Arsenal are where they are right now, and we all are painfully aware of exactly where they are. Even before yesterday, this team was, as I described it this morning, a spent force. They’re a talented group of individuals, who seemingly have no idea how to form their talents into a cohesive whole that can and should be challenging for titles. There are myriad reasons they are in this position, most of which have been written about in many ways and over many years (sigh) right here at The Short Fuse Dot Com.
And that, friends, is a problem.
This season is not ending well, and it’s not like there’s even a lot of encouragement to take for next weekend from a hard fought loss to a local rival over the past weekend. Arsenal are a mess, and there’s no clear way out of that mess. Thing is, Arsenal’s mess is the same mess it’s been for years, and no matter how many words we dump out on a daily or weekly basis, the parameters of the problem aren’t changing, the solutions to that problem probably won’t change, and at some point, we’ll be opening up our CMS in the morning, seeing a blank screen, and saying “yep, that about sums it up”.
I guess what I’m saying here is that we don’t have answers. We don’t even know what questions to ask any more, because they’ve all been asked and, largely, ignored by those in control of the team and talked to death by those of us who are not. And while I love having that debate, it’s also getting a bit repetitive, because nothing, at the team level, is changing.
There’s only so many times we can tease apart what the problems are. There’s only so many ways we can write interestingly and creatively about what we’d do about them. There’s only so many articles we can write about “Player X would really help Arsenal next year”. The fatalism we’re all feeling from the creeping inevitability of another two years of Arsene Wenger leading a sclerotic, unchanging Arsenal down the exact same path as the last few has basically pressed down on us to the point where we are struggling to think of interesting, creative things to write about that we haven’t already written a ton about. We’ve got no source material.
What am I saying with all this? I don’t know, really. I’ll keep writing, the staff will keep writing, because it’s what we do and it’s what we love to do. But I think in the short term at least, we probably won’t be doing any Big Think Pieces About What Is Wrong; we’ve been there, we’ve done that, and we have no fresh angles on any of it right now.
We’re firmly in the middle of a time and space that’s largely unknown and extremely uncomfortable to roughly 95% of all Arsenal fans. Because the vast majority of fans don’t recall a time when Tottenham were above us in the table, and because the vast majority of fans don’t recall a time when we weren’t in the Champions League, the emotions are raw, real, and polarizing. It’s all a mess, a mess that will take time to fully understand and to get out from underneath.
I haven’t a clue where to go from here. Many of us don’t know where to turn, either. All I can do - all we can do - is scrub the bloody floor of this dead Arsenal season, knowing you want us to tell you something pretty, and trying to keep doing so as much as we can.