It’s a case of Like, Yikes! as another spooky tour through the emotions concludes in a dilapidated mansion of despondency. Pick your own baddy dressed up as a pretend ghoul and you can write the ending yourself.
This blog has gone semi-fallow, a little like the team I love, but can you blame me? I’m fairly sure I mentioned, earlier this season, that I was determined not to be miserable, so to find the quote I searched for the word ‘miserable’ on the blog and found plenty of examples going back further than I would care to say (and then I gave up looking, as naturally it made me more miserable). It either tells you something about the infinite capacity this side has to keep on making the same errors, or it indicates my mental state. Or both, I suppose. One perhaps brought on by the other. (And I am not suggesting that Arsenal are making errors because I am miserable – though if it were true, at least we’d have something to work on).
Our latest footballing tic seems to involve only playing for half a match, which is almost more frustrating than not playing at all. Because just when you’re about to explode with rage and call for everyone’s severed heads on a dish, the team magically performs a miraculous volte face and starts pressing, passing, making runs, defending more vigorously, and generally doing what deep down you know it can do. And against Chelsea, we had them on the rack at the end. On the rack! Had we possessed someone we could bring off the bench who was more effective than Andrei Arshavin – that’s to say, someone with feet and legs – we may have snatched a draw. And yet in the first half we were barely a football team.
City at home, Swansea at home, Chelsea away – three decent halves, three poor ones, why do we do it to ourselves? And that’s only this week.
Ultimately, it might well be that Wenger no longer has the capacity to coax this side to be the one that he – and of course we – would dearly want it to be. It’s quite possible that a couple of new players wouldn’t make much difference, at this stage.
But I am parroting what everyone else has pointed out by saying that it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that a couple of judicious signings could make enough of a difference to patch the side up until May, to plug a few gaps, to give everyone a boost. Look how they played in the last two second halves and you will be reminded that amid the maddening periods of lifelessness, there is the kernel of something damned good.
Wenger’s getting it in the neck from all angles for his foggy utterings on strengthening – definitely going to buy someone one day, complete side in situ the next – and the evident lack of decisive swooping in the first 21 days of the window does not exactly augur well.
But until the window closes on the first of February, I want to believe that something really is cooking on that front. That a few new faces are being sought to bolster the troops. A striker, at least. Maybe a defensive midfielder. A recognition, beyond mere words, that something vaguely pre-emptive is being done to help the troops out.
There’s no point passing judgment until that time comes. That said, I do plan to be quite agitated between now and then.