Arsenal 3-3 Fulham: Catch-22

No alarm went off, there were no gimmicks and no literary devices, when I woke up this morning I simply slowly returned to consciousness. The cold air in my room was the first thing I felt. Then, as Proust once put it, memory, like a rope played out from heaven, offered me an escape route from the abyss of not-being and I drew myself back to my life. Oh yes, I remember now. I’m a father, I live in Tacoma, I miss London, I’m a Gooner, and Arsenal snatched a 3-3 draw from the mouth of victory last night throwing the Arsenal supporters into something of a civil war. Or perhaps an uncivil war.

With that last thought fresh in my mind I figured it best if I slept another hour. Perhaps if I got back to sleep quickly enough, I might dream of Highbury fields and periwinkle petticoats. Instead, all I could dream was about was the Catch 22. Not the horrific rape in the novel, nor the cheeky ending of the movie, but rather the simpler themes: contradictions, not knowing who the enemy is, greed, corruption, you know, the stuff that all Arsenal supporters dream about these days.

It’s a strange time to love football if you’re an Arsenal fan.

Do you love the thump of a boot hitting a ball or do you love to be proven right about how some player is shit in front of 10,000 people on twitter? Do you love a perfectly weighted ball and an Arsenal player bursting into space behind the defense or do you love to talk about players acquisitions and amortization schedules?

Ah, but therein lies the Catch 22 — you can’t be an Arsenal supporter right now and escape the daily drone about footballing finances, amortization schedules, and the one-upmanship of people being proved right in the myriad forums about how your favorite player is utter shit or how their favorite player would certainly improve the team.

This happens because Arsenal have to be the most covered team in the history of the sport. Just being in London gets them plenty of press and on top of the professional journalists, every fan has a blog. Most blogs have multiple writers. The fans all have twitter accounts. And the ones without blogs or twitter comment on other people’s blogs. Or at the very least they comment on the Arsenal.com itself.

But the Catch-22 here is that the more people cover the Arsenal the less we actually fucking know. You probably know that Arsenal have money in the bank. Do you know why? Read that again. Do you know why? No, you don’t. Maybe that’s the money that Arsene Wenger is banking to pass on to Pep Guardiola so that he can bring in his own set of players? Hadn’t thought of that possibility? Oh well, now you have and know this: I don’t know that’s what they are doing with that money any more than you or anyone else knows that Arsenal’s board and manager are just a bunch of greedy cunts who only value money over trophies. Or whatever it is that you think you know about the hearts of men.

This age of hypercoverage of the game ironically abstracts us from the actual game. So much so that here I am moaning about the moaning about the moaning. Catch-22, you can’t write about the Arsenal without writing about the people writing about the Arsenal. Or can you?

What about yesterday’s game? How did I feel that Arsenal got a 3-3 draw at home to Fulham?

Giroud’s first goal left me with my jaw on the floor. An imperious header from a player who is coming into form, sure, but also the type of goal that I have been waiting for Arsenal to start scoring: a goal from a drawn up set play. In the last few years I’ve felt like Arsenal waste their corners and that if anything, a corner kick by Arsenal was a great chance for the opposition to counter attack. Giroud’s perfectly timed leap and Walcott’s perfectly whipped corner was exactly the kind of goal that will put opposition defenses on their back heel.

The second goal was a huge relief. Podolski has been struggling to get service at Arsenal and yesterday’s match was no different. Arteta made just two passes to Podolski all game and it feels weird to see this player who is Arsenal’s most clinical finisher being denied the ball time and again whilst simultaneously being asked to defend against opposition fullbacks who have been encouraged to attack down his side. But it was a great move from Arteta that set the goal up and a purely finishers finish. It was his first shot in what seemed like ages and such a lovely little touch from Podolski to put it past Schwarzer that I cracked a big smile for him.

It was at that point that I laughingly said to myself “ok, guys, just 4 more goals and we’ve got this!” And that’s when I noticed that this team seems to be trying new things. Case in point, I thought they were trying to sit back in two banks of four and defend the lead against Fulham. I can’t remember the last time that I saw an Arsenal team do that. The Invincibles? Yeah.

The Invincibles. If my memory serves, they didn’t care as much about possession stats or passing the opposition to death. I mean, they could if they wanted, but it wasn’t an integral part of the defensive setup. They, kind of, played how they wanted.

Every time I saw them drop into a perfectly aligned 4-4-2 I cracked a smile. Wenger, that old dog, was showing us a new trick.

My smile didn’t last long. Fulham earned a corner and rather than a well worked set piece, just kind of flopped the ball into the Arsenal defense where no one save Berbatov got a head onto it. The “what am I supposed to do” look by Sagna was followed with replays that clearly show that Berbatov got away with shoving Sagna off the ball while in the air. And left me wondering if that’s not a foul then I’m not sure what is, ever. I didn’t once think that any of the defenders should have done better, all I could see was the foul on Sagna.

From that point on I felt the err of inevitability, that Fulham would get a draw from Arsenal. Berbatov setting up the second was a bit of a downer. Podolski showed what he means when he complains that he’s not a winger as Berba beat him to a simple through ball and dropped a lovely pass to Kacaniklic who headed the ball precisely as you are told to: down and as hard as you can. Mannone got a hand on the header but couldn’t keep it out.

If anything, Arsenal seemed a bit lucky to end that first half just at 2-2 and that gave me hope they would start the second half better. They didn’t. If anything they were worse at the start of the second than the end of the first. Everything was being forced right and Fulham were attacking down the middle with aplomb, exposing Arteta’s lack of pace and defensive awareness. I felt bad for Arteta, who kept having his opposite number dribble right past him and several times was caught behind in the midfield.

So, it shouldn’t have been a surprise when Arteta dawdled on the ball a moment too long in defense and compounded his error by bundling Ruiz over in the box after the Fulham midfielder stole a march on him. Phil Dowd sure saw that foul and pointed to the spot immediately.

Have I ever told you that I think they should ban players who stutter-step run up to take a penalty? Straight red card for me, every time. For cuntery. And if that’s not in the rule book then we should petition FIFA to add it: Law 18 — no cuntery on penalty kicks. That would outlaw the stutter run and the most disgusting penalty of all that horrible chip that people do now. The referee would brandish a red card and say “sorry son, next time try not to take a penalty like a cunt.”

From there I always felt  like Arsenal were going to win it. Giroud had looked lively all day so when the ball finally went to the left side of the pitch and Cazorla played an inch-perfect ball to Giroud who was in miles of space, I nearly pissed myself with excitement. Then Giroud hit the post and I nearly died of the let-down. Two wildly divergent emotions followed by the third of joy as Theo latched onto the rebound and put in a perfect little chip which Giroud powered home.

“You know,” I thought, “for all that Theo complains about wanting to play centrally he’s really fucking good out on the wing.” Think about it for a second, his service to Robin and now Giroud is really critical to Arsenal’s offense.

There wasn’t much time to reflect on the goal though as Arsenal now had the bit between their teeth and started pounding shot after shot at Fulham. The Cottagers did well to keep Arsenal quiet until virtually the last kick of the game and Arshavin earned Arsenal a penalty when his cross hit Reither in the arm. “Harsh” was my first thought “but fuck it, it’s payback for their first goal” was my second.

Arteta stepped up to take the penalty and I immediately felt like he would miss. How does that work anyway? How can I feel something so certainly? There wasn’t any perceptible change in his body shape or anything, but the feeling was there in my guts like a kick in the nuts. And the heartbreak came. The final whistle blew. And Arsenal had another poor result under their belt for this season.

That’s where I should have turned the TV off, turned the computers off, and gone and done something with my day. But I didn’t because of the final Catch-22: we all want someone to commiserate with after a game like that. So I turned to the internet and the echo-chamber that is the Arsenal’s fanbase at the moment.

The noise was deafening. People want Arsene Wenger replaced. They want a new owner. They want to spend some fucking money. They want to have a protest. They want to boycott games. They will ban anyone who talks about firing the manager. On and on, such an outpouring of anger and vile bitterness toward the board, owner, manager, and players the likes of which I haven’t seen since well, last year.

Good luck with all that, folks. Me, I’d like to just enjoy the games a bit. And I know “how can you enjoy watching your team drop two goals twice in a week?” I can’t. But I enjoy all this talk about protests and firing Arsene Wenger even less. Arsenal are a weird team, that lacks consistency and has a hallmark of defensive frailness — this week. Last week it was a lack of offense. The week before, it was a lack of effort. Like I said, inconsistency. So, sure, get back some consistency by firing the manager.

Catch-22.

Qq

32 thoughts on “Arsenal 3-3 Fulham: Catch-22

  1. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Bunburyist

    This is the first time ever in the Wenger era that I’ve grown sympathetic to the idea of replacing the manager. I don’t enjoy entertaining this idea either, but it seems unavoidable given this decline, one which has threatened for a long time in seasons of stagnation.

    Anyway, I hope we can turn this season around, because slipping out of fourth is very dangerous. Many a team with more funds at their disposal than Arsenal has failed to regain the top four in recent years.

  2. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1tino

    Good news everybody! beIN Sport network has been added to TimeWarner Cable. I can now watch LaLiga games!

    I watched Arsene’s interview with the Arsenal Player and one quote stood out. ‘Nothing is lost.’

    I watched yesterday’s game without commentary because Steve McManaman is an idiot. I had some background music on though. The Sagna foul by Berbatov was as plain as daylight but the first thing I read on twitter was how he was completely unmarked. Maybe, as fans we should think critically about how a player becomes free in the box, instead of the tired cliché that they were completely unmarked.

    As the game went on, I caught myself thinking how much Walcott has improved over the years. If I had been listening to the commentary, macca would have probably said Theo has no brain! I am certain that he will be sold and I find that unfortunate, but I’ve made peace with it…

    It’s weird for me to say this but, Poldoski has to learn play on the wing like Walcott. Have you even seen Poldoski make any runs behind the defense? He was given a chance to prove his credentials as the lone striker against Sunderland, but Arsene was unusually critical of his movement and remarked he had to improve. I don’t think he has…

    There has been some interesting discussions on Arteta being man-marked. I think he needs to play more intelligently. I don’t remember Cesc being marked out of games. More often than not he would just move into an area where the person marking him was reluctant to go, which interfered with the oppositions formation. Is Arteta not allowed to talk Carzola and switch positions for a few minutes? Likewise with Carzola who was targeted by Fulham should move deeper, while Arteta moves up.

  3. +9 Vote -1 Vote +1Tee Song

    Catch 22 might be a perfect description of Wenger’s and Arsenal’s current predicament. It has gradually dawned on me that perhaps Arsene’s managerial style no longer fits well with the financial realities faced by the club.

    The financial situation is that the club has an overall wage ceiling which is anywhere from 4/5 to 2/3 less than the top three clubs in the BPL while at the same time has to seemingly break even or even make a profit in terms of transfer fee spending. This has led to a chronic inability to retain star players and rather constant and high squad turnover for the last seven years.

    The constant turnover negates one of Wenger’s strongest qualities as a a manager as well as negatively affecting the playing style he wants of his team. Arsene believes in building strong bonds between himself and his players as well as promoting team camaraderie. Ex-players are constantly talking positively of that and it’s why they still love the club, even after they leave. Those strong bonds are nothing, however, compared to the massive amounts of cold, hard cash on offer from other leading clubs.

    More importantly, the playing style is negatively affected. Tim has likened it jazz. The jazz record, Kind of Blue, was based upon the kind of spontaneity and improvisation that Wenger wants of his team. Miles Davis’ band had no idea of what they were to record when they came together to record that album. Davis had no actual, fleshed out songs written but instead had some basic melodies and chords which the band was to expand and improvise upon. They recorded, over a mere two days, a masterpiece which is widely acclaimed as one of the greatest jazz records of all time.

    Wenger is not the type of coach who seems to give his players very specific instructions on how and where to play. He gives them a rather looser framework and gives the players the freedom to improvise a masterpiece. When it works, it’s devastating because opposing teams get pulled out of position by the constant movement, quick passing, and the interchanging of positions. Of course, in order to play with such freedom, the players have to have a degree of familiarity with each other, both in terms of anticipating each others movements as well as covering spaces left behind when midfielders, fullbacks, and even defenders push forward. Familiarity which is not forthcoming when every season we lose key players.

    So Wenger is caught in a situation in which his managerial strengths are negated by constant turnover and traits which might be positive in a different situation are exposed as weakness at Arsenal. Specifically, loyalty to players who are more loyal to money or are huge injury risks, tactical inflexibility, and a playing style which demands that players have an almost telepathic level of understanding. In terms of his strengths, the one thing keeping us afloat is Arsene’s well documented ability to find talent. With the constant turnover, we might be in considerably worse shape than we are now. Liverpool come to mind.

    Wenger hasn’t suddenly become a bad manager or our players bad players. But right now, things aren’t meshing as well as they might. It occurs to me that perhaps a manager who retains Wenger’s ability to spot talent but is more an orchestra director, giving each player a very clear and well defined role, might be a better fit for Arsenal. Or if, as Tim suggests, the purse strings are ready to be opened up as soon as next season, Wenger will fit better. Money buys the loyalty and squad stability that plays to his strengths as a manager.

    1. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1Shard

      That is a brilliant comment. I still think that Arsene Wenger’s inflexibility is slightly exaggerated. However, you are right in what you mention are his strengths. Also in that money buys loyalty. I don’t think that’s a fact Wenger ignores entirely. I remember reading long ago that when Wenger first came to the club, he pushed the board to pay more to his players, and I’m sure that must have helped the likes of Adams, Parlour, Bergkamp etc get behind him and Arsenal.

      Lack of consistency in personnel would hurt every team and every manager. Some through their different philosophies would probably mitigate the damage more than Wenger, but they probably won’t be as adept at certain aspects as Wenger is (identifying talent, being a draw for some players, attacking philosophy) and as such would offer mostly a short fix. The finances wil free up eventually. Is that short term fix worth it? Is Wenger’s presence harmful to the club in the short run?Enough to justify sacking him in favour of someone of that ilk? I don’t think so.

      I don’t really disagree with your analysis at all. I think it’s brilliant. But I don’t think we need to get rid of the manager just now. He’ll still do enough, and we’ll be better off for it in the long(er) run.

      1. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1santori

        It’s not buying that is a problem, it’s retention.

        In that we have a slight problem.

        The clubs that have the money are very far ahead of us in terms of what they are willing to spend on. We cannot keep up.

        United are closest to our system and even they have better commercial money than us at the moment. What they pay RVP 180K ++ is so far ahead of what we can offer him.

        OTOH, there are players whom we should have kept.

        Point in case Song. 55K to 80K per week. 3 seasons left on contract. Be practical. Pay him, have him around for a season till Coquelin or one of the pretenders can prove that they have come good. Then sell him. His value will not diminish for us terribly and we have a player familiar (and a performer) in a crucial node who contributes to both defense and attack.

        This is where we seem terribly unconvincing in our attempt to sway the opinion of the RVPs or Sagnas that we are genuinely aiming higher.

      2. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1santori

        Wenger’s problem :

        1) He is not practical. He is a purist where sometimes he needs to realise ends justify means for sake of the team. Point in case Walcott’s peripheral use till recent (BC of prolonged contract leverage). and Song.

        2) He is not tactically inept but he has had his flaws covered by his (mostly) brilliance in the market till recent times whereby ;

        a) The league has become more technical and tactically challenging (more competent foreign managers and more technical players available even to ‘lower ‘ teams)

        b) The market for top players has become a challenge due to the rise of the Petro rich clubs and the fact that market knowledge is now more flat.

        which now makes his tactical flaws more glaring.

        3) To be fair to him, we are competing still against clubs that are pulling away because their resources are exponentially greater than ours.

        however going back to above point, the little leverage that he used to rely on to make up the difference, is now also disappearing with clubs easily adapting to our fairly predictable set ups and poor tactical response. Add in a crisis of confidence currently and you have the makings of a perfect storm.

      3. +4 Vote -1 Vote +1Shard

        Buying is not a problem because Wenger generally has a keen eye to spot the players he needs, at a reasonable price, and because he’s gotten a good academy setup in place. You replace him with another manager and buying could become a problem in addition to retention (about which nothing can be done till we get more money in, and till the salary structure can be realigned). He might offer more ‘flexibility’ or a more drilled team to take on opponents. It’s still a risk. I don’t think we’re at the stage yet that we need to take that risk.

        This team has issues, and as Tee Song pointed out, Wenger relies on players to develop understanding with each other. We’ll get better with time, unless lack of confidence drags us down.All the more reason for fans to get behind them. It’s almost as if last season’s recovery drained the fans of the will to go through it again.

  4. -6 Vote -1 Vote +1Gerald

    If the manager is the cause of the inconsistency then yes, firing him is the answer. At least it is the start toward correcting the problem

    1. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1santori

      He isn’t the only cause and the solution thereafter may not be better.

      So we got rid of Pat, now we have Bould. Remember?

  5. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1BayGooner

    1. How do we know Arsenal has money in the bank? I mean, do we know their cash flow, what they face in the future? Maybe some people do, but it is so simplistic to look at part of the financial and claim that this means money is just sitting in the back.

    2. Maybe it is time to fire Steve Bould, not Wenger. In the first few games, I couldn’t hear idiots like Steward Robson go on enough about how Steve Bould had tightened up Arsenal. What’s happened? Has he take a Pat Rice pill? (This is tongue in cheek — but the contrast is indicative of what is going on.)

    3. Hate to say it, but maybe Gervinho is somewhat critical to this team, not to mention Gibbs. It doesn’t seem to me that replacing Santos with Vermalen changed anything in a positive way yesterday, but I could be wrong. But mainly, there is no replacement for Gervinho at the moment.

    4. This “worst start in 30 years” theme has been true almost from the start of the season. Arsenal were getting clean sheets, and everyone glommed onto that to think a new era was dawning, but the points weren’t coming.

    Bottom line: this is a year of transition. Or the second year of the transition, truth be told. Last year, we lost Cesc, and you don’t do that without consequences — fortunately, or ironically, we got the first full year of the real RVP, something that, had he delivered more earlier, would have kept Fabregas here, or made it more possible to keep him another year — and would he have gone once Pep left? Dunno. So then this summer Robin leaves, and Arsene decides to go all in, get rid of Song instead of postponing the inevitable, drop a number of other key figures in the past, and make the big change. He brought in great people, but can they replace 37 goals instantly? Doubt it. Should we have expected Cazorla not to have to adjust somewhat? If I had one complaint, it would be that Wenger should have had a real back-up for Diaby, and I don’t know that we do. Jack is everyone’s Fond Hope, but its way too much pressure and I wouldn’t expect him to reach his potential this season. he was out a long long time, during which his natural progression paused. And the team changed. he has a lot of catching up to do.

    I enjoyed yesterday’s match, as a game of soccer. Berbatov showed us once again how good he is, and how much better he is under Jol than under Ferguson. Ferguson is not for everyone. On By the Numbers, you showed all the great stuff Arteta did yesterday, but if there is one person responsible for Arsenal not getting three points yesterday, it is he. Forget whether the penalty was fair or earned, or not, he blew it. He shouldn’t ever ever have taken it. There were at least three players who should have been ahead of him, if not more. If you want to be mad at someone about something yesterday, it should be that someone allowed Arteta to take that penalty.

    Champions win when things go unfairly against their opponents, and they pounce. Above all. And Arteta didn’t. (And I love the guy, but his taking the PK was totally nuts.)

  6. Vote -1 Vote +1feygooner

    We definitely played 2 banks of 4 in defense away to Liverpool this season. Cazorla stepped forward as a SS and Podolski played essentially like a LM.

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1santori

      We seem to be playing a zonal and passive defense relying on ambush tactics.

      Where as the likes of Barca play a more active pursuit in closing space down quickly.

      We gave Fulham plenty of the ball and no attempt was made throughout the game to address the issue of Fulham dropping their forwards into the midfield to swamp our 2-3 men with 4 around the ball.

      In fact our midfield I thought was undermanned and almost absent.

      I lost count of the number of times Mannone punted the ball up field rather than risk sending the ball out from the back.

      There doesn’t seem to be a sense of trust at the moment in playing through midfield which is a worrying sign.

  7. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1dewole

    Me, I am just so overjoyed that there the zip has come back into our game. For me, our low point was at Old Trafford (like last year). This Fulham game more so than the Schalke game, showed that we are coming back. We were fantastic from the moment they took the lead. We were back. It’s academic whether we won, lost, or drew that game. What mattered was we were playing football at pace and with confidence again! The only way is up now.

    I don’t really get why it seems like everyone wants to get rid of Le Prof. Who is the guy that’s going to change it? Pep? Hmmmn, even the Invincibles did not have Messi, Iniesta, Xavi. Mourinho? The $70M that we supposedly have in the bank won’t be enough. He would need at least 3 times that to work his magic. To me, there is only one guy who could be an improvement on Le Prof. and he is the bloody living embodiment of Man U!

    So I am happy for Le Prof to continue to delight and frustrate in equal measure. At least you can’t say its boring to be a Gooner :)

    1. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1santori

      At some point though he should be kicked upstairs (say Director of Football) although I have my doubts that he will ever be able to accommodate and give someone in the manager’s role full reign.

      There is a reasonable list of managers to audition for the job that should be tracked in coming years. For the current, we will have to bear with it as painful as it seems. If we finish off Top 4 this season and next season repeats itself, the case will be extremely strong for a change.

  8. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Eurazian

    I too saw Berbatov push Sagna, although the way everyone talked about him being unmarked made me question if I’d imagined it. Watching it again, perhaps it is one of those clever fouls that has the desired impact while being just subtle enough to avoid the ref calling it.

    What I liked about this game: we actually tried different things, after the one-dimensional performances in the last few games. I mean, we actually tried crossing the ball to our big centre forward – this is revolutionary stuff!

    What I didn’t like – Coquelin coming off. I missed most of the first half, but I can’t imagine how bad he could have been that Ramsey was deemed to be the answer.

    1. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1ctpa

      Coquelin was not bad but A. he’s still developing and B. he’s not S**g with that his extra offensive dimension. So Ramsey was the next best ‘central offensive option off the bench. In hindsight, a ‘flexible’ Wenger should have opted for Arshavin central and Ramsey out wide somewhere in South Dakota.

      1. Vote -1 Vote +1santori

        Coquelin is diligent in trying to win a ball back. He is not as positionally sound going forward as Ramsey but technically, he has better possession skills. I’m not sure if Ramsey coming on was the solution to be honest, granted he did put in a couple of reasonable passes (and lost plenty of the ball too)

        What I am not sure why Wenger has developed allergy to is the fact that he doesn’t play the Russian. He makes things happen (Soft penalty etc)
        Play him earlier 15-20m from time not with 5 mins left on the clock.

        Absolutely ludicrous particularly as many players would have felt the extra effect of our mid-week game. He simply doesn’t use his full assets effectively Wenger.

        That said, I thought he at least got Chamberlain on right.

  9. +4 Vote -1 Vote +1ctpa

    Wanted, players willing and able to run at and actually beat defenders one v one. All enquiries will be kept confidential and should include their youtude highlight reel on a USB stick, wage requirements and be addressed to Arsene Wenger c/o The Emirates Stadium.

  10. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Bunburyist

    As the nation waits anxiously on an MRI scan, Suarez tweets, “Hugs to Terry, I hope it’s nothing serious.”

    Heartwarming stuff. Racists must put aside club allegiances and support each other.

  11. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1Cliffy

    For all those who wants to fire Arsene…your best chance was last season..and its over…you did your bin bags, boycotting games and writing Rust banners…and he turned you over..spanked you back right into your place…
    For me, had that penalty gone in..we would be living in a better world…

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1santori

      Such is the fine line between being back in it and heading for yet another same as usual crisis. One goal (had Arteta went for power and put his laces through it) would have taken us to 18 and within better striking distance of the top 3 with something to build on. One miss and we are looking at an improbable and long incline ahead.

      Problem is that damage had been done long before this game. We should have probably won one of the opening draws and the Norwich game. Margins are too fine this season for us to be dropping even that early on in the season.

      Which is why the whole issue with selling our better players (particularly those we have leverage on – Song) is so flawed.

      We have little continuity these days and are constantly rebuilding. There is little doubt that this policy will not afford us the best opportunity of winning the big ticket items..

  12. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1cyberian

    “Like Olympic medals and tennis trophies, all they signified was that the owner had done something of no benefit to anyone more capably than everyone else.” This line from Catch-22 captures the absurdity inherent in both stocked and empty trophy cases. Either way the fans suffer no joy, only the final Catch-22.

  13. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Jop

    My advise would be to enjoy this season and the champions league as much as you can, it could be the last before it all goes a little bit Liverpool.

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1santori

      A sound one.

      Liverpool have not had managerial stability and have been off CL for 3 seasons running (no closer)

      Then again, we are not that much off of them this season. Mr Rodger’s neighbourhood is but 4 points behind.

  14. +1 Vote -1 Vote +11NilToTheArsenal

    Another quality post. Somehow, I don’t think you’ll find many references or analogies to the work of Joseph Heller in other footy blogs.

    Although my consistent optimism regarding all things Arsenal has taken a beating, I know that it’s impossible to predict anything about which final place in the table this campaign will finish with a a team so inconsistent.

    What I do wonder though, is that besides the CL money and the saving of our pride, is there any real point to a top 4 place for Arsenal without the ability to build and progress towards winning something?

    Would we benefit from any changes if we were to finish somewhere mid-table or worse, find ourselves in a relegation battle? It is confounding to me that this team is easily capable of any of these scenarios. Top 4, mid-table or bottom 4.

    Perhaps Arsenal might be better compared to something out of Hunter S Thompson or maybe a Doors song?
    “Weird scenes inside the gold mine…”

  15. Vote -1 Vote +1Zeddington

    I’m seriously debating not watching the NLD. Every game of late I’ve had to sacrifice something for; more often than not, precious family time. And hours afterwards of me being glum and arguing with people. Is it worth it? I don’t know, frankly. Maybe I’ll check the score, and watch the game if we win. Is that cheating? Maybe I’ll just read about it afterwards on this here blog. I don’t know, frankly.

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