They think it’s all over… it is now…

Title too dreary? Too pessimistic? 3 losses and 1 draw means 1 point from 12. Relegation form in my opinion. The team and substitutes yesterday were definitely good enough to beat Bolton (without Cahill), so the 0-0 draw is footballastically unacceptable. Before I comment, let me print what Arsene said post match:

We feel we have dropped two points because we had chances to win the game. But we produced a decent game against a difficult opponent who gives you the ball, marks tight and waits for their chance. We took all of the risks and we were a bit unlucky as well because we hit the bar, the post and missed some great chances. In the end we took a gamble to play four strikers and we nearly got caught in the last five minutes from a Bolton chance. But I cannot fault the effort, the commitment and desire to win the game. On the positive side we haven’t lost and we haven’t conceded a goal. Of course we have regrets because we did not take our chances tonight.

You have to expect the manager has to say that. He can’t really come out and say that we’re not good enough. But you have to look past this game and take a look at the last four games and of course generally at the season. Have we been good enough? I don’t think so – not off the pitch and not on the pitch. Right now, I have two options – either I launch full depth into a critical analysis of the team, the players, and the management or I take a step back and figure out where it’s all gone wrong.

The stadium shouldn’t be an excuse, but it’s the only viable excuse that we’ve got.

A whopping £400m debt to figure out is a huge deal. Add in extra banky-type things and you’re probably looking at £500m. No matter how you put it, which way you structure it, paying £500m from somewhere is going to take a toll on your finances. However, Arsene Wenger has known that for a while and therefore put in the youth policy that we have at the moment. More on that later – but whereas we’ve spent £500m of our own money (well self sustainable money), Man City have spent £500m of someone else’s money to get where they are.

The difference between Arsenal and Man City has been £1 billion.

Because we’ve decided to spend £500m on the stadium, in a way, it’s like deciding NOT to spend £500m on transfers. So our transfer spending has therefore taken a £500m hit whereas Man City’s has taken a £500m bonus. It makes sense. And for that matter, some may say it’s admiral where we are considering. Out of the top 7 teams, of which, yes, we are now 7th, the others, have millionaire / billionaire owners. The top five biggest spenders in the Premiership are Man United, Sp*rs, Man City, Chelsea and Liverpool. So with more money, more spending, does come a degree of success, of course. Sp*rs have been spending shed loads for the last 15 years, but it’s only the last two that there signings have actually come together. Liverpool have also spent a hell of a lot of money under Hodgson and then Daglish, but are pretty much on level with us.

Why are fans finding it tough?

Well two reasons.

Firstly, we’re used to caviar, we’re used to challenging for titles, since George Graham and Arsene Wenger (in my lifetime), challenging for titles is all we’ve known. We’ve won so many titles and cups under Arsene. We’ve played good football, had great games, and basically always been on top of the pile. Arsene did warn us that we wouldn’t be challenging for quite some time after the stadium was bought – but soon after, we still were – we’ll up until March anyhow and we were still playing good football. But as we’ve lost the edge, we’re now playing worse, and that results in worse results. So what am I trying to say? Well, it’s all about expectations. And we expect to be finishing in the top two every year, but accept finishing in the top four – the problem is that it doesn’t look likely that we will finish in the top four.

Secondly, we think we could have done better in the transfer window. When you see Arsene splash the cash on players who we don’t rate, or we don’t think can cut it – cite Park, Benayoun, Mertersacker etc from this summer – or insist on playing (or paying) players like Denilson, Bendtner, Vela, Almunia, Diaby etc – it’s makes you think, could the manager do better? It’s dangerous territory for us to think we can do better, but surely looking at players like Demba Ba, Gary Cahill,

But with every singing comes an issue – for example, Demba Ba has been plagued by injuries, in fact, has failed a plethora of medicals in his career, not someone worth taking a gamble on. Especially when you have players at the club such as Chamakh who you don’t think are necessarily as useless as they have been. Gary Cahill has commanded a salary of £120k – something we have not been prepared to pay and something that other clubs such as Liverpool and Sp*rs have baulked at.

Give Arsene some flack, surely?

But surely, if you look at it from Arsene’s point of view, he’s had it tough – in fact, he did say that summer was his hardest summer. Losing Cesc and Nasri so late on in the transfer window and not actually knowing that they were both going until very late on, did not allow Arsene to buy before and then had to buy in a hard market. The desired replaced for Cesc was Mata, but instead we had to promote from within. And then late on in the transfer window, we found out that our best remaining midfielder (Jack Wilshere) was going to be injured for pretty much the season, which led us to the hurried transfer of Mikel Arteta.

From Arsene’s point of view – Cesc, Nasri, Diaby and Wilshere all removed from the first team and only Arteta brought in – why? Surely it’s down to the fact that it happened all too late in the window? Yes, we’ve had the transfer window come and go, and no further action was taken, but again, Diaby and Wilshere were supposed to be back and Eisfeld and Henry have supplemented areas of the pitch that were lower. Yes, I know I said Eisfeld but he’s actually tipped to play in the second half of the season having been named in our Premier League registration for the second half of the season.

Can we finish in the top four?

Where we are now, it’s tough. We are 5 points off fourth and we’re in race with 4 other teams. It doesn’t sound great. But there is always hope. There is always hope that we go on a run of winning games. Arsene, I am sure, is keen to fix what is wrong. Against Blackburn, we suddenly have two fit full backs in Gibbs and Sagna, on either side of Vermaelen and Koscielny. Throw in the excellent talent of Oxlade Chamberlain, who has proved that he is now first choice and replace Ramsey with Rosicky and we can win on Saturday. A win can inspire a win which can surely perpetuate?

Where do we go from now?

Back the team. What else can we do? Arsene out isn’t the answer. More funds from the board isn’t the answer. Releasing available funds from areas around the club coffers perhaps could be an option. There is more money to spend, and there are options of making money. The club need to re-address the balance of the squad. At the moment, we’re not good enough and even if we do manage to correct the first eleven, we have to look at the rest of the squad.

But back the team.

We have to back the team – we have to stop booing and give the team support – cheer when we win, but cheer the team on when we’re not winning. The talent is there, but there is too much self doubt and it comes from within, it comes from lack of support, it comes from booing.

We are the Arsenal. The only team with a “the” in our name. We are united together in our efforts – it may not be going to plan, but never wane in your support. We will be back. We are the Arsenal…

  • akasuna

    good that you are optimistic..but let’s face it..the only team who could not score against Bolton this season would be Arsenal. If you don’t score, you don’t win. I don’t see us finishing fourth, but keep on believing…

  • lance

    wneger answers to no one. his as arrogant as they come. the board do not dictate him and he is no puppet of the board. his decision not to spend are his own. he is obsessed with proving he can win on the cheap. the more times his told to spend the more resiliant he gets and does not spend. if he does spend its a de-facto admission he got it wrong in the first place, therefore he will never spend. the board are in sync with wenger. they do love he chooses not to spend (note: its not that wenger cant spend, he just doesnt want to. wenger and the board are in bed together and have a common understanding. wenger is allowed free reign of the football things, as i said before he is obsessed with not spending. the board therefore have a manager not asking to spend the clubs money – its a perfect match. the thing is though, the fans are getting anxious and wising up to the sham. it wont continue much longer. wenger will be gone within 2 years. theres no way he will sign another contract and his current deal expires in 2014.when wneger goes the jigs up for the board and and i expect usmanov to take over – at least that what arsenal fans are hoping for. but for now we have 2 more years of rubbish to endure.

  • Alvin

    A win on Satuday and all is rosy in the wenger garden again. Pathetic team with a even more pathetic manager.

  • robin

    Why people still think the current mess has nothing to do with Wenger amazes me. Of course it’s to do with Wenger. He buys the 2nd rate cheap/free players, wastes money on their wages and refuses to buy top quality. Of what use are Park and Miyachi? Vela was another one, some clown on here today suggested we bring him back. What the hell for, this is someone who will never be good enough for the PL, he struggled to get on the bench at WBA last year. Park is just another Inamoto, atypical Wenger rubbish signing, as Spiritof1989 has [pointed out on a number of occasions, Wenger has wasted over £125million on total rubbish over the last 6 years and where has this cheapskate got us. We wont quality for the CL and RVP will leave. Wenger’s arrogant post match interview last night was another example of this arrogant conceited man who shows nothing but disdain for the fans. His tactics are a joke and he still cant sort out the defence, seven years and no improvement. This can’t go on, he has to go.

  • bergChamp

    @ robin:

    Do you think it’s all Arsene?
    Don’t you think it’s down to not having the money available?
    And not having players available?

  • arsefan101

    Is it Wengers fault that Cesc left? Nasri left? AND wilshere and diaby got injured?

  • Leroy

    As much I hate to say it, I have to concede, we might not make it. The reality is that its a real possibility we won’t be there at the moment.

    I think that Arsenal and, at times, Gooners have come to take the Champions League for granted. Season after season we have been involved with Europe’s elite competition.

    You never know what you’ve got until its gone is a very true saying. Perhaps it may ring true with figures at the club and will get things moving.

    People say Robin van Persie will leave if Arsenal aren’t involved. I don’t think that is the case. If Arsenal show a summer of intent, then I believe he will sign a new contract.

    Arsenal will have to show intent this summer regardless of whether we make the Champions League or not.

    People are beginning to question the ambitions of the club and for a long time many Gooners have become unhappy at what direction the club wants to take.

    Not being in the Champions League will not appease the money men at Arsenal but perhaps they need a kick up the backside for them to actually do something.

    These days it becoming harder than one of Pele’s erections after taking Viagra to compete unless you are spending money.

    Despite what many say, Arsene Wenger has performed miracles with the funds available to him. To continuously qualify for the Champions League year after year is amazing. But not enough to some and I understand that.

    Arsenal are a big club and sometimes a reality check is needed to remind them of that fact. The board have come to rely on Wenger to spend very little but achieve big things.

    The problem is the boards idea of big things and many Gooners are totally different. Just competing for 4th place isn’t enough for the fans of the club.

    If it happens, finishing outside of the top four might seem like the end of the world at first. But maybe it could have a positive effect in a weird way.

    Of course we would get slaughtered for not making it but maybe, just maybe the board and even perhaps Wenger, will wake up and start to act like a big club with ambition again

  • robin

    Ahhh so finally Leroy the WEnger worshipping dunce conceedes we wont make the top 4 – well mate I have been saying that since the bloody season started and the tosser board and manager are the biggest culprits. WEnger is the vermin which will lead this team to oblivion and when are not in the top 4 you wenger supporting idiots will see.

  • robin

    @arsefan101: Talks sense Fool. Cesc had enough of the dross that was around him – DIABY by God is there worst player in a arsenal shirt? The pigsty that wenger has made of this team is so effing mental it’s unbelievable. We are a team which is meant to be relegation candidate – mark my words if this team is kept together you will see us battling with wolves and co.

  • sistable

    All this anti-Diaby stuff makes me laugh

    He hasn’t played a match and everyone’s sticking the knife in. The 20 odd minutes that he played saw us win that part of the game 1-0, with him as the driving force

    Much more fun watching “People’s Champion” Ramsey perform his backheels to no avail and Song plod around picking up bookings and unable to control the ball

  • robin

    @sistable: I think you are one of the more clued up posters around here…but that comment is remarkable on so many levels.

    ‘Saw us win that part of the game 1-0’?

    Is there such a thing as a player being responsible for ‘winning part of a game’! Come on mate, let’s be serious here, you’re better than that! By that logic also then, if you look at Arshavin, well he scored a winner against the best team in the world, that saw us win that game 2-1.

    Or, David Bellion at Manure once scored a goal that was responsible for his team ‘winning part of the game’ that saw Manure go 1-0 up at West Ham. It doesn’t matter that Bellion spent the rest of his time weak as piss and injured.

    Face facts on Diaby: the reason you claim he should not be slated is precisely the reason he is. Guy is a crock and a crock of shit. Consistenty injured. And no it isn’t down to Dan Smith, it’s down to him being a pussyhole. Van Nistelrooy recovered from a far more career-threatening injury. All in his mentality.

    I leave you with this absolute gem of a Diaby quote:

    Abou Diaby has revealed that he dreams of becoming European Footballer of the Year and makes no apologies about sharing his ambition with the football community. The prestigious award, coined the Ballon d’Or by France Football magazine, has yet to be won by an Arsenal player while only Zinedine Zidane, Jean Pierre Papin, Michel Platini and Raymond Kopa from across the Channel have got their hands on the famous trophy.
    The French international has made a habit of splitting the Gunners faithful since arriving in England in 2005; while certain quarters of the Emirates stadium hail the Parisian born playmaker as the long-term successor to Patrick Vieira, others have been drawn to despair by his phlegmatic and languid playing style and constant fitness problems.

    Speaking to L’Equipe as Les Bleus prepare for two crunch Euro 2012 qualification matches, Diaby stressed his ambition:
    “I dream of winning the Ballon d’Or. I hope to win it one day. There is no shame in saying that.”

    Or how about this one?

    Diaby stated: “At some point I would like to play for Barcelona or Real Madrid, but I would prefer to play for Barca, because I think their style of play is more suited to mine.”


  • Alvin

    @robin: wow you’re on fire today fella. And with about 90% i agree with you. But the hostility and hatred for wenger you have is a bIt OTT.

    Wenger is still the manager that won us two doubles, an unbeaten PL title and won the PL at the Drain.

    Unfortunately, the game has caught up to him and moved on and he hasn’t kept pace. His time is up, he should leave or be sacked, but we should still respect the success he brought us.

    Agree with BG that 2008 team could have been something special if Wenger had bought in the players we needed and shipped out the shite. But he didn’t and we’ll never know what that nucleus of a team might have achieved.

    Wenger out. And the sooner the better. But I still love and respect him for what he won with us.

  • judge_sludge

    I feel for Arsenal fans…their leader still refuses to address the issues surrounding their performances this season, and not to mention the perceived lack of ambition by failing to attract/go for big name and true quality signings. They should be up there challenging with City, United, Chelsea and Spurs not just for a top four spot, but the league..not stuck in a rut in 7th.

  • Berth

    Robin so f**8ing Diaby. Sounds like you ve been on Diaby’s case for a while.