Sunday, August 9, 2009

One week until the season starts

Wearily on I go, pain and misery my only companions. And vast intelligence, of course. And infinite sorrow. I despise you all.

- Marvin the Paranoid (Arsenal supporting) Android

I admit I haven't paid much attention to the Arse since we sold Toure. After that happened, I kind of lost interest. It's really quite depressing. We've pocketed £44 million or so from the Man City deals, but those figures are meaningless if we don't spend the proceeds. And we're not going to spend the proceeds.

The season starts in a week. We're playing Everton away on the 15th. I'm thinking about that match with a mixture of trepidation and antipathy. I want us to play well. I want the Vermaelen-Gallas partnership to click. I want the 4-3-3 to work, and I want the Arsenal to emerge as a team that's stable at the back, clinical at the front, and hard-working and determined all-round.

But try as I might, I can't see it happening. As it stands, our midfield in a week's time will be Denilson, Song and Fabregas. It's the same combination that couldn't beat Man Utd in a Champions League semi-final. It's the same combination that couldn't beat Chelsea in a FA Cup semi-final. It's the same combination that limped over the line for 4th. The question is, have Denilson and Song improved to the point where we can win the games that matter?

I'd like to believe so, but once again, I can't see it happening. I can't see us improving enough to improve. All I can see from here is a year of tiny triumphs and muted failures, eventuating in hard-earned 4th at season's end. And while that would probably constitute a good season for the calibre of player we've got, it's not good enough for a Club with our resources.

I don't think I'm alone in thinking this way. Even the players realise something's wrong with Arsenal approach, if Theo Walcott's comments are to go by:

"The fans have been very patient this year – well, the last few years – of not bringing trophies back to the club. We need to reflect on that, learn from our mistakes from last year and bring something back for them because they are just as important as the players. We need to be a bit more cutting in the last third and be a bit more dirty. Instead of playing brilliant football, sometimes just get a result, grind one out. We'll be doing that this year."

But as I said, I'm at the point where I don't think I care anymore. All I can think about is that £44 million in the bank and Wenger still using the hyper-inflated transfer market as an excuse for not supplementing the side. Yeah, De Rossi would be costly at £30 million, but we can afford him. You don't need a Masters degree in economics to work that out.

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