Football fans are a notoriously fickle bunch and I make no exception for myself in that classification.
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Sometimes it’s easy to make your decision based on nothing more than the last result or two, it does, after all, take effort to incorporate information from a decade or more into any reasoning.
For the record, I love Arsene Wenger. Always have, always will even if he now frustrates me in a way I never thought possible. While I’ve said for most of the season that it’s time to go and have been thinking that for at least two seasons now, I always offered that opinion with the caveat – if he could change and compete again at the very top, I would be happy for him to stay until he shuffles off this mortal coil.
So holding that position, wanting to see Arsene turn things around as much for himself as the club and supporters, it makes it easy to get carried away somewhat when a string of results are put together and performances start to improve.
See! He can do it, some part of my brain screams at me, leaving me doubting my other senses that have watched this pattern play out for at least the last six or seven seasons.
Arsenal start the season well, then they have a blip that causes a crisis of confidence. Getting dumped out of the Champions League in the first knock out stage compounds the side’s fragility only for them to finally rally and save Champions League qualification at the death for next season so the same drama can be played out again.
It looks unlikely that Arsenal will be able to save top four this season but we’ve been here before also.
Just last season Arsenal needed Tottenham to bottle things in the most spectacular fashion on the final day to finish above them.
In 2014, Everton were within a point of Arsenal with a game in hand and only six to play after thrashing the Gunners 3-0. Arsenal won their final five, sealing a Champions League place.
Eight wins in their last 10 the seasons before overhauled a seven-point gap to Spurs.
There was the ‘negative spiral’ comment from Villas-Boas that inspired Arsenal to overhaul Spurs again and, how could we forget, lasagna gate that actually saw Tottenham call in the police to investigate sabotage only to discover that it was a virus that had afflicted the team, not Arsenal-generated food poisoning.
The problem is not really Arsenal pulling it together to scrape over the line, it’s the fact that they end up in a position to NEED to scrape over the line each season. The end is better than the middle which is bad compared to the start, and that’s how it goes. On and on and on.
There’s every chance that Arsenal could end up clinching a top four spot this season too. They only need Liverpool to drop points in one of their games while Arsenal win their remaining matches.
That’s doable, despite one of those games being Stoke away.
The great escape will be praised and the news of Arsene Wenger’s new two-year contract will be delivered, softened somewhat by a winning run and the relief at not having to travel to 17 million miles to the far side of Russia in the depths of winter.
But what happens next season? The definition of insanity is said to be doing the same thing over and over yet expecting different results. If the last 7 or more years have taught us anything, it’s that we know what we will get during the course of the season.
To change nothing and expect it to be different is quite clearly insane.