It seems fitting that on the day I spoke to the Mugsmasher for the podcast, I smashed my own *boilk* mug. It was the last one I had from the merchandise we did a few years ago, and it was my favourite mug. Is this an omen of what’s to come this weekend, or am I just a clumsy git?
I think the truth lies somewhere inbetween. Or both things are true. Most likely the latter.
Anyway, the manager’s pre-Liverpool press conference took place yesterday and as is going to be the case every time he faces the press from now on, there were questions about his future. Once again he said that no decision had been made yet, but made it quite clear what he would like to happen, saying:
My preference has always been the same and will remain the same. I’m not looking for jobs in other clubs or for the jobs of other people. I have been here for 20 years and I had many times the opportunity to leave so I don’t think I have to convince you that my preference has always been Arsenal.
Which should come as no surprise to anyone. He did, however, also acknowledge that he knows how touchy the current climate is, saying:
Of course I am objective and lucid enough to make the right decision for myself and the club as well. The club is free to make the decision it wants and I will respect that.
Essentially, if we do well enough between now and May, finish high enough in the league and perhaps win the FA Cup, he’ll feel as he’s achieved enough to stay. If we fall short of that, or if we drop out of the top four, then I think he’s savvy enough to know that his future as a manager will probably lie elsewhere.
It does very little to dampen the air of uncertainty that I wrote about the other day, and basically every game we play is going to be under the microscope between now and the end of the season. Win and that will be acceptable, expected even, but every loss or result that is considered below par is going to create an absolute firestorm of reaction. You do wonder how on earth this kind of situation is a) healthy and b) sustainable.
It’s at the point where there’s just nothing new to say about it. There are no hot-takes from left-field that make us all go ‘Oooh, I never thought of that’. It’s as difficult and precarious a climate as I can remember at the club for a long, long time. The only thing that will really calm things down is winning games, so at least that’s somewhat in the hands of the manager and the squad.
The players say they’re 100% behind the manager, and I’m sure they are, but it’s now down to them to show it on the pitch. Wenger gets plenty of stick because he’s the boss and the buck stops with him, but players who we know can do better really ought to take some responsibility too – starting with tomorrow night at Anfield.
Anyway, it is what it is. Wenger compares the life of a manager to that of a priest, and says that he’s a ‘specialist in masochism’. Ordinarily, that would be a pretty funny quip, but right now it feels as if there’s a sad, searing truth in those words. Let’s see what he and his team can produce against the Mugsmashers.
For some extra reading this morning, Tim Stillman looks at Laurent Koscielny, and how in the chaotic world of the Arsenal centre-half, he has risen to become one of the best defenders in Europe.
Time now for this week’s Arsecast, and to discuss the shake-up at youth level and the departure of Andries Jonker, Im joined by Jack Pitt-Brooke from the Independent. We chat about the Dutchman’s time at the club, as well as talking about Arsene Wenger and his future in the wake of his press conference comments. We also have a chat about the Liverpool game at the weekend, before I’m joined by the Mugsmasher for more in-depth waffle about that particular game – which he predicts will be high scoring.
There’s also a chance for you to a win PS4 version of Kick Off Revival, the classic football game, revived and available now for Playsation (featuring Arseblog and our podcast chums Retro Asylum on the advertising hoardings), as well as all the usual waffle.
You can subscribe to the Arsecast on iTunes by clicking here. Or if you want to subscribe directly to the feed URL you can do so too (this is a much better way to do it as you don’t experience the delays from iTunes). To download the Arsecast directly, use the links below the player.
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Right, that’s that for this morning, the Gent will be here later with his weekly review. We’ll have all the news throughout the day on Arseblog News, and if you want some extra reading, check out this post which details the Arseblog e-books available for just £1.99. I know lots of you have them already, but if not, it’s a chance at a bargain.
Plus we’ve made Zlatan the meat in our literary sandwich, or something. Have a good one.