By Tony Attwood
Obviously, we all want Arsenal to improve. Probably the only time no one talked about improvement was after the Unbeaten Season. But the rest of the time we want each season to be better.
And the media tells us day after day that this can only be gained by having a) new players (52 have been tipped so far) and b) a new manager. This is usually backed up by occasional figures – which are often false, as we have shown on this site from time to time.
Indeed As I write this the biggest stories circulating according to NewsNow are
- ‘I’m in discussions’: Arsenal star confirms transfer talks, just five weeks after Arteta called him ‘terrific’
- ‘Got swarmed’, ‘too wasteful’: Arsenal duo fail to impress on loan in country’s biggest game of the season last night
So it goes, on and on. Arsenal are not very good, and even our loanees are not very good. And the solution is either (or both) to change the team and change the manager. No one considers how much progress Arsenal has actually made since last season. So once again it’s down to us.
In the table below we show the position of Arsenal in recent years after 31 games. In the final column we show the number of points we are behind fourth place, and in the two seasons we were above fourth place how many points by (shown as +)
At this stage of the season we have only twice in the past seven seasons been at fourth or above, in 2018/19 and in 2015/16. And this period has been one of managerial change – three different permanent managers have been at Arsenal between 2015/16 and 2021/22. And yet this regular change of management has not brought about the desired finish.
Indeed correspondents have often written in and said that doing same thing which fails, over and over again, is a sure sign of madness. But that is what many correspondents suggest: change the manager, change the team, even though that keeps failing.
Of course we might still get fourth this season, but recent results have knocked us back, and at the moment one would have to say the odds are against.
So we’ve had this period of regular change (three permanent managers in seven seasons) and failed to get what is now seen as the target (fourth) more than twice, and the call from “supporters” is to continue with the failing policy of changing managers AND DO IT AGAIN.
Yet there are obvious reasons for not changing managers again: the manager brought in a young set of players last summer, all in defence, and while I have never quite understood why this happened given the success of the last two-thirds of last season, it has been done.
Next season the defence will come back in settled, older and more experience, and I would expect them to get the club back to the defensive qualities of the last two-thirds of last season when we had the second-best defence in the league.
Changing the manager now would undoubtedly mean that the new man would rip up that defence. And even more dangerously I doubt that he would fully appreciate the size and nature of the vendetta against Arsenal defenders practiced by the PGMO.
For we must not forget that Arteta took Arsenal from being the club getting the most yellow cards down to the club with among the fewest cards by changing tactics – all in one season. The danger of a new manager is that he might well not understand just how vindictive PGMO men can be given half the chance.
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