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Monday, 27 March 2017

The only reason I'm an Arsenal supporter

Dad with some of the Arsenal boys he's responsible for - Wembley 2015


My Dad is 75 today. Happy Birthday Dad! He is the sole reason I'm an Arsenal supporter. I was born to it, educated in it, and immersed in it. So were my two brothers, my nephew and my sons. The fact that his grandsons are Freddie, Liam, George and Charlie probably tells you a bit about how our family is with regards to Arsenal. Dad has been to every final Arsenal have played in since 1968. He is, as far as I'm concerned, the ultimate Arsenal supporter. He was also a very good footballer in his own right, and played to a high level in the amateur game, so he genuinely knows what he's talking about. When it comes to Arsenal he is really THE MAN. He has made genuine friends all over Europe through following The Arsenal and that's the measure of the man and the Club we all support.

Five years ago I wrote one of my two favourite blogs ever, all about my Dad, so I thought I'd share it again today - please click the link here to read it.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Impostors to the shirt

That idiot Mustafi in familiar pose


For me that was even worse than the Bayern Munich capitulations. What we saw at West Brom, from the beginning to the end of the match, was a group of players who didn't want to play for Arsenal. It is utterly shameful for that to be the case. I'm not about to defend Arsene Wenger either, but the players he has trusted and indulged far too much have actually turned their backs on him. With the possible exceptions of Monreal and Oxlade-Chamberlain (and Alexis before he was kicked out of the game before half-time) there was no evidence that these players had any pride in the fact that they are wearing the Arsenal shirt. They used to play a video on the big screens at the new stadium with a voiceover of Bob Wilson talking about the pride of "wearing that big gun on your chest" - well there was very little sign of that from this rabble yesterday. The defending was comical and, yes, Mustafi was blaming everyone other than himself after all three goals. 
It says it all about how this team is right now that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was thrown under the bus by being sent out to do the post-match interviews. With Mertesacker and Koscielny both in the squad yesterday that is a genuine dereliction of duty from the senior players. There is absolutely no leadership and no togetherness. When Alexis was totalled by McLean there was no reaction from the Arsenal players. It was an injury that been coming thanks to weak refereeing from Swarbrick who was the only person watching that had no idea what was going on with different players taking it in turns to kick the Chilean. Pulis has form for targeting Arsenal's best player in this way and it has resulted in shattered legs in the past. As the captain of the team Koscielny should have been in the refs face and telling him what he was failing to see. It was almost as though, because there has been an undoubted problem with Sanchez and the rest of the team, that they didn't mind seeing him get booted. Given that he is the only player likely to get them out of a hole, as he proved again yesterday, that is disturbing. Now he is likely to be out injured for a while and we stare ever deeper in to the abyss.
I don't feel sorry for Arsene Wenger, as such. He has signed all of these players, he selects these players, and he has given them far too many chances over the years. What we are seeing is what he has created, or rather destroyed, ever since the Invincibles were broken up prematurely. I find myself longing for the days of Gallas and Denilson and Adebayor - at least we still had Fabregas and Van Persie back then. Ospina was doing a bad impression of Almunia from the minute he came on yesterday. Bellerin has no idea of how to play at full-back, while his attempts to pass the ball in to the middle are embarrassing - Debuchy or Jenkinson should come in. Mustafi is a joke player who should be replaced by either Mertesacker or Holding. Koscielny, normally so reliable, is no skipper. Monreal's lack of pace causes us problems, though at least he tries - with Gibbs incapable of playing more than two games without getting injured there is no choice but to play him. Xhaka is too slow to play in a Premier League midfield. Ramsey seems to think he's a top player while anyone watching him who isn't Welsh will know otherwise. Walcott has got goals this season and, up until November, was more involved and more physical than he had been in the past, but he is now back to the little boy on the pitch that he always was. Oxlade-Chamberlain has clearly been told he is not to take people on with the ball in central midfield, despite this being the only way we will create opportunities against an organised opponent. Sanchez, for all his faults, is the only danger we have. Welbeck was given a real chance to impress yesterday and was awful. Giroud came on and didn't get involved at all, albeit he had no support and no service, as per usual. Ozil, of course, wasn't even there yesterday but if you believe he's been "ill" and "injured" this past few weeks then you must be very gullible indeed. I'd rather see Martinez, Holding, Maitland-Niles, Willock, Nelson etc given some chances in the coming weeks than sit through the creeping death that this lot are subjecting us to. 
The fact is that very few Arsenal players over the last few weeks actually deserve to be paid. They are an embarrassment to the shirt they are privileged to wear. I don't really care if they don't want to play for Arsene Wenger anymore, they have a responsibility to the Arsenal supporters to play for us. Thousands pay our money every week to support them as the custodians of those shirts, we were there before them and will be there long after they've gone, so it's us they should be playing for, regardless of Arsene Wenger.
One more thing before I sign off this post; those banners hanging from aeroplanes yesterday were embarrassing. For starters there must be more money than sense, whether you are wanting Wenger to go or to stay (though it amazes me there are still people who can't see the wood for the trees on that one) to actually hire a plane! There is a lot of self-aggrandisement, in my view, going on in this "Wenger Out" protest stuff. I believe that, once he has gone, some people will be wanting to gain the credit and the notoriety for it happening. Certain people still dine out on how they got Terry Neill the sack back in the 1980's and I genuinely believe those involved want a bit of that for themselves - radio interviews on the BBC and TalkSport, taking total joy from the idea of the planes and pre-match protests in recent weeks, it all adds up to something unsavoury as far as I'm concerned. I'll probably get some stick for saying that, maybe even get called some nasty names, but that's how I see it. I hope I'm wrong, but thanks from one of the protest organisers to the "sponsors" smacks of something all a bit fishy to me.
We now have an interminable international break to get through where the only thing likely to cheer me up would be an announcement that Arsene is going in May. That would, surely, bring everyone together in an effort to finish the season well and try to win the FA Cup in his final game. It won't happen, unfortunately. We won't get an announcement and, on recent evidence, we have no chance of winning the FA Cup against City, Chelsea or Spurs.

Monday, 27 February 2017

So much for challenging

Not really worth leaving, was it?


It's been a long and depressing month for Arsenal since I last wrote anything. We've gone from having the chance to be within just a few points of Chelsea to being thirteen points behind them and out of contention to win the Premier League. A top four place looks as difficult to secure this season as it ever has with more teams actually contesting those positions. Then there is the debacle that was the away game at Bayern Munich. I read a tweet saying that George Graham learned more about European football in fifteen minutes against Benfica then  Arsene Wenger has learned in twenty-odd years. It's hard to argue with that. That second-half display, following a really very decent effort prior to half-time where we should have got our noses ahead, was so tactically inept that it was beyond belief. It was beyond unacceptable that we could still be so naive in any game, let alone against a top European side. To call it clueless wouldn't begin to cover it.
The nature of the hammerings at Chelsea and Bayern were totally predictable. Was anyone genuinely surprised? From the moment Marcos Alonso was allowed to assault Hector Bellerin and make it 1-0 you could see what was coming. There is no bottle, no organisation, no will to succeed. We lack quality, which is bizarre given how much money Wenger spent last year. 
Rob Holding is excused any criticism as he is a youngster who is being used sparingly, but what was the point in signing Lucas Perez if Wenger doesn't actually want him? Lucas has been more than impressive in almost every game he has played, yet we are still being subjected to the same old rubbish despite the obvious lack of performances. I couldn't blame Lucas if he wanted out at Arsenal. And then we come to the two genuinely major signings made last summer - Granit Xhaka and Shkodran Mustafi cost us over £60m and both of these jokers are absolutely woeful. Xhaka is slow beyond belief and totally overwhelmed in the midfield. His lack of speed leads to him making fouls all over the place (though his "reputation" has allowed referees a free pass to issue cards to him compared to other players in this league) and he is totally out of his depth. For the money we paid for him it surely isn't asking too much for him to be able to dominate midfield against some utter rubbish in the Premier League. As for Mustafi I really don't know why more people haven't noticed this guy is an absolute donkey. In the last thirty years or so we've seen a lot of Arsenal centre-halves get stick from our own crowd. Gus Caesar, Andy Linighan, Martin Keown (yes he got some awful stick when he first came back to Arsenal), Pascal Cygan, Igors Stepanovs, Philippe Senderos, Johan Djourou and now Gabriel have all been boo-boys for the crowd. Not one of those was as bad at defending as Shkodran Mustafi is. He has got away with so many errors this season thanks to the pace of Koscielny and Bellerin, or the presence of Cech behind him. Mustafi is almost always the wrong side of pacy strikers when the ball is played down the side. At the same time he doesn't attack the ball properly in the air and is weak in the challenge. For some reason, however, he seems to think it's always the fault of someone else and can regularly be seen having a go at everyone - look at the (I think) third Bayern Munich goal and see him standing there as the goal is scored by the man he should be marking, and then he goes mad at his midfield!
Talking of midfield it is obvious that Santi Cazorla was vital to the way Arsenal play their football these days. We suffered badly when he got injured last season and I have to say it's even more apparent this year. Cazorla is the one player in the squad (in the absence of Jack Wilshere) who has the ability to break through the lines of an organised opponent and beat a man, creating space for those around him. He is also an intelligent enough footballer to be able to play the defensive, and sometimes cynical, part of the game in the centre of the pitch. Francis Coquelin certainly looks a far better player with Santi next to him and he doesn't go bombing up the pitch when Cazorla is there. Coquelin has actually been awful in recent matches and should probably be dropped if we had players to replace him, but I'm not having this revisionist attitude to him. Coquelin has been outstanding for Arsenal in the last couple of years and dismissing him on the grounds that N'Golo Kante is better is not fair on him. It isn't Coquelin's fault that Kante is better - he is probably now the best in the World in that position - so using that as a stick to beat our lad is childish and stupid.

To get back to my original reason for actually posting today, we were all sold a lie around fifteen years ago. Highbury was too small to reach the demand for tickets to see Arsenal. After eleven years now at the new stadium that is certainly true as just about every game is a sell-out, even if all seats aren't actually filled on a match-day. However, the main way Arsenal sold the stadium move to long-standing and loyal supporters was to tell us we had to move to a larger stadium to generate the revenue that would allow us to "compete" with the biggest European clubs. Even more recently Mr Gazidis told us we would be on the same level as Bayern Munich within a few years. A bit unfortunate, then, that Arsenal should get humiliated by said German giants a couple of weeks ago. We aren't competing with the biggest European clubs all these years after moving.
Forget Europe, we don't even compete in the Premier League. In 2008 we finished four points behind the Champions, and that was a season when everyone knows we should have won the Title. That is just about the only time we've got close since winning it in 2004. I don't consider a finish in the top four to be success. I consider winning a trophy to be success. I'd rather be in Manchester United's position this afternoon than Arsenal's as they've gone and won silverware at Wembley - albeit they needed the officials to make up their 13 man team yesterday. Arsenal have an excellent chance to win the FA Cup again this season and that would be very welcome indeed, but it doesn't mean we are doing what we left Highbury to ensure - we are not a team that is capable of winning the Premier League. That is unacceptable and you have to wonder now whether leaving Highbury was worth it at all. As far as I'm concerned it most certainly wasn't.

Monday, 23 January 2017

Good Boys

The absolute dogs


The only thing Arsenal fans on Twitter could find to argue about last night was the banner with a picture of Alexis and his pets that has been displayed inside the stadium. I have never seen so much childish nonsense from apparently fully grown adults. Whoever runs the Red Action Twitter account made a silly (childish) error in criticising anyone who doesn't like the banner and basically saying they should stop supporting Arsenal. I actually had some sympathy with other parts of the statement they posted but that bit seriously let them down. What has followed has been like a scene from a primary school playground that is more embarrassing than any perceived shame the banner might have brought on anyone. I swear at any time now someone is going to threaten to get their Dad on to the others! For my part I actually don't mind the banner. It's a bit of fun and it is totally harmless. If it makes Alexis Sanchez smile then great. Could it be a bit more humorous? Yes. Does it matter? No. I can't actually believe I've wasted an entire paragraph on this rubbish but, honestly, some people would steal the fun and oxygen out of anything and decide it's "embarrassing". Oh, and then they'll also use their sense of entitlement to belittle anyone else. Grow the f*** up!

The game yesterday was worth a massive three points after the results on Saturday. I couldn't honestly say that Arsenal played well as a team, hence the need for a 98th minute penalty to secure the win. At the same time I'm struggling to find any player in the team that played badly with the exception of Aaron Ramsey who was generally awful throughout. From back to front the Arsenal players tried hard yesterday (including Ramsey) without putting too much together. The odd chance came and went but we couldn't really trouble Heaton too much. I thought Ozil had a fine game and certainly couldn't be accused of hiding, something I often level at him. At the back Mustafi was combative and won most of his aerial battles, even towards the end when Burnley went even more direct. Gabriel was excellent at right-back, while Iwobi grew in to the game in the second-half and his beating of defenders by running at them was the only thing that genuinely threatened to open up the opposition.
I had a decent view of Xhaka's red-card challenge from the East Upper and I didn't think it was a bad tackle watching it live in the flesh. I would agree that it maybe looks a little worse when you slow it down and view it on TV. I always say, however, that the reaction of players is often a decent indication when it comes to this sort of incident. Not one Burnley player went after Xhaka, nor did they crowd the referee. Tom Heaton's face when the red card came out showed that he was a bit surprised himself at the decision made. But then this is Jonathan Moss we are talking about. He has sent-off Xhaka in both games he's refereed at Arsenal this season. I couldn't argue with the one earlier in the season, and you could make a case that Xhaka obviously needs to be more careful on the pitch as his record speaks for itself, but I think it's that record and reputation that Moss judged him on yesterday. Moreover I believe that Moss is not merely an incompetent.
On the subject of incompetence the linesman on my side of the pitch yesterday was truly awful. The TV channels have highlighted that Koscielny was offside when Alexis crossed the ball in the move that ended with our penalty, and Sean Dyche has called for video to be used to stop these errors. I couldn't agree more. After all, if we'd had video evidence in use then we'd have seen at least two occasions in the first-half where Burnley players were offside yet the same official missed it. We'd also have seen Arsenal given a penalty when Mustafi was fouled in the area, right in front of the same linesman. You see, Mr Dyche, video evidence might have meant Arsenal didn't get their 98th minute winner, but it would also have seen Arsenal probably 2-0 up with before the end of the game. 
The bottle of Alexis is astounding. He had missed his previous penalties for Arsenal and they had been pretty awful efforts in to the bargain. To step up in the situation we were in yesterday and chip the ball like that was as ridiculous as it was brilliant. Those are the moments we go to football for. The reaction of the crowd, the feeling it gives you to see that goal go in, is something you can't truly get unless you're in the stadium. I don't get there often enough theses days, but endings like Alexis gave us yesterday make it a great thing when I can be there in person. 
I don't honestly think Arsenal will win the Premier League this season, but that goal means we've as good a chance as anyone except Chelsea. Before kick-off yesterday that had to be the objective and that's what was achieved, one way or another.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Thanks Carl Jenkinson, In praise of Olivier Giroud

He lived our dream


So it looks like Carl Jenkinson is on his way to Crystal Palace on a permanent deal. I, for one, am sad to see him go. I didn't buy in to the negativity that a number of the supporters showed towards him when he came back in to the team this season. After a year out with a serious knee injury you might have thought we would be cutting some slack to a player who is genuinely one of our own. Instead he got dogs abuse to the point where Arsene Wenger took him out of the firing line completely and has actually been playing people out of position at right-back rather than put the Corporal back in the side. That nearly came back to haunt us at Preston with Ainsley Maitland-Niles far further out of his depth than Jenkinson ever was. Gabriel has done okay there but we are one centre-back injury away from having Maitland-Niles (or possibly Holding) being asked to play there instead. 
Carl Jenkinson is never going to be a top class full-back but he is a more than adequate squad man. He was also good enough to get an England cap not that long ago. To see him cast out because the "fans" got in his back makes me a little sick. It will be a real shame to see Carl Jenkinson having to play in a shirt that isn't Arsenal's from now on as all he ever wanted was to be a part of his club. He lived the dream we all wanted as supporters of Arsenal. I wish him all the best and commend him totally for always giving us everything he had. In these modern times where we see greed ruling football ambition it should be a breath of fresh air to see a young lad achieving his goals like Carl Jenkinson has. Unlike many of the players Jenkinson "got it" where Arsenal are concerned because, quite simply, he is one of us.

Outstanding form from Giroud


On the pitch we've got back to winning ways since I last wrote on Christmas Eve. The performances have ranged from pitiful to brilliant all in the space of the same ninety minutes. The game at Bournemouth was absolutely ridiculous and I really don't understand why it took 70 minutes for Arsenal to start playing at 3-0 down. As it turned out we might have won  the game had we gone at them for the couple of minutes after Giroud's equaliser. To follow it up at Preston with a first-half that was perhaps even worse just a few days later was inexplicable and inexcusable. As at Bournemouth it was mostly the combination play of Giroud and Lucas Perez that earned us the result late on. I don't see why Lucas isn't getting a decent run in the team. The lad has scored goals and created goals when given his opportunity and seems to know where and when to run whenever the ball is played to Giroud. By the same token his presence in the near vicinity makes Giroud's job of winning the ball that much easier as Lucas takes one of his markers away. It may be a good "plan B" but how about making it "plan A" a little bit more often?
Giroud has been in wonderful form since his return. His goals this season have been crucial on a number of occasions - his personal contributions have directly resulted in points won for Arsenal and maybe he's finally getting some well deserved credit. As he closes in on 100 goals for Arsenal a look at his record stands up to scrutiny. For a player who is not much loved, and seen as being just below the top level of centre-forward, his goals-to-games ratio is impressive. There is also a lot more to his game as he has the ability to bring others in to the match with impressive hold-up play. He has become a much stronger, better player in his years at Arsenal and I was really pleased he signed a contract extension last week (as I was about Koscielny, who will just about end his career at Arsenal now, and Coquelin who I believe should be Captain of Arsenal). Of course Giroud's goal at home to Crystal Palace has taken all the headlines, though I don't trust the BBC to make it goal of the month, never mind of the season. However, my favourite goals he has scored this season have all been headers. He thumped one in at Old Trafford by attacking the cross, but even better were his goals against West Brom and Bournemouth over Christmas. He used his physical abilities to hold off defenders for each of them as well as directing his header beyond the goalkeeper. The goal against West Brom was especially outstanding in that regard and shows just how much Giroud has come on as a player in recent times. Long may it continue as he will be crucial from here until the end of the season.


Saturday, 24 December 2016

Christmas wishes

Will he deliver what Arsenal want and need?


So here we are again, my annual Christmas Eve post - something I really don't want to miss out on writing. Thankfully I'm not working again until  31st December so I have a few minutes in which to get this down before handing my computer back to the kids to track Father Christmas on Norad. 
Given that there have been close to only half as many posts in the last 12 months there have been 67,000 (1.129 million since I started it) hits on the site in 2016 - that's significantly up, on average, compared to the last couple of years. Maybe the fewer postings has led to more people wanting to read something on a site they don't see too much of. Whatever the reason I am, as ever, delighted to see that anyone takes the time to read the nonsense I write. I've put out a couple of posts during the year in which I've explained the reasons for a decreased output and things will not change in 2017. The site is also part of the Highbury Library though posts getting on to the feed there are a bit hit and miss at the moment - I need to sort that if I can though I'm not remotely IT savvy.
Looking back at this time last year we were flying high in the table having just beaten Manchester City. This year we are probably feeling as though we're looking in the opposite direction having just lost to them. The fact is that it's not been a vintage year for Arsenal. We've had no trophy, obviously, but also the performances have been of a poor standard more often than not. The second half of last season was a car wreck for five months, lifted briefly by the win against Leicester and the last day capitulation of Spurs to make us runners-up in the Premier League once more. We then endured another typical summer transfer window, only to end up spending £70m+ but actually not making a star signing. Mustafi has played most out of the new signings but I'm still not convinced by him, while Xhaka is not the player we might have hoped and Lucas Perez hasn't been given his opportunity.
If I was picking my favourite moment from the year it has to be Danny Welbeck getting the winner against Leicester. The nature of the goal, coming in injury-time, sent the whole stadium in to pandemonium. Goals like that are the kind of things we live for as a football supporter. The noise, the people going mad, bodies flying everywhere, just amazing. At that point nobody cares about anything for a few seconds as football has lifted you to a different level of happiness. The lowest point was a week later at Old Trafford when Wenger and his players threw away the chance they'd given themselves by turning in the sort of performance that has become far too familiar in recent times.
My player of 2016 isn't easy to choose. The obvious person would be, I'm sure, Alexis but his form after Christmas last season was not good at all. So actually my player of 2016 for Arsenal is Laurent Koscielny. Given our lack of defensive nous that might seem a strange choice but, for me, without Koscielny we'd have been knackered well and truly. He has gone from strength to strength really and he is one of our most important players. If he was in a defence that was actually organised to play properly he would be considered as one of the finest central defenders in the game today.
All that remains now is for me to wish you all a very Happy Christmas. I hope Father Christmas delivers all that you want tonight and, for Arsenal, that things can change sufficiently both on and off the pitch for us to be where we should be with the players at our disposal. Have a great time.


Happy Christmas

Monday, 19 December 2016

Knowing our luck Ozil will sign a contract

I wouldn't blame him if he just kept walking


Top of the league to nine points adrift in eight days. Only Arsenal could do that. And they did. Two defeats, both having taken an early lead and been in a position to go on and put the game away. There was no spirit, no fight, no bottle, no desire - all with the notable exceptions of (for me) Alexis, Coquelin and Gabriel. There was one point in the second half yesterday where Alexis ran from one defender, to another, to another in order to close down high up the pitch. When the ball got shifted on to a fourth defender Ozil was stood no more than fifteen yards away, and there he stayed. Sanchez threw his arms up in frustration and disgust. Ozil then had the temerity to start waving his arms at everyone else behind him. 
I don't care how good Mesut Ozil is at football. He is lazy, cowardly, disinterested, frightened and refusing of responsibility. He makes Arshavin look like someone who gave 100% every week. I hope now more people are coming round to seeing the problem with Ozil as they have with Arsene Wenger. It is easy to realise, with the benefit of a few years hindsight, why Real Madrid didn't mind seeing the back of him. He currently has his agent getting Arsenal to bid for him to sign a new contract. I don't want to see him sign a new contract. I want to see him shown the door for as much money as we can rob from Paris St Germain (no German side would touch him) and get him out of the door as soon as possible. Maybe PSG might take him and Wenger as a job-lot.
Alexis was pictured towards the end yesterday crouching and looking beaten down. I don't think you needed to be a master of body-language to see what he felt. I don't know how any professional footballer possessing of just a little personal pride could watch that guy work his backside off all alone yesterday, yet not feel they should be doing the same. It was only when Coquelin would step forward doing likewise that he got any support. Walcott, Iwobi, Xhaka, Bellerin, Monreal, Ozil - where were they? If you were Alexis Sanchez and Real Madrid or Bayern Munich (or Manchester City or Chelsea) came in for you offering the big bucks, would you stay at Arsenal? He isn't a fan, he has no reason to be "loyal" when he sees his mates failing to back up his efforts against a team we are supposed to be rivalling for the Title this season. I wouldn't blame him at all if he left Arsenal.
Our players reaction to the Manchester City equaliser summed up their lack of passion. The goal was offside, simple as that. If Monreal was offside (which he was) for Iwobi's disallowed goal just before half-time then so was Sane for City's first. Yet there was no reaction from the Arsenal players. There was no proper offside appeal. And then when the goal was given there was not one outraged reaction towards the officials. Adams, Keown, Bould, Dixon and Winterburn would have first of all got the decision anyway because the linesman would have known from their arms being up that the guy was offside - make the decision for him as he clearly isn't capable of making it himself. And if by some unfortunate miracle he hadn't put his flag up then their reaction towards him and the referee would have made damn sure he put it up every time the opposition went forward from then on - not least for the second goal where the linesman could have no idea whether De Bruyne was in Cech's eyeline or not. And there's another thing, what was Monreal doing there? My eldest son is 11 and I hammer him for letting people in like that and not making a challenge, yet Monreal is an international full-back, apparently showing a dangerous striker on to the inside in the penalty area! Then Cech was beaten at his near-post having spent the whole game seemingly kicking for touch like a rugby fly-half.
At 1-1 Wenger and Bould just sat there. City were coming forward totally unchecked, just like Man Utd did until they scored at Old Trafford against us. It was as clear as day to anyone watching the game that change was needed. Giroud had to come on for Ozil to give us an outlet up front. Fine, change Iwobi for Oxlade-Chamberlain, but maybe Ox would have been better in place of Xhaka (albeit he went off injured just like at Sheffield Wednesday last year within minutes of coming on - if he didn't warm up properly again then he should also be heading towards the exit door). Then, when Ox went off at 2-1 down, with Lucas Perez on the bench, Wenger brought on the latter day Ray Wilkins in the shape of Elneny. Tactical genius to bring on a defensive midfielder when you're losing. And still we played with just one up front. Still, with Ozil playing the invisible man role we didn't exactly have 11 on the pitch anyway.
I suppose it sounds like I'm picking on Ozil and blaming him for yesterday. I'm not. I totally blame Wenger for it all. However, I expect a "star" player with the ability he has to take this kind of game and win it for us. Bergkamp, Henry, Pires, even Overmars or Vieira used to do just that. Even if Bergkamp was having a bad game you didn't really feel that he was hiding, and he certainly never came across as being scared on a football pitch. Ozil needs the Keown treatment in training that Henry got when he first arrived in order to toughen him up. It's too late for that now. It's also too late for our league season which has come to an abrupt end before we even reach Christmas. 
We shouldn't be that surprised by what has happened at Everton and Man City. First of all it's been happening to Wenger's bottlers for the last ten years. I hated it when the likes of Shearer and Neville banged on about our lack of "leaders" and how we were "flat track bullies". I hate it even more that they are right. Even the unbeaten run this season was pock-marked with awful results like the 0-0 at home to Middlesbrough in a game we should have lost, or lucky last minute goals to beat Burnley and Southampton. Like I say, why should anyone be surprised? With maybe four or five exceptions Arsenal's performances this season have been woeful. It's going to be this way for a long time to come. Even when Wenger finally goes it will take a new manager (and the next one won't get long enough to make the difference) years to clear out the awful mentality that pervades our pampered superstars. If only they all had grown up in a village in Chile where they had nothing - then maybe they'd understand why Alexis Sanchez and his effort is so well appreciated by the supporters. And yet there are still idiots out there singing about Mesut Ozil instead.