The unthinkable has happened. We lost to Spurs. Twitter entered meltdown mode. Wenger must leave, All of our players are abysmal and we need this unknown Middle Eastern Consortium to buy our beloved club for £1.5bn and take us into the ranks of Manchester City and Chelsea.
First things first, let’s tackle this takeover bid. £1.5bn is astronomical. Manchester United, one of the biggest clubs in terms of revenue, success and recognizable-ness in the world only cost £800m. But the money is not my problem with the takeover, the problem I have is that I don’t want to win trophies the same way Manchester City or Chelsea did. I want to win them, the Arsenal way (or the Borrusia Dortmund way, in their recent successful times) with players we have nurtured, finances we have secured and a board who care about the club. Unfortunately, I don’t think Stan Kronke cares about our club the way he wants us to believe he does, or has the good of the club at his heart. The Middle Eastern Consortium promise to slash ticket prices, recreate the Noisy North Bank of Highbury inside The Emirates and pump funds into the squad to buy world class players. We need two of those things – The first two. Reduced prices and a noisy atmosphere that frightens teams. We already have a £100m+ war chest to spend, plus the wages of the players expected to leave in the summer freeing up around £500,000 (see how here) the problem is not funds, but why we don’t spend it. So my feelings on the takeover are these, I like the promises they are making, but I do not believe they will walk the walk, nor do I believe that winning the league in the way that City or Chelsea do it is desirable. And with the board spinning the Financial Fair Play line over the past 7 years, I would be incensed if they dropped the act now and took the money.
Now, onto more pressing matters. It seems that we just don’t start until it’s too late. It also seems that our defenders turn up to training and practice looking like mugs. I don’t understand how our German international with over 100 caps for his country and the captain of Arsenal Football Club AND the man regarded as one of the best Belgian defenders of his generation can make such simple, amateur mistakes. Vermaelen is getting a lot of stick at the moment and I can see why. In my opinion, he is living off of his first two seasons with us & since getting the captains armband has crumbled under the pressure. The only reason he has consistently started this season; again this is my opinion, is because of the band around his arm. Laurent Koscielney had an absolute stormer against Munich and was subsequently dropped. I believe that Koscielney is our best defender at the moment and should be playing ahead of Mertesacker. I do however like how Per links play simply, but efficiently, but Koscielney has that in his locker, while not being afraid to carry the ball 50 yards and get forward in possession.
Aaron Ramsey had a stormer today and done his job relatively well, with the exception of his crossing. Barring that, he played well and caused Spurs some problems with his ‘never die’ attitude and his chasing down of the ball and should have converted with the score at 2-1, but his shot deflected wide.
Unfortunately, they are the only positives to take from the North London Derby from an Arsenal point of view apart from the hero that threw a banana at Gareth Bale as he took a corner. What a legend that man is – but sadly that was all I had to smile about. Jack Wilshere was stifled by Dembele who had a brilliant game and managed to keep Jack relatively quiet in the middle of the park. Theo Walcott was practically non-existent and drifted into the middle far to often to give Carl Jenkinson a chance down the right hand side. Santi Cazorla continued to be missing in the big games and didn’t influence as much as he would have liked to. I believe that Lukas Podolski should have started today & I also believe that he is being mismanaged by Wenger and that there is a real danger that he could turn into another Arshavin. I recall reading that he has only completed two matches in his time with Arsenal – although I cannot call a source to check this on. If that stat is true then it cannot be good for his confidence.
Top four is still on the cards. Spurs are seven points ahead, but they were ten last year and we all know what happened then. Chelsea are five ahead, but have to play Spurs, Everton, Liverpool & Manchester United in their last 10 games of the season which is by no means easy. But to qualify for The Champions League, we are relying on Spurs or Chelsea to choke in the last ten games of the season.
And, for the record North London is STILL Red. When Spurs go 49 games unbeaten and not 12 as is currently their record, reach the CL final, win 2 doubles (one of which with their former golden boy Sol Campbell), 12 Premier League titles and finish above Arsenal for 19 seasons North London will be even.
As usual, feedback/comments welcome at @RyArsenal