But not now. The Wenger glory days are long gone. Now it seems we must celebrate finishing fourth, getting into the Champions League but not doing very well and turning a very sizeable profit each season. That’s not the ambitions of Arsenal. We want trophies not turnover. But with the glory days gone maybe its time to find someone hungry rather than someone who has had their fill.
Leading on from this, the great man himself has made loads of brilliant signings over the years. Henry, Pires, Wiltord, Bergkamp, LJundberg, Adams, Lehman, Cech, Sanchez, Fabregas, RvP, Ozil. These are just a few names on a long list. Sad as it is to say though, our list of flops seems to outweigh our list of stars. Sebastien Squillaci, Mikael Silvestre, Denilson, Andre Santos, Park Chu-Young, Francis Jeffers, Igors Stepanovs. The list is endless with the likes of Chamakh, Bischoff, Danielevicus, Arshavin, Cygan, Djourou, Senderos, Gervinho I could go on. Whereas big clubs around us are spending lots of one or two flops, we are spending mixed amounts on lots and lots of flops. Our squad was littered with crap that we couldn’t shift. Now it looks so much better. But this highlights the current manager’s inept transfer dealings combined with his lack of spending mentality.
There are still flops in our current squad that were promised to be “The Next Big Thing.” Alex Oxlade-Chamblerlain is one name that comes to mind. The other being Arron Ramsey. Is there another Ramsey like a clone or a twin that is world-class for Wales and then absolute turn for Arsenal? But the main person whom grabs my attention is none other than Theo Walcott. When discussing Walcott, all I need to say is “He is good…but not great.” He has been on Arsenal’s books since his move from Southampton as a promising 16-year-old. Now commanding a £100,000 a week wage. How? he is always injured or playing second fiddle to Alexis or even the up and coming Alex Iwobi. I honestly think that Wenger is a hoarder when it comes to players and is too afraid to let go. The loan of Jack Wilshere to Bournemouth is a really surprising one. One that seems stupid as he has actually performed well under our next dream manager Howe. The squad needs trimming. Trimming of the underperforming crap that litters are squad. Cash in on the underused rotation players and purchase world-class players that we need.
Arsenal F.C is the butt of most of the jokes in the football world thanks to Arsenal Fan TV. But those passionate, if sometimes idiotic fans, vent their frustrations every week at a team who have bottled up their problems every year, only to self implode every winter time. Some of their comments are ridiculous don’t get me wrong. But Claude and all the others are just products of a club that is more of a business than anything else. The frustrating style of play, the lack of spending, the embarrassing results, the laughable squad additions and a manager who has kept his job despite not winning anything for years. No wonder every week AFTV have venting fans bemoaning ever embarrassment this clubs produces.
Arsenal have brought outstanding moments over the years. From coming back from 2-0 down in the FA Cup to beat Hull City. Henry scoring the winner on his second debut from the bench. Reaching a Champions League Final. But there is embarrassment in being an Arsenal fan. Years of frustration have caused tension, sadness and discontent in the fans and players alike. Hopefully, the future is bright. But let’s be honest, this is Arsenal we are talking about. The frustrations and Christmas implosions will continue for years to come.