Is it time to wave Arteta-ta-ta?

Published: Monday, 07 December 2020

I’m sure it won’t have escaped the notice of Arsenal fans that if Brighton beat Southampton 2-0 tonight (Monday) only Fulham will stand between their team and the bottom 3.

Perhaps it has? If that’s the case - read the opening paragraph again and then pause for thought.

What would you all give for a top four ‘failure’ under Arsene Wenger now? Oh - and an FA Cup win to go with it. Strange isn’t it? Wenger won that trophy three times in his last four years at Arsenal - as well as delivering CL football - before finally missing out on a top four finish - and he was hounded out of the club - dismissed as a dinosaur. Arteta fluked it last season and somehow was elevated in amongst the small group of ‘super coaches’. Why? The answer, of course, is that he’d sat next to Fraudiola for a couple of seasons. That was it. He’d achieved nothing else. Nothing.

Go back through these blogs. I said when Arsenal appointed him that they’d made the wrong choice. Carlo Ancelotti was the man. He IS a genuine ‘super coach’. He almost invented the title. Ancelotti is a big club manager and he was perfect. He was also available. But oh no - clever people at Arsenal hatched their clever plan and went for the novice.

I read an article at the weekend which posed many of the same questions that I am here. It concluded that there are many good people at Arsenal and that it was impossible that all the brains belonged to Wenger. Maybe not....

‘Good ebening’ was a disaster. Was wrong. Was so obviously wrong. How did that happen? And they’ve compounded the mistake. I’ve no idea how they get out of this.

I can’t imagine that they’ll part company with Arteta but what’s happening can’t be allowed to go on.

One of the first rules of management is ‘don’t go looking for trouble - it will find you’. The words of the great Jock Stein. How right he was - and still is. Why did Arteta chose to freeze Mesit Ozil out? Are you telling me he’s not good enough to get into the current team? Please - don’t make me laugh. I’ve said previously that Arteta’s decision would come back to bite him. It’s doing just that right now.

Post match at Spurs I heard the suggestion from some pitch-side reporters that Arsenal had ‘dominated’ the game for long periods. What utter nonsense. No they didn’t. Ok - so they had 69% possession - but largely where it didn’t matter. They got 44 crosses in and had 11 shots - but the only attempts on target were two limp headers. Spurs bossed that game from start to finish. You don’t need the ball to boss a match. It’s why Mourinho was so happy. He talked after the game about how his team ‘grew up’ in that 90 minutes. All the possession in the world counts for nothing unless you hurt the opposition. I’ll bet the Spurs kit man didn’t wash Lloris’s kit. There wasn’t a need.

Make no mistake. Arsenal have got trouble. Just a thought - Max Allegri?

Meanwhile - back at Stockley Park I hear the latest missive from Mike Riley is that VAR needs to be used more often because ‘on-pitch’ mistakes are too frequent. Now - let’s examine that. Why are they? Simple. Because refs are scared to make big calls in the knowledge that VAR is there to get them out of trouble.

Next question - why the need for more use of VAR? Simple - because Riley continues to dictate decision making from his grand tower. He wants to present percentages that prove VAR’s worth. They’re telling officials what decisions to make as they go to a monitor. Still - only Graham Scott has stood by a decision he’d made on the pitch after visiting a monitor. They ALWAYS change their mind. They’re being TOLD to change their mind. Here’s your challenge Mr Riley - prove I’m wrong. Let us all listen in to the conversations that are taking place. It won’t happen will it? Because you know I’m right. Fans deserve better than this. We all deserve better than this. Our game has been high-jacked by a dozen ‘suits’ that think they know best. They don’t. They’ve stolen our fun. They’ve stolen our excitement. They’ve stolen our game. It’s wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

In the PL they can’t even get basic calls right. What on earth did the lino at West Ham not see? No word from the patsies yet as to why Simon Long didn’t rule that ball down the line out of play. We all saw it was - all of us - except him. If any of us made a similar catastrophic decision at work we’d be out on our ear. That was a game ebbing away from United. And as if that calamitous error wasn’t enough - why wasn’t Fernandes penalised for his outrageous lunge at Fabianski a couple of minutes later? The keeper leapt out of the way of flailing studs - knocked the ball into touch - and United scored from the throw. It was a foul by Fernandes - clear and obvious. Why didn’t Andre Marriner see it? Why didn’t his assistant - the very same Simon Long? Why didn’t VAR pick it up. Put that one down in the ever growing list of ‘mistakes’ column Mr Riley - match changing errors. Isn’t that what VAR was brought in for?

Meanwhile, Chelsea continue to look good and there’s no stopping Liverpool it seems. They were my one and two this season (champions first) but I’m really hoping that Spurs make a serious challenge now. As expressed in my first blog this season - I wasn’t sure that everybody at Spurs would buy into Mourinho’s work ethic. Well not everybody has - Delli Alli is a good example of someone who appears not to have done - but those playing regularly - and on the pitch at the end against Arsenal, could not have had broader smiles. They know they’ve got a chance now. It was man v boy in the technical areas. Oh what fun this is - another dinosaur proving why ‘we’ ruled the world for 300 million years. 👍🏼