What is it about Arsenal performing once there is little else to play for? We have seen it time and again in recent years, a late end of season run when we have a dozen+ points off the title, off the pace from top 4, and then we put a run together to secure Champions League football.
It is almost as if our mindset changes when we start to be written off in the press. Disregarded by the footballing public. The odds on top 4 extending. And this season it is déjà vu.
After we as a club, a fan base, a team, hit rock bottom on a Monday night 3-0 defeat against Crystal Palace, we were all done. It was time to pack up and go home. 4 wins in 12 games, 2 of which were against the might of Sutton United and Lincoln City. After the defeat to Crystal Palace, an FA Cup exit against Manchester City was on the cards.
A month to do the day of that defeat against Crystal Palace and things look a little better. A run of 5 wins in 6 games has seen us get into the FA Cup final and claw back points in the race for the top 4. The only game we dropped points in was that awful defeat against Tottenham Hotspur.
The revival comes as Arsenal moved to the 3-4-2-1 formation.
Personally, I refuse to give Arsene Wenger any credit for changing formation. It is too little too late. And this is where this positive happy blog takes a darker turn.
Just because I am happy Arsenal won, it does not change the fact that Arsene Wenger needs to go.
The fact he took so long to try out another formation is sickening. By the time we moved to 3-4-2-1, the title had gone, finishing ahead of Spurs had gone, we were 6th. Fans have been calling for a change in tactics for years, and it took an awful run for Wenger to react. It sums up Wenger’s second half of his Arsenal career. He is a reactive manager rather than a proactive one.
He follows other teams tactics rather than develops his own. If his side wins a game one week, he puts out the same side the next, not thinking about the opposition. He has struggled. He has been left behind. Winning 5 games from 6 does not suddenly make him a poor manager. Does not justify the 2 year contract that has allegedly already been signed.
Too many of our fans are fickle. The protests have dwindled. The noise on social media hushed. A couple of victories and everyone has fallen back in line. You do not have to be one or the other. You can want the team to win, whilst still calling for the managers head. Still celebrate victories whilst demanding Wenger Out.
I glance across at Juventus and see them in the Champions League final. Their second in 3 years under Massimiliano Allegri. Allegri flirted with leaving Juventus at the end of this season. He has since signed a new contract.
Was it just a power player to get more money from The Old Lady? Or was he genuinely looking to leave? It certainly felt on Tuesday, whilst watching them celebrate making the final, of a bit of Bully “here’s what you could have had”.
Did Wenger’s situation at Arsenal stall the club on making a move of Allegri? How many other top managers will we miss out on as Wenger digs his heels and stays? Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola have already gone, Carlo Ancelotti and Unai Emery also recently made moves. Reports are today that Diego Simeone could be making a return to Inter Milan. Another we have missed out on.
Wenger’s arrogance, his ignorance, his stubbornness is damaging Arsenal. It is meaning we can not move one. Then again, if you were due to earn £19m over the next two years, why would you step down?
Lets turn this blog into a shit sandwich and finish on a high.
Beat Stoke on Saturday afternoon and the pressure is on Liverpool on Sunday when they visit West Ham. Victory will leave us a point behind Liverpool, 3 behind Manchester City (assuming they beat Chelsea in the early kick off).
With home games against Sunderland and Everton to finish the season off, you would not beat against us sneaking into the top 4. 8 wins out of 9 will give us great momentum to face Chelsea at the end of the month. And ultimately that is the real trophy.
Give me the FA Cup over top 4, over progression any day of the week.
We are all in this together.