My headline for last week’s match report against Spurs was Papering over the cracks. Refusing to get carried away by a victory that was mostly down to Adebayor’s red card, I wrote a critical piece that pointed out the flaws in our game and how far behind Spurs we were while they had eleven men. I quote myself: “We are not suddenly a brilliant side — we just papered over the cracks that were glaringly evident in the first 17 minutes.”
I was duly slaughtered in the comments by people either unable to see the bigger picture or in denial, but I think today proves my point. I hope if anything good can come out of that pitiful performance it’s that a few more Gooners will have opened their eyes.
My reason for saying ‘I told you so’ is not self-indulgence, it’s because I want those AKBs to understand what is really going on. A rot has set in the club that spreads from the boardroom right down to the players. While Wenger still has the blind support of these fans nothing will change and we will remain an unambitious club which sells its best players, charges the highest ticket prices in the world and only aims for 4th place.
This flawed strategy will remain until the board can see dissatisfaction from its
customers supporters with its own eyes. That’s why I was pleased to see thousands of empty seats against Montpellier on Wednesday because fans need to vote with their feet and stop going to matches.
Speaking of that match, forgive me a brief aside that perfectly captures this club’s arrogant, dismissive attitude to its supporters and how it hides behind spin and propoganda to further its own agenda.
Consider this — the ground was about 90% full on Wednesday. Our capacity is 60,361 which puts the likely attendance figure at about 54,000. According to Arsenal.com it was 59,760, just 601 less than a full house. My arse were there only 601 empty seats! The reason they came up with that figure? Because Arsenal announces attendances as tickets sold rather than people at the match. That way, they can tell their sponsors that all is rosy and that their faithful supporters are at Emirates instead of watching the match at home because they’re disillusioned with the way the club is run. It is classic spin typical of this current regime.
I don’t want to know how many tickets were sold Arsenal, I want to know how many people actually attended the match — that’s what an attendance figure should show. And the fact you refuse to give us that information in an effort to hide the level of dissatisfaction amongst the fans is a small illustration of what arrogant, self-serving tossers you really are.
People need to stop judging this once-great man on past glories and open their eyes
Anyway, now that’s off my chest I suppose I should talk about today’s game. Wenger rightly rotated his squad and gave breathers to Wilshere, Vermaelen and Sagna. If you were in any doubt as to the lack of depth we possess, today should have made it perfectly clear. I can’t remember us having so little possession against any team, never mind one in the relegation zone, and having just checked the stats on the BBC
it was 50-50. That’s astonishing for a supposedly top side whose entire way of playing is based on possession.
Indeed we were so impotent that it took us 29 minutes to create a chance when Ramsey’s shot was kicked away by Guzan. Villa were also quiet in attack, but did have the ball in the net following a half-cleared free kick only for the linesman’s flag to correctly save us.
Moments before the break Koscielny scooped over when well placed and the halftime whistle brought a woeful contest to a halt. Not much changed after the restart though. Ramsey had a couple of half chances before Agbonlahor shot straight at Szczesny from 10 yards out.
Then came Wenger’s default substitution as Podolski got the hook for Gervinho. Is he the only player in the world to be on a 70 minutes per game contract? The decision looked all the more baffling when Gervinho’s first touch went straight out for a goal kick and then moments later his next touch went for a throw in.
I was hoping the last 20 minutes would signal a barrage of Arsenal attacks as we used to nick games like this in the latter stages, but we are a much weaker team now. Villa were giving as good as they got as they had done for the whole match and on 77 minutes they came the closest to scoring when Holman’s shot was superbly tipped onto the bar by Szczesny. It’s so nice to have a proper keeper back between the sticks.
With five minutes to go it was stick or twist time as Wenger made his final substitution. Incredibly, he took off Giroud and brought on Coquelin. I cannot for the life of me understand that and the only logical conclusion is that he was trying to hold on for a point.
I’ll say that again — Wenger was trying to hold on for a point against Aston Villa. Forget all the bullshit he talks in the media about still being in the title race, here was the truth for everyone to see. We used to batter sides like this, now we’re satisfied with draws. “You don’t know what you’re doing!” chanted the loyal and fed-up away support.
Indeed. How the mighty have fallen.
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