I am going to balance this article towards the conclusion, so don’t let my resentment and reactionary prelim comments deter you from reaching the main event, my idea of a fair assessment of an Easter ruining performance.
Disgusting, shameless and fraudulent were the words used to describe me finish my 14th can of Carling on Friday night and were the words I used to vent at the TV on a scandalous Saturday night. The effort, or lack of, was unjustifiable but here is my only reasoning for what we were all spectator to:
What I saw on Saturday was one of four possibilities and maybe even – although I pray not – a mixture. Either A) the team had convinced themselves that the Europa League is our only chance to save the season and to lift a finger and risk injury would be worse than losing the game. B) Over the international break the players have suddenly given up on Arteta, his process and the season. C) The lack of leadership from the senior players, namely the captain, the form of said players and the absence of our regular starters set us up for defeat from the start. D) Arteta’s game plan was to sit deep, expend zero energy, show minimal competition to the extent where we look like we don’t want the ball or to even be at the Emirates.
You would have to agree I have covered all bases there and I imagine most of you will side with me when I say; I hope and presume option A) mixed with a touch of option C) was what we witnessed as we cried into our prematurely opened chocolate eggs.
For me, punishment ensues no matter what. However pivotal Thursday is, players deserve to be dropped for that kind of behaviour in an Arsenal shirt. Auba for definite and Ceballos… well he needs to be parcelled up and sent back to Spain! Only Partey and Odegaard keep their place and possibly Chambers at centre back. I want to see Matt Ryan, Gabi Martinelli, Saka, Emile, Granit and if he is unavailable Azeez! At least if he cocks it up, he’s learnt about the occasion of a knock-out game in a European Cup. Dani can continue his development at a different club, one where they enjoy their midfielders passing straight to an advertising billboard every couple of successful through-balls.
Like Gary Neville I was worried, shocked and had sensed something was up. However, to propagate the endless assumptions of an internal “mafia” group and a “disconnect” between the manager and the same players who showed immense heart and desire two weeks ago vs West Ham is dangerous. We don’t know what happened, we won’t know which one of my options occurred – if any – and I guarantee you it won’t be revealed now Mikel’s “rat” has been flushed away to either Turkey or Germany…
Let’s support the club, the manager and the players – give them the benefit of the doubt – blindly trust that the game was a blip and on Thursday, no matter who starts the Gunners will be firing again.
Photo Credit: Flickr