So the inquest begins into Arsenal’s early Europa league exit at the hands of Olympiacos FC, a mediocre Greek team who can’t possibly win the competition. This failure isn’t Arteta’s, it’s the club’s, for their continuous low ambition, cheap skate manoeuvring over the past ten years and their inability to solve the most obvious deficits in the first team.
They only acted to patch up their brittle and accident prone defence when Laurent Koscielny downed tools, leaving them in the lurch. They acquired William Saliba and agreed for him to go on loan to Saint-Étienne even if there was a need for his talents much sooner.
Let’s go further back. After the shocking defeat in the Europa league final to Chelsea, Arsenal needed to address the various issues and weaknesses in the side but instead, they spent £75m on Nicolas Pepe. This is not a platform to criticise Pepe for his mixed fortunes since his transfer and I believe he will eventually come good, but shouldn’t Arsenal have been tightening at the back instead of looking further up the pitch.
On that point, they were aware that Ozil was on his final chapter with the club and yet they insisted on another shambolic loan deal for Dani Ceballos. The Spaniard is an excellent player but an injury has made the whole process appear rather pointless, but not pointless enough to prevent another two loans involving Pedro Marí and Cedric Soares.
Denis Suarez was drafted in injured, Kieran Tierney was bought injured only to re-injure himself and Cedric Soares was another crocked specimen who has taken up residence in the treatment room.
Arsenal are quite possibly the softest touch in the transfer window and their ability to sign players whilst sat on the bottom of their hospital bed reminds me of Monty Python’s ‘Parrot sketch’, only the parrot has been replaced by a footballer.
A customer enters a shop for injury prone footballers:
Customer: ‘Ello, I wish to register a complaint.
(The owner does not respond.)
C: ‘Ello, Miss?
Owner: What do you mean “miss”?
C: I’m sorry, I have a cold. I wish to make a complaint!
O: We’re closing’ for lunch.
C: Never mind that, my lad. I wish to complain about this defender whom I purchased not half an hour ago from this very boutique.
O: Oh yes, the, uh, the Scottish prospect. What’s,uh…What’s wrong with it?
C: I’ll tell you what’s wrong with it, my lad. ‘it’s knackered’ that’s what’s wrong with it!
O: No, no, ‘e’s uh,…he’s resting.
C: Look, matey, he’s been resting since I purchased him for a pretty penny in the summer and he’s still limping.Z
You get the idea but the disappointing result against Olympiacos FC doesn’t rest on 90 minutes of average football plus injury time, it rests with the entire club at boardroom level.
It’s a shambles !