This is football…

It wasn't our day...

It wasn’t our day…

Believe it or not, I’m not upset following our 2-1 home defeat to Manchester United because Arsenal were the better side. Immensely frustrated yes but I haven’t gone into the depressed state I normally find myself in. It was just simply one of those matches that illustrate in football, anything can happen. One team can completely dominate proceedings but still manage to lose (just like when we stole the three points out in Belgium last month). It doesn’t make sense one bit but that’s why the beautiful game is special. Burnley won at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday eventhough Stoke have already beaten Manchester City and Spurs away this season. Please explain that to me.

The football fan however can never just accept that some inexplicable results will occur from time to time so always need a scapegoat to blame. That’s fine. Who am I to question human psychology? All I’m saying is (I know I’m repeating myself and it’s getting quite boring but so is the constant ‘Wenger Out’ rhetoric) one man cannot be blamed every week. While I wholeheartedly disagree with the crux of the argument, I can see why some people might have been disillusioned in the immediate aftermath of the Swansea debacle due to the woeful performance.

It was a different story on Saturday though. Anyone who is pinning the blame for that strange defeat on Wenger only has a one-track mind and will not be satisfied until the Frenchman leaves. Even then, I don’t think the happiness will last because when everything goes belly up, all the blame will yet again be placed upon the manager. Not many are pointing the fingers at the board. It is claimed that we will never win a league title under Wenger again. I’d change that a bit. Arsenal Football Club will never win a league title with Ivan Gazidis as CEO and Stan Kroenke as owner. FACT.

If you do have to blame someone for the defeat to probably the poorest Manchester United side I’ve ever seen live, why don’t you criticise everyone’s favourite homegrown talent (except mine) Jack Wilshere. The 22 year-old had an easy one on one in the 14th minute and somehow missed it. He either should’ve slotted it home or put it on a plate for Alexis. Talk about pivotal. We were all over them and probably would’ve gone on to win by three or four. Instead, it was a comfortable save for David De Gea and the floodgates did not open. Wait. I forgot. We can never criticise the Englishman but if Olivier Giroud misses a sitter, we can lambast him for weeks. Makes sense.

By Glen Shorey

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Get a grip…

Clearly it's all Wenger's fault (Sarcasm)...

Clearly it’s all Wenger’s fault (Sarcasm)…

It’s safe to say that Arsenal have not had a great start to the season; we’ve only managed to win six games, lost four and drawn the other seven in all competitions. However, I believe the reactions that have followed the recent disappointing results are over the top and quite moronic. I would like to remind people that the life of an Arsenal supporter is not as terrible or frustrating as one would make out. We’re only three points off the Champions in the Premier League and are in a similar position to Chelsea in the Champions League (only need a point to qualify for the next round). Everyone just needs to take a breath and calm down!

Winning a football match or a piece of silverware is a brilliant feeling but there is one thing I love even more (family aside) and that is Arsenal Football Club. I wish the same could be said for a growing number the fans I see week in, week out home and away. Instead, they seem to be glory hunters who throw their toys out of the pram when we lose. Don’t get me wrong, it’s like I am mourning a death after a bad result but I have the cognitive ability to understand that this is football and no team in the whole world can be victorious in every single match.

Let’s get on to the boring and predictable criticism/abuse that Arsene Wenger is consistently receiving. Now, people will argue that their disillusionment with the Frenchman is nothing new and losing at Swansea just cements their belief that he is not the right man for the job but it is beginning to agitate me. I have said before that I am not a blind loyalist and I’m not. His weaknesses such as being stubborn have always wrangled with me throughout his 18-year tenure but it seems too easy to blame a string of poor performances on one man and not take into account all the other factors surrounding the club.

Football is a team game so the players need to start taking responsibility. Perhaps, after all these years of being a manager, Arsene Wenger should change his coaching style and become a Martin O’ Neil character (bellowing instructions from the touchline). I mean that is clearly the only way you can hold onto a lead in the modern game. I forgot footballers need to be spoon-fed everything and cannot think for themselves. Obviously, I’m being sarcastic and saying that the experienced internationals such as Santi Cazorla and Per Mertesacker should know how to see a game out. The boss cannot legislate for idiocy.

Another part of the Football Club that needs to come out of the woodwork and stop letting Arsene Wenger be the fall guy is the board and in particular Stan Kroenke. According to a growing number of fans and know-it-all media pundits, the injuries excuse doesn’t cut it (eventhough Chelsea would definitely not be in such a good position if Ivanovic and Cahill were injured but I won’t dwell) because Wenger failed to buy defensive reinforcements. Really? You expect me to believe that the well educated Frenchman refused to get another defender in?

If you’re answer is yes, please answer these next few questions seriously: Does Arsene Wenger have a learning disability that impairs on his ability to make decisions? Did Stan Kroenke offer Wenger additional funds after the initial summer signings to buy a striker AND a defender? Does Wenger believe Nacho Monreal is a better centre back than Mats Hummels? The answer to all three is of course no. He’s not a clinical moron; he knows the defence is not good enough. Has anyone else thought that after the draw at Leicester when fans were crying out for a striker, Kroenke gave him the £16 Million and as Welbeck took up all the money, Arsenal finished the summer without sufficient defensive cover.

I’m guessing most people won’t be swung by my argument but that’s fine, everyone is entitled to an opinion. You just keep taking the easy option and heaping all the blame on the man behind our greatest achievement in Arsenal’s history. You can boo, hiss, make banners, throw your season ticket and go on protests. It’s a free country. Just remember the man’s a good for nothing imbecile next time you’re singing “49 undefeated” or boozing it up on a European away day. I will end this post with two words: Manchester United.

By Glen Shorey

Making the fans sweat…

The players need to stop mucking around...

The players need to stop mucking around…

I learnt from an early age that Arsenal Football Club never do things the easy way. The team, whoever is playing, seem to enjoy scaring the supporters half to death before finding a way to escape dismal failure. The Invincibles did this in April 2004 when they came from 2-1 down at half time to beat Liverpool 4-2, thanks mainly to a splendid Thierry Henry hat trick. Another recent example of the Gunners doing it the hard way is the victorious 2014 FA Cup final where we were 2-0 down within 10 minutes and it took extra time for Aaron Ramsey to score the winner. Like all of my fellow Gooners, I could not relax until full-time.

The trend has continued this season. The Premier League match against Burnley last Saturday should have been a comfortable victory on paper. In the end it was, but the 3-0 score-line maybe did not tell the full story. Alexis Sanchez did not break the deadlock until the 70th minute, and it seemed as if it would be another frustrating draw. The team did step it up in the final 20 minutes and probably could have won by more. Theo Walcott made his come back from injury (that has kept him side-lined for over 9 months) in the closing 10 minutes and looked sharp. I left the Emirates feeling positive for the future as I thought we had maybe turned a corner.

I still felt this way at half time against Anderlecht last night as we were 2-0 up and were well on our way to qualifying for the last 16. I grew even more confident when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain made it 3-0 soon after the break. However, I could not have envisaged that the team would completely capitulate and throw away such a commanding lead. It was disgraceful and embarrassing but the fact is we are still five points ahead of the Belgians with only two games remaining, so in all probability, we’ll qualify. This is again a case of Arsenal making life difficult for themselves. If we had held on and won last night, the final two games would not have really mattered (we were never going to overturn Borussia Dortmund’s superior goal difference anyway).

Most of the blame for yesterday’s 3-3 draw has been attributed to Arsene Wenger and his tactical naivety but I feel this is unfair. One man alone cannot make a team win, draw or lose. I’m not a blind loyalist and will admit Wenger made a few mistakes including his decision to not bring on Walcott but to say Wenger is entirely at fault shows a lack of understanding. I agree with one particular part of Paul Merson’s post-match comments where he said that the players need to take the blame, because the team is made up of “international footballers” and “not little kids”. The manager can only take them to a certain point; the rest is down to the individual players and attitudes.

I just long for a comfortable result where we dominate a match fothe whole 90 minutes and the win is never in doubt. I have had enough of being put through the ringer.

By Glen Shorey