One Thought: Liverpool 4-0 Arsenal

I don't know if there's any better way to sum up...whatever THAT was...then this screengrab of the fourth goal right here.

There are six Arsenal players allegedly defending here, none of whom are doing anything useful against the three attacking players. Two completely unmarked men on the back post, and the cross was allowed to come in virtually uncontested. This is plumbing new depths of incompetence and sub-professionalism.


This is only just the one thought because, as it turns out, I didn't see a solitary minute of this shitshow. Small blessings, and all that. As it turns out, I was spending my time taking a massive step forward in my side career as a referee by taking charge of a preseason friendly in the Cosmopolitan League here in NYC. Awwww, baby's first 11-a-side full-field match. 

I got a little nervous and put the yellow card indicator on the wrong side, but other than that, I did pretty well! 

1. All of that said, as mentioned, I didn't see anything other than the clip of the 4th goal that I pulled the first picture from. I've gotten the general idea though from news reports and the rivers of bile that can be found on Twitter, from fellow Gooner friends, and a forum that I post at. Well, of course, all of that and the other one or two of these we seem to have every season, especially in the early going. This may not be quite the same species as the 8-2, but it damn sure is in the same genus. 

It's looking like it will be a running theme on here for the rest of this season the next two years, but if you're looking for anger and vitriol, you've come to the wrong place. I have completely given myself over to resignation. There's a school of thought where I'm even kind of happy that it's all happening this early - three games is a remarkably efficient amount of time to drown hope and expectation in the bathtub. Don't get it twisted - I'm still going to cheer on my side, I'll still be at the pub most weeks, I'll still do everything I can to keep these write-ups going, win or lose.

I just refuse to let a dysfunctional, incompetently run football club dictate the entire happiness of my life.

I'll never count myself among the number of those who think it's on to hire planes to fly banners, who drop c-bombs towards the manager, that sort of thing. As it turns out, I'm in possession of the normal number of chromosomes. But, there were many of us who were saying years and years ago (respectfully) that change was needed at the top at this football club. Hell, I wrote "Time to Go" on November 23, 2010.  I wrote "Root Causes - A Time to Go Repisal" on February 21, 2012. That was followed by "The Elephant in the Room" towards the end of that season, on July 5, 2012.  At the forum I post at, there's a thread called "Arsene Must Change or Go" - it has accumulated 25,654 posts dating back to April 7, 2007.

There's nothing new under the sun in Arsenal Land, folks.

Perhaps back in 2007, the sentiment was a little short-termist. Arguably in 2010, I was being a tad bit hysterical. I'd say in 2012, I was starting to have a point. That was five years ago.

I go through all of that to make the point that having a go at Player A or Player B or whoever misses the point. Just like many different people have been The Phantom of the Opera and Christine at one point or another, we've had a vast cast of characters performing the same play year in, year out. So, when Aaron Ramsey or Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is dawdling back after being caught upfield, when Nacho Monreal or Andre Santos or Gael Clichy lets a cross in uncontested, when the real problem is apparently Granit Xhaka or Denilson or Nicklas Bendtner or Emmanuel Eboue or Gilles some point, what's the one common denominator here?

The people that go after the players the hardest are, I suspect, those who have never played a sport competitively in their lives. Here's the thing, folks. Players are not hard people to figure out. Money is a consideration, of course it is, and moreso than it may have been in days of yore. But, most of these guys got to where they are because they're winners who have a strong desire to win things...or, at least, be on a team that will have a proper go of it. I'm not talking about the journeymen who are just happy to have a Premier League job at West Brom or Crystal Palace or whatever dreck crawled its way out of the Championship. I mean the kinds of players we expect to see at a club like Arsenal.

Players like that will always down tools mentally when they're in a situation where they know that nothing they do will make a difference to whether they can win or not. That's not just human nature, that's simply nature. Shake an ant farm enough times to destroy their tunnels and eventually the ants will die from frustration. Some things are universal. And honestly, spare me the whole thing about they're zillionaires - that may be true, but people are people no matter how much is in their wallet.

Our club is rotten down to the core, and it isn't going to change anytime soon. It's been talked to death about how Arsenal is an accountability-free cult of personality for one man, so there's little point in going over it again. I mean, even the pundits and journos are starting to figure it out, though I decline to hold my breath waiting for the retractions to all those finger-wagging "you ungrateful wretches don't know how good you have it" pieces. The same mistakes and the same mental instability that Gary Neville and Graeme Souness rage about on the telly are the same ones our guys made in 2015, and 2012, and 2010, and 2008, fuck, even in 2000 or 1998. Nothing is new under the sun in Arsenal Land.

Blaming the owner also misses the point, in my estimation. Stan Kroenke may be an evil over-rich chucklefuck with a 1970s shag rug on his head and a terrible porn-star mustache from the same decade, but can we stop acting like the $3 million he took out of the club once or twice was the only thing stopping us from buying players? Can we really stop acting like he's the devious Moriarty mastermind controlling Arsene from the outside? Folks, the man is an absentee landlord. He probably thinks "Bergkamp" is a shipping company in Rotterdam. Again, we are a one-man cult of personality, and it's not the guy who's rich because he married into the Wal-Mart fortune. Get a grip.

Whatever arguments there were for sticking behind this guy have utterly evaporated. Even at his best, he was always one who found talented players and then let them do their thing. That was fine back when 95% of the league thought it was exotic when you brought in a player from Ireland or Wales. It's not hard to work out that playing a bit of football can work against the stout yeomen kicking a pig's bladder between two distant hamlets. 

But, the half-life of that strategy has gotten shorter over the years. Some of it was financing our stadium, some of it was the oligarchs, some of it is everybody else copycatting the stuff about diet and fitness and perhaps signing a player or two from further away than you can throw a rock. We've been sussed out, folks, and we were a long time ago.

Now, everyone else has caught up and most have surpassed us, and what's left is a collection of exceptionally-talented individuals who are arguably the easiest team to play against in all of world football. There is never a Plan B. There is never a neutralization of what the opponent does well. We're a football team on rails. There remains enough individual talent where the floor isn't quite where the Chicken Littles think it is - it's virtually impossible to see us falling further than 7th or 8th. But, for a club of our resources, that's a virtuoso performance of failure. It's like starting a game of Risk with one player already owning four continents but they still somehow lose. 

Despite what I just said above, I don't even know how much of the talent is still going to be here by the time the window closes. There's always been a baseline competence buried somewhere under there, but now we're sending Mustafi out on loan apparently (answers on a postcard about that one, huh, because I've got absolutely nothing), and that may be the tip of the iceberg as far as a mass exodus goes. As I write this, Oxlade-Chamberlain has had a fee agreed with Chelsea (Bye, Felicia...all this is is a domestic remake of selling Hleb to Barcelona...good riddance to overrated rubbish) and Alexis has handed in a transfer request.

We'll see if there's still enough talent to see off the West Broms of the world on that and that alone come September 2nd. 

This was always going to be the end result of this story, though. The man had TWO chances to leave on a high note with the FA Cup, and his stubbornness and vanity wouldn't let him do it. The second that contract was signed, this was always the final destination. Be it thanks to Arsene's imperfections as a human, the spinelessness and incompetence of our board, our absentee landlord, the press covering for him for far far far longer than would seem possible in a world where Frank De Boer might get fired at Palace after THREE FUCKING GAMES, and all the other outside factors I mentioned above, we cannot escape this fate.

So, I won't let them ruin my life. Sod it. I'll enjoy the good moments, because they'll be unexpected. I'll let the rest roll off my back because, at this point, no one at the club has done a single solitary thing to deserve any of my angst. I put a higher price on it than that.

Until the end of the interlull, friends.