I don’t even know where to start..


I’ve been sitting here for nearly an hour now just staring at my laptop screen as I try and think of a way to start writing my blog post today. There are so many bad things going on at Arsenal right now it’s genuinely really difficult to try and make sense of everything, especially in a constructive manner when you’re trying to write things down so they actually make sense. Even after much deliberation I still think that this post will read like the mad scribblings of some sort of deranged scientist on a huge Victorian era chalkboard – you the reader being the sweaty palmed student just nodding along with me as I try and explain my whack job theory on space travel and black holes.

So I guess the logical thing to do is to try and start with Sunday’s absolute horror show at the Lane where we lost to Spurs. Well I say ‘lost’ but by using that word it almost implies that there was some sort of competition – but in reality there wasn’t anything like that from the Arsenal performance at all. There was literally zero effort from the players as a collective to try and match the Spurs players’ level of intensity and desire. Which is fairly alarming stuff, even when you take that in isolation, like park all the Wenger out stuff, all the stuff about players contracts etc.. forget all of that stuff for just one second, and then ask yourself – how can our first 11 not get up for a North London derby?

Because that’s what it was, (bar the absence of Santi Cazorla) it was our first 11, obviously each Arsenal fan would have chopped and changed the line up slightly differently maybe to incorporate their favourite players and what have you, but in essence that team that Arsene put out to play Spurs on Sunday was our first team. And Spurs literally held us at arm’s length for the whole 90 minutes and comfortably scored two goals, was it not for a class performance from Petr Cech in goal, we genuinely could have been on the receiving end of an absolute pasting.

I genuinely have never seen an Arsenal team look so inferior to a Spurs side in my life time. I am still struggling to come to terms with it now to be honest. I don’t for one second subscribe to the theory that Arsenal had a weaker team then Spurs, I mean is Dele Ali really a better footballer then Mesut Ozil? Is Son Heung-min really better than Alexis Sanchez? Is Victor Wanyama really that much better than Granit Xhaka? I could go on, but for me I genuinely do not think that you can say there was a gulf in class between the team sheets, if anything, I think we looked like the heavyweights on paper.  Our starting 11 consisting of two former La Liga stars hailing from Real Madrid and Barcelona, I mean
even our goalkeeper has four Premier League winners’ medals – the Spurs team had nowhere near the same calibre of player in my opinion.

So what happened?  Why were they able to put us away with such ease on Sunday? I know there were (again) the obvious tactical failings from Arsene, including another questionable team selection. But I truly can’t be arsed to start going through all of that now because it’s so tiresome – everything that has been said about how Arsene Wenger lines up the side in big away games has been said enough times in depth already. So in brief Arsene Wengers’ team selection and tactics kill us in big games.

With that being said, and to sort of get back onto my original point here, on Sunday there were the same issues which have plagued our league campaign since the turn of the year rearing their ugly heads again, truly dispelling any suggestion that we had in fact turned a corner by beating City in the FA cup semi-final a little over 10 days ago. And it’s just the old Paul Merson clichés. The one liner stuff you hear being slung around on the Gillette Soccer Saturday preview show – fight, passion, desire, being up for it, wanting it more, guts – I could go on. But when you take into consideration we had the opportunity to end Spurs’ title challenge at the Lane, in the last ever North London derby (at that ground) I don’t think it was really asking too much of the players to at least show some of the above.

But there was none of it – no fight, no guts, no desire, no passion, no nothing – basically the Arsenal players didn’t actually show the requisite level of application necessary to play a game of football in a park where there are jumpers for goal posts. I think in particular the way Giroud milled around the pitch until he was substituted perfectly personified the dismal collective performance on Sunday. It fundamentally lacked the minimal level of determination to not get beaten away from home in the Premier League at any ground, by any opponent – let alone by Spurs at White Hart Lane.

So where do we go from here as fans? Speaking for myself, but I genuinely don’t care if half of that squad leave in the transfer window this summer. I know it does seem somewhat overzealous saying that, but I have just reached a point where I don’t think I can actually get behind half of them any longer, because their performances have been so bad and lacking in showing any passion and heart it’s kind of left me in a state of mind when I genuinely don’t think they deserve my support.

Currently they’re all happy just putting in these limp wristed performances week in week out, leaving Arsene Wenger to take all of the flack in the post-match press conferences. The only time they’ve ever been accountable for their awful performances this season was at Selhurst Park, when we chanted at the players ‘you’re not fit to wear the shirt.’ And I don’t think a truer statement has been said all season, because in all honesty, most of that squad genuinely aren’t. I just hope that whichever players are still at the club come the start of the new season actually have the willingness to show some heart and desire to play for Arsenal, because this year has proven, we will not be able survive on just talent alone – I think the saying goes ‘hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.’

Graeme Hawkins

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