The Ship Be Sinking

Mouth Almighty

Call Me What You Will….

…But I preferred it when Arsenal were boring winners rather than a failarious sideshow. Hell, at this point I’d settle for non-humiliating failures because while the end result of the game today actually isn’t that bad, the goals which were conceded to produce the final balance were truly, amazingly, possibly uniquely terrible goals to give up in a crucial game. I confess, I have not seen the like.

Also, and this game really brought it home, I have rarely seen a team in any sport who so clearly did not like or in many cases respect or trust each other. Fabregas- whether he stays or goes- is clearly fed up with having to hand-hold everyone around him, and the reactions of the team and defense in particular to the goalkeeping follies spoke volumes. Everyone seems convinced that everyone else is the problem, and there’s no one in the coaching or playing ranks with the authority or ability to take this mess of a defense by the scruff of the neck and organize it. The fanbase is also starting to get really out of hand again- the hideously offensive misogyny/racism/homophobia is at banshee-wail volume again at the moment, there’s at least one major blog which is convinced that Campbell didn’t execute a backpass, the doomers are claiming the team will never win again and the tinters are ascribing the loss to everything between refereeing conspiracy and inopportune conjunction of the stars complicated by negative vibes emitted by the doomers. It’s a goddamn embarrassing mess, really.

I’ve lost my taste for those disputes for the moment, so all I’ll add is this: so long as you have a manager who believes that goaltenders are a lesser species of anti-footballer deployed only out of necessity, who are so untalented that any given one is like another, you will give away a few games because of bad goaltending. It’s part of Wenger’s policy and system, and if you endorse that system today’s result really shouldn’t bother you much- the odds are very high that Arsenal will win the Emirates leg by a similar score and end up finding a way through into the next round, because they’re clearly a more talented team than Porto. Losses like this are the price you pay for the positives which Wenger delivers. If you don’t support the Wenger system, you’re probably worried about what happens when Arsenal face an opponent better than the #2 team in Portugal, and you’re on firm ground to be worried given the repetitiously shambolic and self-defeating nature of this game. In either case, the one thing which is thoroughly ridiculous is to expect Wenger to change his policy in any way. He does not change, so it’s best to either accept how he does things or accept that he has to go. Trying to find a middle ground is impossible.

EDIT: oh and the inevitable Monsieur-Wenger-is-irate quotes are delicious as well. The best part is a variety of insane, inane and wholly disrespectful comments about the individual performance of the referee, in a tone which Wenger would never accept if applied to his own performance, immediately followed by “Any individual performance has not to be analysed publicly” in regards to Fabianski. What can you say? At least he hasn’t devolved to reflexively using the C word for referees the way half the fans have. Left unexplained however is how the referee forced that first goal into the net through Fabianski’s arms, of course. And I will never understand how a club which proclaims so loudly that they have no divine right to win trophies can also proclaim just as loudly that they do have a divine right to all the space and time and calls necessary to play their brand of hyper-futuristic galactic space football. You read these quotes and realize that they still haven’t adjusted to the fact that they’re not playing in whatever karmicly perfect unicorns-and-puppies league Wenger has in his head, or at least that they still think that if they complain enough they’ll get reassigned to that league next season so they can play tippy-tappy football with the Care Bears or some such. Every defeat seems to bring quotes which say, in effect, “well if football was played and officiated the way it SHOULD be, we’d win every game 5-0, so nyaah.”

Thank God for Fabregas; he alone seems to really grasp the situation. At this point I’d just as soon see HIM as manager.

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February 17, 2010 - Posted by | The Arsenal

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