If comedy is tragedy plus time then one day all of this will be funny. There are moments of humor even now. I was listening to the official Arsenal podcast and they titled one show “Cech’s Keeping Masterclass”. Petr Cech has basically chucked the ball into his own net 6 times this season, more than any other player, and we are witnessing the devolution of this once great player with each passing match. That part’s not funny, but the official site putting out a podcast with that title (to celebrate his 300th career clean sheet) is darkly funny. Like Chemical Ali saying “there are no bombs dropping on Baghdad” while bombs are dropping on Baghdad.
The thing that bothers me is the indifference that’s setting in. The opposite of love is not hate it’s indifference as we have been told by Elie Wiesel. I don’t hate or love this Arsenal team, I watch them instead with a sort of vague indifference. In the past when we lost matches I would be ruined for a few days after. Now, it’s just expected.
Lackluster performances and mental errors: disorganization at the back and silly goals. And the expectation is that players who consistently make those errors will continue playing week in and week out. Mustafi can’t be dropped because it will harm his resell value – though playing him is also hurting his resell value. Cech can’t be dropped because Ospina. Wilshere won’t be dropped because Arsene is trying to convince him to stay at Arsenal. On and on through the team. And the one man who should be dropped, Arsene Wenger, isn’t going to drop himself because he somehow believes that this is all just a mystery – a real stumper as to why his team are performing like this.
The only thing that worries me is the future.
Kroenke Jr. is setting up to take over the club this summer and that means big changes are coming. If Wenger wins the Europa League, they will give him an extension. If not, he will be fired. Liverpool once fired Kenny Dalglish for a mid-table finish and Kenny Dalglish is a hero in Liverpool. Kroenke Jr. is not afraid to make big changes and I think his boardroom shuffle at the very least will strip Wenger of most of his non-coaching duties. Again, if and only if Arsenal win the Europa League.
As for the remaining League matches, the League position literally doesn’t matter. Maybe Burnley will finish above Arsenal. In the past, I wrote huge articles filled with fear that “Everton might catch us” or “we are closer to Aston Villa than Man U”. But that duck was broken last year, when Arsene finished below Spurs for the first time. Now, we are 100% out of the race for 4th for the first time in Wenger’s career and as supporters we are faced with the unenviable “players have one foot in Ibiza” end of season run-in. Five more games of this. West Ham, Man U, Burnley, Leicester, and Huddersfield. Three away matches too, folks.
This is what Arsenal have become. A club where a loss to bottom-of-the-table-upon-Tyne is greeted with “I saw that coming” more than “WTF???”