Losing to the scum always is bad. Yes, it’s pretty much a week ago.
But then for me, it’s not just that we lost. It’s HOW we lost.
We didn’t show the fight, gumption, or stomach to handle the second-half.
It’s not just against them lot.
It’s been happening for years.
The second half against them was woeful. And it represented the essential difference between us and them.
I contend that man for man; they do not have better players than us. I do believe their manager can instil better desire. Kane is world class, but so is PEA. Ozil is an accomplished player, and Ramsey and Wilshere are quality. Even Elneny, not highly rated possibly outside of Arsenal, was a scorer in the AFCON final a year or so ago. Mustafi is a World Cup winner (alongside Ozil and our captain Per no less), and Bellerin was wanted by Barca. You know, the small club in Catalonia that has a player from Argentina whom people foolishly label one of the best ever…..
The defeat in itself is bad, as they are the enemy. However, it typified why we fail. It’s like a guy who finds girls he likes always go off to other men, for whatever reason. Maybe they’re more confident, less whiney, or even better looking, who knows. But if it’s a random stranger, it’s not so much to bare. If it’s one hated rival who does it, then it hurts even more.
It’s clear that we’re stuck in a rut, and it won’t abate without decisive change.
The pattern unfolded
If we were to diagnose the issue, it is:
- Poor game management
- Bad tactics
- Players who do not show the proper desire
- Critical failings at key points in seasons
And this has been occurring for several years, possibly a decade.
We can blame the manager or the board. However, this is my “catalyst for change”.
I have believed in a change of manager for a while, as well as a change in the board also. Though, if I could have a magic wand to correct our issues, this is how it would manifest.
This piece would reference tactical, coaching, and medical decisions:
Change the manager
Wenger has done a lot for us. He also stands as a living legend. Mr. Pochettino is apparent the darling, yet Wenger has records Mr. Poch may never rival, such as record FA cup wins, or record PL games.
However, it’s time for a new approach and a new vision. Wenger should forever be venerated at Arsenal, but then I don’t see how he can continue.
Find a replacement who answers our needs, even if it’s not a big name
I would prefer a big name, of course. Ancelotti is my favourite, given his tenure and success at the highest level.
Moreover, we need somebody who can motivate, inspire, and provide the tactical nous to succeed, which we lack. Wenger is changing somewhat this season, but it’s not enough. The League Cup semi vs. Chelsea was an example, and we nearly pulled it off at Spurs. Could this be Arteta? I don’t think so, given his lack of experience. However, I would take Conte. I think the issue with him at Chelsea is his relationship with the board. With our new technical additions (Mislintat and Sanhelli) he could work better in this environment.
Much is said whether Steve Bould actually coaches the defence. Well, we as fans don’t know his job description. It could be to provide support to Wenger and fill in when needed. Note that Wenger has Boro Primorac, who has been a senior coach at Arsenal since he has been here and is a close friend of his.
We have added Lehmann of late, as well as installing new goalkeeping and fitness coaches. However, more needs to be done. If anything, we need means to formulate and implement new tactics. We know from our history that success comes from innovation. Chapman, the 71 Double, Graham, and Wenger himself were all rooted on new means, ways, and formats of play. It’s in our DNA. We need another revolution, behind the scenes.
An overarching playing strategy
Football is a simple game, ultimately. There are some equivalents in all eras. The Invincibles, 98 Double, 1989/1991 title winners, and the 71 Double, all held key likenesses. A strong GK and defence, key characters of skill, heart, desire, and determination, and an overall winning attitude. Adams, Wright, Bergkamp, Henry, Seaman, Lukic, Wilson, McLintock, Storey, Rice, Dixon, Vieira, Merson, etc. all fit these billings by various means.
Whilst times and methods do change, there are some key constants. The same is true of Manchester United in the Busby and Fergie days, or Barca in the 1992 European Cup/Pep as a player and current Messi times.
We are some way from this suggested ideal. However, Spurs are progressing due to having an overall plan. City is too. We are not. We need to get back to having a plan, and once we do we may see progress.
Our defensive record is poor, and our overall organisation suspect. It’s clear that we’re not given general instructions, and this greatly hinders us. Part of the new methodology must include a coaching strategy and even tips for coaching renewal from time to time. It’s often said that Sir Alex changed his coaches often for this reason, in order to freshen things accordingly to ensure excellence and high standards.
Continue the improved injury record
Something clearly has changed in our injury record. A few years ago, we held numerous injuries to key players. Of late, it has improved. This could be due to holding a bigger squad, but then our injury record has enhanced vis a vis other clubs.
As of 17th Feb, we’re low in the table, which is in contrast to our position in recent years.
If this is due to better medical staff, this is a boon we need to sustain.
In later parts, I will focus on how other facets of the club can develop to a healthier state.
Though this, for what it’s worth, is my Gazidis-esque “catalyst for change”. For now.