Take it seriously we did. The team that was put out was close to the full first team and definitely one that had enough quality to beat a League Two side. With the greatest respect to Bradford, they played very well to earn the win but that’s also in part because we didn’t turn up. How many times have that happened in recent seasons? We’ve gone a few more steps behind that it is going beyond frustration and moving into the territory of anger.
Whether it is the change in priority for Arsene Wenger as how he viewed the competition or the insistence of the players to take up the responsibility and wants to play, with the team that was put out yesterday, any excuse given would be very unacceptable. When we cannot even beat a team that’s more than 60 places below us, then the players does not have the right to wear the red and white shirt. It’s all good saying that they want to play more and don’t want tiredness to be used as an excuse but when given a chance, they look liked they couldn’t be bothered playing against such a small side.
It doesn’t help when the manager insisted on playing the worst player in the squad in the central striking role. It doesn’t help when the 100 plus cap German international offered so little in the time that he was on the pitch. Francis Coquelin was by far our best player on the pitch last night, working his socks off defending and providing the runs forward when the rest of the team was just waiting for something to happen. Then he was taken off after putting in a shift. Imagine how he feels seeing his number called up when the other didn’t give a shit. If and when he leaves, can you blame him?
Aaron Ramsey had another disappointing game and so did Santi Cazorla. The former tried and tried but at the moment, is stuck in a rut. The latter, despite his genius on the ball, kept turning and running into walls of players. Thomas Vermaelen, the captain, was in a giving mood. Despite the best efforts of the referee to warn him that he will give fouls against us, Vermaelen still insisted on overdoing the tackling and conceded an absurd amount of fouls. One of them lead to the goal we conceded and that has poor marking/positioning written all over it.
Going behind and needing to chase the game, we put on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who like Ramsey, seems to be stuck in a rut. His spat with another substitute Marouane Chamakh, over how a pass should be made, further highlighted the discourse the team faced last night. The Moroccan did himself no favours by missing a spot kick in the penalty shootout. Not played much for months, it was harsh on us to call upon him to save us. Jack Wilshere also had a half to forget before trying to get us back in the game on his own. Too little too late and probably too much. One singular effort could not inspire the rest of the team.
So there it was, our best chance of winning a trophy this season, has been lost. Not because we did not prioritise it. The team sheet showed at least that. Even what was reportedly a massive half time rant by Wenger, could not raise spirits. If the players could not react to the manager’s words, then something is terribly wrong. Has the manager lost the dressing room? From what happened, it surely looks that way. There’s still more than half a month to go before he could do anything about the squad. But this half a month is also crucial as to the direction of the club. If managerial changes is to be made, then someone needs to be notified and prep ready to take over in January, because he has to be given the power to change the personnel.
This match has hit rock-bottom with me. I’m tired and sick of the same excuses every single time. Wenger said we had perfect control of the game but just could not convert our chances. Maybe, just maybe Arsene, that’s cause the players we have aren’t good enough to do that. Something drastic has to be done, whether it means removal of the manager or that we break the bank to get in high quality replacements in the playing staff. It sickens me to think and say these things. Maybe the traitor was right after all, I’m not liking where we are heading as well.
This hole that we’ve fell into, is very very deep.