“Has Wenger left yet?” . Sticker Protests. Twitter AKB/WOB debates, and the marches. Press room drama and Sun Block. We’ve heard it all.
We all love him. And quite a few love to hate him. Most of that being recent. And not all for the same reasons. Transfer activity, tactics (lack of), deadwood support, BS in press (squad is complete) and death of good looking football to name a few.
Imagine Roman looking at this list and asking “So what is the question then?”.
But hey, this is not a WOB post. And also I am well aware of the counter arguments; AFC Board+Stadium+Youth+FFP+Unlucky with injuries+ Top 4 consistency. Yes all right you have a point too, may be. And this is how most debates begin and end. “I see your 8 trophyless years, and raise you consistent CL qualification”. And vice versa. Most issues have some sensible reasoning that one can perhaps fathom. For instance the stadium comes at a cost. Yes we get it.
Most debates can be settled. But there is this last nagging splint in the discussion which we have no answers for. Call it lack of killer instinct or being boys, or softies or any other term you like. But we can’t keep pressure for 90 minutes and we fail to kill the games almost every time, in the past few seasons. Making more gooners meeting each other in the cardiologist’s waiting queue. This post is about exploring that aspect alone.
You have to admit & appreciate the contrast between us & Utd today. At 0-2 our TLs are filled with abuse, pessimism & i-told-you-sos. Check a Utd TL at 0-2 who are talking about subs and making it 3-2 at least. And Utd manage it. Almost every single time.
It’s 11 grown up men playing for one of the biggest clubs in the world. Yet they play like boys. Lack urgency till we’re 0-1 (or 0-2 these days) and usually start responding to crowd pressure after 68th minute. What’s the problem you gotta ask. Is it some massive invincibles hangover that we are mightier than RM+Barca+Bayern+Milan’s history and we fear our own strength so much so that we could destroy any opposition by just staring at them, so why bother with sweating it out? Why do shoulders sag so easily. Why does the its-all-over thought even cross their minds, with 10 minutes still to play? Are they in their heads already imagining AW’s post game excuse. ‘Jaded’.. or “1 point wasn’t too bad in these conditions” etc. Really? A season ticket holder is paying through his nose for your 60k/week so we can get 90 mins of pure action out of you. Why is it possible at a Blackpool / Swansea & Utd and not here.
Consider this. How often have you seen Ox/Gibbs/Ramsey looking towards the bench after a meek shot at goal, or a poor pass. (Add Cazorla to it lately)
In Arsene Wenger we have one of the most sophisticated managers on the planet. An intelligent, clever and sharp man. Whose every word is measured. Each thought weighed. Always dressed sharply and always appears sincere. In his post game thoughts, or in his support of his players. He is a good man too with a socialist view to football’s economic principles. If this man ever gave you 2 minutes of his time, you’d want to get yourself a new suit and shoes and hope you don’t say anything to make a fool of yourself. Because he’d can call you an idiot in more languages than you can count.
Add to that his illustrious first decade here and the respect from players from all over the world and managers like SAF himself. His consistent record, accolades & constant support from fans+Board, and his repute to be the respectable revolutionary with unquestionable intentions have made him an Alpha male . Yes. The Alpha Male at The Arsenal. The first of/at anything Arsenal. He is untouchable today says Woj in an interview recently. The fans dare not say anything against or they’d get stick from other fans or ex-players. Even AFC board’s+Stan’s view on the matter is obviously quite obvious.
As a general rule of survival you don’t fuck around with the Alpha Male. Be it your coach, VP, Mafia Boss, a politician or a pissed off cop. You don’t invite trouble when its not needed. You wait for orders. You listen and follow. Now picture Cazorla’s face again after missing that volley. His expressions say “Sowwy Daddy” as he winces and looks towards the bench. Some of these thoughts might be agreeing with you and some of you could be thinking SAF. He is an Alpha Male too, and perhaps an even scarier one.
Well yes and no. Yes SAF wields a fearsome hair-dryer. He’d let anyone have it, for lack of his performance or speaking roobish out loud. Something Rooney learnt the hard way. He’ll call a spade a spade. He’ll immediately bench the culprits for the next 3 games or months, and after the next failure that player could consider himself on the despatch list. Much like an american dad who’d tell his teenage kid stand up for himself get a job, pay for his own education and be counted as a man.
By contrast Arsene is more of an Asian dad. He is protective and caring. Way too much, too many times. He’d never lay blame or point fingers. He’d give chance after chance. And even when the player wants to leave, he’d facilitate the best exit terms possible. He’d take the bullet for you and suffer silently without telling you. And its that silence that creates further distance to someone who is already an Alpha Male. It is further transfer of power to the ‘giver’. With each missed opportunity / drop points you slip further in the debt of emotions. Silent treatment is perhaps more torturous and painful, for you don’t know what it cold mean, much like a horror film. SAF burns that bridge by telling you what exactly is in store for you. He spells out the what-ifs, making others less fearful and more equal.
Disappointing Wenger is a frightful prospect. A man who is pure and has given his all to you… how could you? Deep inside every man is a good person and that person can recognise the good in Arsene and would try his best not to meet his gaze after a failure. Be it a good boy like Aaron or a complete shin kicking bastard like Persie.
Conceding to the Alpha male has its effect on the bravado and the general testosterone levels. Much akin to the 2 woof pups. 2 woofs at the stranger. Look at daddy dog. 2 more hoofs. Look back. Find a sock. Sniff some tail. Look back etc. Beta males are waggingly happy that way.
On the field we are no different. Clueless pups. Who actually are supposed to be good pedigree and well trained. But somehow they just keep looking back at each other and the daddy dog.
That’s a good question, which does not have a clear answers. You can definitely not question the man’s intent. He means well and his trying his best to beat the evil. Besides its lauded by FFP believers and of course makes fantastic business sense. At least in the short term. The Board and Stan could pressurise Arsene into making big signings and approve doubling wages, but there is no real guarantee that we’ll lift CL trophy because of it, as Arsene pointed out recently. It then is an obvious choice, to stick to the low risk strategy. And suits emotionless scavengers like Kroenke perfectly. “Check-mate motherfuckers” – regards, Uncle Stan.
Alpha male also has a strong scent and you can’t get over it overnight. In fact its so overwhelming that some question if Arsenal is all because of Arsene or the other way around. Automatically leading to the conclusion that after Arsene there could be no Arsenal. Its end of the world as we know it. As we know it. We don’t know enough quite clearly.
To my mind there are 2 clear possibilities out of this situation which I with utmost displeasure refer to as status-quo. Both the possibilities however are time taking.
The first scenario is the natural ageing of the Alpha Male. With time the aggression subsides. And with age others feel its less disrespectful to question the leadership. Which in real world date terms is 2014.
The second scenario is the rise of the second alpha male. Who? Do you really need a clue? The prince of London. Arsenal DNA factory. Archie’s father. A man of steel (already) and the future of England. Jack Wilshere. (too much maybe? ok sorry, but stop sobbing now)
He’s come back a better player no doubt and a stronger man. He is a fighter who hates losing. You will find him abusing senior players for not running. You get a feeling that he in his mind has decided that he is the captain and has to take responsibility for every situation. Already. Never gives up. Player of the season by a comfortable margin. The fans adore him. The manager wants to protect him and the press shower their love too. And the best part is, he is here to stay. His ascent to an Alpha male here is sharp and deserved.
He gives his 100% in every game and tries his best to win every time. Which makes him kind of a ticking bomb. I mean how many times will he spray a pass to Gervinho or Ox who will bollix it. How long before he is tired of sending chips to OG who only has his back towards the goal. Bit harsh on OG yes, but Jack must be feeling he deserves better. Arsenal deserve better. And of course us fans in return. How long before jacks stands up to Arsene or the board and says this is all bollocks policy. We need to do better. In transfers. In keeping players. In chemistry. In training.
How long before the 5 foot something prince stands up to the 6 foot something king and we make a poster out of it? Whose side will you be on then? JKB or AKB? WOB or JOB? or any of their endless combinations. Because unlike RVP, Jack is homegrown. He doesn’t want to go anywhere. He wants to make it big here. So when he stands up will the marches not multiply ten fold. Will the fans not line-up behind him? After all, he is the future and we all want what he wants.
What do you think?