Greetings from a warm and sunny Yokohama. The weather is now well on its way towards the horrid heat and humidity of summer, but right now is hovering around the mid-20s.
Thankfully, the season has finally come to an end, put out of it’s misery like a sack of malnutritioned kittens chucked over the side of a bridge. What should have been a title run-in turned into an absolutely atrocious run of results and inept performances from a group of players that didn’t (and don’t) appear to have the fight, the guts, the ability, the professionalism and the much vaunted (but clearly nonexistent) mental strength to maintain a competitive edge right until the final game.
If this season was like the movie Pulp Fiction, I would be advocating that Gazidis, Kroenke or someone get some blow torches and get medieval on some of our players. It just hasn’t been good enough. Sporadic good results against the likes of Barcelona merely papered over the cracks, no, gaping crevices that are the problems with this squad. It has been a cuntastically bad end to the season. I have never been so consistently frustrated and angered by an Arsenal squad as I have this season. Anyone who has read this blog over the past two years will know that I have always been a firm supporter of Wenger. I’m not an apologist for him, I’m a supporter of him. I recognise and greatly respect everything that he has done for this club. His contribution has been immense.
However, my patience is almost at an end and my support for him is now largely dependent on what kind of business he does in the transfer market, and changes he makes to the coaching set-up, this summer. Rumour is that this summer could see an emphasis placed on recruiting young players, but I think that if we sign a raft of young players in the summer then we are right back at square one and the old ‘we are young and lack experience’ excuse will be trotted out again next season. In fact, the re-emergence of that excuse will be like a new signing to the manager’s repertoire of excuses. The manager said judge him at the end of the season but I will wait until the end of the summer’s transfer window. His latest line being something along the lines of ‘It’s not like we were in a relegation battle.’ Well, the collapse that we have managed to somehow pull off must be pretty close to relegation form. We went from being in a great position to actually win the league to finishing 4th (FOURTH!!) 12pts adrift of ManUre.
I know that we were just 3pts off finishing 2nd, but that isn’t the point. The league was there for the taking this season and our squad choked. The Carling Cup was there for the taking and guess what? We blew it by not taking the opposition seriously enough. We thought that we just had to turn up and the trophy would be ours.
There was a firestorm on Sunday after Cesc tweeted a picture while at the Spanish GP. I didn’t see said tweet or picture myself, but I don’t really see why it has been turned into such a huge, cataclysmic event. Yes, as captain he really ought to have been at the final game of the season supporting his teammates. However, he is currently injured and injured players are not required to attend away games. The tweet by the player may have been ill-judged, but it is not the end of the world and didn’t warrant the player receiving a torrent of abuse or people generally going batshit about it on Twitter.
I think that the levels of abuse we are seeing on Twitter are a combination of people’s dissatisfaction with how the team is playing and the overall lack of investment & player effort, coupled with people’s misguided belief that the anonymity of the internet allows you to say whatever you like, to whoever you like, without any kind of repercussions. If I worked in the human resources department of a company I would make sure to check Facebook and Twitter before hiring someone, just to see if they have left a trail of batshit. Sending abuse is one of the lowest forms of ‘intelligent’ communicative interaction that you can get. It’s also, by and large, the most pointless. If your opening gambit is abuse then it instantly closes the door on any kind of intelligent and meaningful debate.
Anyway, yesterday it was revealed that the club has signed 19yr old Carl Jenkinson from Charlton after a compensation package of around £1m was agreed between the two clubs. I don’t know much about the player’s quality, to be honest. All I know is that he is a right-back that can also play in the middle, if needed. He is English-born, but plays his international football for Finland as his mother is Finnish. As a squad player he will surely be a better back-up for Sagna than Eboue is. Welcome to the club, Carl.
John Cross is reporting in today’s Mirror that a move for Karim Benzema could be on the cards. If so, he would be a great replacement to get for the soon to be departing Bendtner. In the article, Wenger is quoted as saying:
“Viewed from the outside, it doesn’t seem impossible today. He’s a player that I like. I think he’s intelligent in his movement, I think he is capable of combining well and making a difference, and of doing individual moves as well. So, for me, he’s a player who’s at the top level in the world.”
Cost-wise, it would be a move that goes against the manager’s previous transfer dealings, but at 23 the player is the right age for a Wenger signing. He also has plenty of experience and would bring more to the table than Bendtner ever did. However, for now, I will file this particular rumour under ‘pipe dream.’
Details of the club’s pre-season tour of Asia have been confirmed and will see the club travel first to Malaysia where they will play a Malaysia XI at the Bukit Jalil Stadiu, in Kuala Lumpur, on July 13th and then on to China where they will play Chinese Super League side Hangzhou Greentown, in Hangzhou, on July 16.
Finally, the club are allowing Barcelona to train at Colney ahead of Saturday’s Champions League final against ManUre. Hopefully the staff will give the place a good going over afterwards in order to root out all of Xavi’s love letters to Cesc, pleading with him to join Barca in the summer.
Right, I think that will do for today. My venting is done, hopefully things can get back to being more positive from here on. The boss has said that this will be his busiest summer in the transfer market for quite some time, let’s hope that the signing of some proven quality will be part of what keeps him busy.
Take it easy.