Saturday, April 23, 2016

Why so toxic, Gooners?

Before I attempt being realistic and practical, here's my rant - 

Season after season after season, we bottle the league. And the question is not whether Arsenal will win the league next season. The question for the past few years have been how differently will Arsenal bottle the league this season! One season we mess up the initial few games and are playing catch-up for the rest of the season for something that defines our consistency - top 4. One season we consistently top the league gameweek after gameweek, waiting for someone to be injured and then the bottling begins. This season, we were competing not with the heavyweights but with an amazingly resurgent Leicester City and, dare I say it, unbelievably consistent, Spurs. But when the rest of the team are playing against each other, Arsenal chose to play against itself. We kept on dropping points when we were ahead and now we are fighting the battle we master in - top 4. Same old, same old they say.

That's it. Rant done.

Welbeck winner against Leicester City 2015-16 season
Perhaps the only time when all Arsenal fans were on one page
If you read my above frustration carefully, I haven't blamed anyone. It could be Stan Kroenke's fault, Wenger's fault, player's fault and even fan's fault. For Kroenke, its business and its going perfectly fine in terms of numbers. Why repair when it ain't broke? For Wenger, team has been consistent over the past 19 years and, despite the fact that he wants to win the league, he still applauds top 4 position as it guarantees UEFA Champions League for next season. For the players, they know Wenger will trust and support them despite the lack of form or persistent injuries and there's hardly any pressure on them. Even they know that the fans nail Wenger for every loss and the players get away with it every time. For fans, we link every loss with Wenger's transfer business (or the lack of it), Wenger's sacking (or the lack of it). It could be a joint responsibility for all we know. We cannot expect Kroenke to leave (unless the situation drastically changes and he finds sale of Arsenal Football Club as a more profitable deal than continuing with the club). Arsene Wenger is sure to complete his contract. And the players, well, will go through another season thinking what could have been, IF..

But what about us fans? I completely understand the frustration. Count me in too. But how is so much negativity helping the team during a season? Will it help the club win anything? No. Will it help ease pressure on the club? No. All its doing is to make us a laughing stock in front of other teams. Its putting our players under even more pressure to perform. Its almost as if Arsenal is playing against fans every weekend! The other team is just for academic purpose who make use of this sensitive situation leave with 3 points and we restart the circle of blame game. This season has been a prime example of it.

Here's my personal take on this - I couldn't wait for the season to end. We've had perhaps the worst season in the past one decade and we are still 3rd in the league. This could've been the season for us. Our competitors are languishing in their own hole and we, instead of owning the league, dug our own hole and are now attempting to come out of it. There are now 4 games to go. Traditionally, 3 are easy fixtures. There's one against Manchester City which could turn out to be the fight for 3rd place, unless Spurs slip. Let's support our team for these games and then start the blame game / revolution. 

Let's not be our teams biggest enemy, definitely not during a season.


  1. hey Binu. Frustrations rightly put. All these problems are genuine, it may be wrong to blame Kroenke or Wenger or Players, i agree. We have fallen back so many times after having a brilliant run of games that it has become a big blur. Almost hypnotic. The drag is gone so long that we are unable to demystify the real reason why we don't succeed. Unfortunately for us, a club's success is measured season by season and not on 20 year scale. No doubt we are the best when you take that parameter.

    Here is what I feel - if its not money, talent, mgmt, skills etc then it must be something intrinsic like desire, consistency & leadership. Wenger has mastered a lot of things which most managers don't have but something is riding us down it may be these 3 things mentioned above. He fails to push team when there is a potential danger, and reacts too slow (like against Leicester) to such situations. With his experience, he should be in a prescient mode every minute & bring about the changes (tactically). That is missing I feel. A manager who works on realising opportunities & threats and reacts and adapts quickly. We have the best lineup, other managers would be licking their lips when they see our squad.

    Somewhere the blame must come down to. And its the manager. Not suggesting to sack him, that won't help, but put maybe an assistant coach who is likely to succeed Wenger (dont think Bould will succeed him). This recruit can bridge the problems highlighted. and work together with Wenger to identify potentially dangerous moments and act to get it fixed. May be Wenger can rest his ego when he is at work. It is clear that he is idealistic Wenger but it overpowers what makes you win every match. We all know (by playing competitive sports) at these small moments can make or break (like if you remember when the two of us batted together, we took the match by storm - u got out & things went south - had Sapan kept another strike batsman after you we could've won that game). So what I am saying is blame Sapan :) or Wenger here

    1. Hey Amit, your response is like a blog post in itself! :P

      Although I am a fan of Arsene Wenger, Arsenal will remain more important - as it should be for a fan. For all the decision-making skill that Wenger has, I believe that sports management skills have evolved from a gut based decision-making to a more number crunching decision-making. Decisions made with strong number-crunching as its base is obviously more reliable now. Wenger has a strong data analytics team to support him, but how much he uses this analytics team to make his transfer decisions is still anybody's guess. Had he been more willing to accept recommendations from data analytics team, we would probably have had Mahrez and Kante in our team. Who knows. And we would have sold off Wilshere and Walcott long back, two players who have utmost support of Wenger, despite their injuries and lack of consistency.

      Anyway, footballing world is witnessing the decline of old school management and Wenger is the final straw. One more year at max.

      PS: I cant believe you still remember of partnership that match. Remembering that match still gives me goosebumps and mixed feelings. Our partnership took the game from an almost lost situation to an almost win situation and then it all went south.. Wow, what a match that was!


All yours..

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