Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Arsenal 3-3 Anderlecht: 2016. Just repeat 2016.

Match Report | Match highlights | Wenger's thoughts

Honestly, it was hard to feel overly upset at this result. Not because it has little consequence on our chances to qualify for the Round of 16, or that we had a couple of excuses to fall back on - pertaining to an injured Arteta and an offside goal. For me, though, the collapse was too repetitive and predictable to feel any sort of aggrieve or frustration.

There's always a barrier to how much one can tolerate. After a point, upon seeing old habits hit the reset button with little signs of progress, collapses and breakdowns become almost inevitable. Even for me, a person as emotionally and financially invested into Arsenal as many, the exercise of sadomasochism comes to a halt.

It's pointless repeating the same issues over and over again. Lack of leadership, lack of rotation, tactical naivety, witless substitutions at the wrong time, quotes contradicting facts, yadda yadda, we've all heard it before. I know it'll be exasperating for my regular readers to hear the same issues trotted out like a broken recorder again and again. To be frank, it's tiring for me as well.

We all know that the malaise of complacency must be really deep if the team falls like a pack of cards at the slightest hint of trouble. We all know that experienced players at Arsenal mean little if they do nothing to prevent a mental and tactical disintegration. We all know that the manager played a decisive hand in another fiasco - by not keeping his team focused at half-time or by throwing caution to the winds by allowing Chambers and Gibbs bomb forward.

89': Five players at the other end of the pitch when they should have been
guarding a 3-2 lead. If that's not tactical immaturity I don't know what is.

However, we all know that little will change unless the manager leaves. We know that every time tension builds around the Emirates, the manager knee-jerks his way out of trouble. That's how Ozil came to Arsenal and that's how we panic-purchased 5 players in 2011. That's also part of the reason why we switched to 4-2-3-1 for a couple of games.

Unless large-scale action is taken or a majority of the fanbase is convinced that Wenger is the root of all malaise (which, at this moment, is not the case), the manager stays. I foresee that the supporters will realize Wenger's ineptitude by 2016, which is why there's no virtue trying to convince anyone of Wenger's true nature right now. If there's one thing I know about the AKBs (apologies for the labeling), it's that the more you try to explain the situation to them, the more they dig their heels further into the ground and resist change.

Change has to happen of its own accord. If Paul Merson had called Arsenal "tactically clueless", a year ago, he would have gotten a lot of stick. Yesterday though, not one AKB (again, my apologies) came to Wenger's defence. That's change. It will take a lot of time for even Arsene's staunchest supporter to question the direction we're heading under him, but it will happen. I'm afraid the WOBs instigating quarrels and abusing Wenger's backers will serve to change the subject and delay the process.

For now, I'm ready to play the waiting game. If there was anything I could do to speed up the process I'd be game, but there unfortunately isn't. As far as possible, I try to rationally argue with any Arsenal supporter and try to show them the light, but I'm of the opinion that they need to see it themselves. Without us trying, yesterday convinced more supporters. It was another nail in Wenger's coffin.

However, I can only hope the likes of Sanchez, Welbeck, Ramsey, Ozil, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Gibbs, Walcott, Wilshere, Szczesny and Joel Campbell are patient enough to not leave before Wenger does. At least then the next manager can pick up the pieces.

Till Swansea.

-Santi [Follow me on Twitter @ArsenalBlogz ]