Well isn't it great to be back? Fuck me, how I haven't missed this feeling. A feeling that can only be summed up in the word 'deflated'
I thought I'd check out deflated on the old thesaurus and it threw up the following:
There you have it, Arsène Wenger's recent reign of the club summed up in five words. Arsène came to these shores as a pioneer, he changed the game for the better but sadly the game caught up with him and passed him by. A manager that ruffled the feathers of the great Alex Ferguson because he was a massive threat, would then go on to negotiate the sale of our star striker. The Bradford game was the final straw for me, I just can't take it anymore. This side has long since ran its course. It needs fresh ideas, it needs new personnel. I have thought for at least the last three seasons that each summer we have needed between seven and eight players to challenge for honours and no, fourth doesn't count. The clubs aim is to compete in a competition that we play approximately eight games in, but in reality we have no chance of winning.
Anyway, back to today. We were average (at an optimistic best) and Villa played us well. They pissed us off and we got rattled and some lost their heads. Take Jack for example, he won a free kick, the villa player was booked and Jack had to have a pop at the ref and he was duly booked. It was completely unnecessary. There seemed like a few sneaky challenges went in today and don't for a second think we didn't play our part in that Rosicky has two late lunges, once of which seemed horrendous but both went unpunished. The worry for me, that stood out was our lack of strength inand around the field. Too many slight individuals who lost every 50/50, we need players who can dig in and get physical, I would go as far as saying we got bullied today but maybe I'm being a bit knee-jerk in my reaction.
Then you have the ref, who was inconsistent at best but lets not forget that the game was 1-1 at 62 mins. We weren't the better side despite the refs failings. I've heard Koscielny made a good challenge but here's the thing, the ref had long since pissed our side and the fans off, so why dive into a tackle in the box? Why create a situation? My immediate reaction was penalty. Benteke with his second attempt of the day, showed great confidence and stroked it home. As our players made their way to the positions, nobody tried to motivate each other. We were stumped. The last goal showed the lack of desire. Theo wanted to play a short corner to Jenkinson, who was making his way back and he decided not to turn around, so Theo dinked a ball into the box. It was partly cleared Theo made a half hearted attempt to win possession (which he lost) and Villa broke and made it 3-1.
THREE ONE TO ASTON VILLA.
The ground turned and chants of 'Spend some fucking money' rang around the ground and they were aimed at one man - the manager. I must also state these weren't half hearted chants either, they were chants fuelled with pent up aggression. The supporters wanted blood and the may soon get it.
The clubs failings to get anyone of note into the club came back to bite them on the arse today. Let's get this straight, this isn't about fuelling people's agenda anymore, the majority of fans have these concerns. So today, we went into the game with five fit defenders in the squad. Gibbs exited with a 'nasty cut' and it prompted a very swift change. What happened to the old Vaseline and bandage on the head job? Sagna left the game after an awkward fall and he left the field rather gingerly and Koscielny was sent off and will miss next weeks trip to Fulham. If Sagna fails to recover we will have only one centre half - ONE. How the heck did we end up like this? Also, don't think this is a new situation, it isn't. Since we allowed Djourou to go on loan we have only had three centre halves but thankfully they were all fit. Miquel was still apart of the squad but even when a list minute change was needed at Sunderland, Wenger opted for the unproven Sagna at centre half instead. Not exactly a glowing recommendation for Iggy is it? So we've had the January transfer window and the duration of this summer to get a centre half and so far failed to reinforce. It's just not good enough, not by a long way.
I'm sick of the race for fourth shit, we have money but we just don't know how to use it. I was thinking on the way home that when Arsenal did the business plan for The Emirates it was probably perfect at that time but sadly once construction was underway, some clubs stole a march on us. Chelsea got Abramovich and City got the sheikhs, you can't plan for that and immediately clubs have leapfrogged us in the pecking order. The club must improve the playing staff and Wenger should get no say in what price a player is worth. We pay what is necessary, sometimes you strike lucky, sometimes you pay a little over the odds but shit happens. Treat like ripping a bandaid off, a couple seconds of pain but fine in the long run.
Anyway, back to the team and for the last four seasons we've failed to win on the opening day:
2010 Liverpool 1-1
2011 Newcastle 0-0
2012 Sunderland 0-0
2013 Aston Villa 1-3
I know it's just one game but in all those games we've been off the pace and Koscielny has been sent off twice. Why don't we hit the ground running anymore? Was today down to a lack of sharpness? In 2010 we didn't start Fabregas or RVP because of World Cup commitments, today it was Cazorla who was busy in ECUADOR. Why aren't we getting a side ready for the start of the season? Am I missing something? Should we all turn up September? Does our season start at Sunderland? Too many questions and not any answers.
The fact is it all comes back to the manager and in seventeen years he's won three titles and four FA Cups. Is that success? Man Utd would see that as failure over seven seasons, let alone seventeen. His reign is coming to an end and there's a part of me that wishes we'd bite the bullet, get Klopp in, splash the cash and live happily ever after but in reality, days away from a crucial qualifier in Turkey that isn't going to happen. He will see out this window and once it slams shut the attention will turn to Wenger's contract. I don't expect any news and I really believe Wenger will be PSG manager next summer. It just makes sense for both parties, everyone is a winner. Whilst Gazidis must offer his support to Wenger, he has to be scoping out potential replacements on the side.
Wenger is lost, he's a bit like Szczęsny today when he went into FIFA showboating mode, as he dribbled out from the back four and lost possession. He now has two weeks to save his job and I fear I already know the outcome. Today was embarrassing and we are fast becoming a laughing stock and I can't stomach losing to Villa on any level but today they deserved their three points and this was a team that just avoided relegation last season. The season looks long and it's only a game old.