This week has, even by Arsenal’s standards, been one of high comedy.
Obviously, how funny you find it all depends on your sense of humour. As the Daily Cannon grande enchillada seems to think I’m a bit depressed about it all, I thought I might try and prove him wrong.
Observation #1: Ian Wright essentially making like the infamous fan at Stoke and imploring Calum Chambers to get out whilst he can for the good of his career. In the interests of fairness, taking Arsène’s treatment of Joel Campbell over the last year as a reference point, that fan probably had a point.
Observation #2: The very same Joel Campbell, a player admired and trusted by many, particularly when set against the consistent only in his inconsistency Oxlade-Chamberlain and feckless Theo Walcott (‘Theckless’? Can we call him that?), has been packed off to Portugal. Whilst it would be a stretch to say Campbell had a breakthrough season last time out, it would be less of a stretch to say that Arsenal fans were looking forward to seeing more of him this season.
Alas, it’s not to be. I feel fairly sure that, a year ago, we’d all have just shrugged our shoulders and moved on with life. This year, this decision is seen as just one more nail in the coffin of Arsène Wenger’s credibility.
That said, however, if this is a move designed to reintegrate Serge Gnabry into the first team reckoning, then I’m all for it. I think Gnabry is a player of enormous potential.
Anyway, Observation #3: Arsène Wenger flailing at all around him in the aftermath of our 0-0 draw at Leicester City. During his post match media duties, Le Boss showed that whilst he may no longer be the king of the Premier League jungle, he could still land a punch or two if he felt the need.
Wenger: "No-one speaks about Holding's performance today. You should be happy because he's English. Maybe it's because he didn't cost £55m."
— afcstuff (@afcstuff) August 20, 2016
The media’s ‘football will eventually eat itself’ obsession with the transfer market? Skewered.
Manchester City’s propensity to pay massive fees to attract talent? Skewered.
The thing is, though, if Manchester City go on to win the league title, Manchester City will consider that money well spent. Particularly as they can afford to pay it.
I don’t think Arsenal can afford to pay that sort of money for a centre back, but then again, I’m not necessarily asking them to. All I want is for Arsenal to address the obvious needs within the first team squad. If it turns out that Rob Holding can sustain his form throughout this season and beyond, becoming an amazingly cheap replacement for Per Metesacker, then I will happily say ‘Bravo, Arsène!’.
However, relying on a 21-year-old centre back to negotiate the first two months of the Premier League season feels ever so slightly optimistic. Or, as most seasoned Arsenal watchers would have it, here’s a straightjacket, there’s your padded cell, now come take your Thorazine, you’ve clearly gone totally nuts.
And then there is what now feels like the doomed search for the centre forward we all know we need. There’s a week left of the transfer window and things seem to be getting so desperate, I was casting almost envious glances in the direction of Selhurt Park as Christian Benteke was ‘unveiled’. Yes, I know. Here’s a straightjacket etc… I did say “almost”.
As an aside, wouldn’t it be brilliant if new signings were actually properly unveiled?
Imagine Arsenal dragging a new signing into the media centre, hood on head, in front of the world’s media- okay, Islington Gazette, and removing the hood to reveal- ohmigod, it’s Marouane Chamakh! Again!
Hmmm, on second thoughts. Anyway, where was I?
Observation #4: Next weekend’s Arsenal Legends match takes place two days after the transfer window closes. What magnificent timing. Remember the days when we had a manager who managed Pires, Bergkamp and Henry? Oh, you do? How nice for you. Come and enjoy these giants of the game for 90 minutes, before we whisk them away from you again and you can go back to watching Olivier Giroud ambling after a Mesut Özil through ball.
Can you imagine if next weekend saw a Premier League fixture being played rather than this Legends match? Oooh, the anger. As it is, I think the crowd will be too full of nostalgia and kids that missed the legends the first time round for any real anger to be manifested.
Assuming of course, that we don’t sign anyone. Perhaps this is the moment Jermain Defoe’s been waiting for all his life.
Aaron Ramsey’s haircut.
Silver Lining pic.twitter.com/6heolZvV4G
— Aaron Ramsey (@aaronramsey) August 22, 2016
Oh my God. If this was Aaron taking one for the team, literally, and trying to deflect attention from Arsenal’s characteristically shabby start to the season, then I applaud the effort. I’m not someone to get overly exercised about what a footballer chooses to do with their time and their money, but I can’t get get my head around someone going into a barbers and saying to them, ‘Make me look like that!” Why would you do it? For a bet?
I don’t know, perhaps Aaron’s only just got around to watching Silver Linings Playbook and this is his, ever so slightly obscure, tribute to Brad n’ J-Law. Or maybe the boy just has too much money and time on his hands. It’s times like these that I do feel sorry for Arsène Wenger. What must he think when a player turns up for training looking like that?
And, yes, I realise Ramsey is currently injured. That’s no excuse.
Anyway, allowing for the fact that the manager almost certainly has bigger problems on his hands than Aaron’s barnet, I think I’ll leave this here.
One week to go, Arsène. Where is your rabbit?