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Arsenal v Norwich

arsenal norwich

Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Cech; Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal; Ramsey, Elneny; Sanchez, Ozil, Iwobi; Giroud.

On the day we attempted the most pathetic protest against our manager (lets face it, it was hardly the Mutiny of Captain Hugh Pigot) we perhaps offered our most pathetic performance of the season. The whole match was a procession from start to finish. Norwich, who were meant to be fighting off relegation played on the counter, and had a couple of decent chances too, but other than the two Nathan Redmond efforts saved by Cech they offered nothing!!! and Arsenal was even worse.

The bizarre decision to persist with Olivier Giroud up front, who hasn’t scored a league goal since January didn’t ease the mood around the Emirates. The fans chose this game to air their frustration against the board and protest against Arsene Wenger, and they came armed with the usual banners but also this time thousands of A4 Pieces of paper with ”time for change” printed on them. The demonstrations were due in the 12th and 78th minute (12 minutes after the start and 12 minutes before the finish to symbolise 12 years since we won the league) and to say it was a failure is an understatement.

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The protests were as limp as the performance on the field, the ground (3/4’s full as it was)  raised their banners above their head but were drowned out by the pro Wenger supporters with chants of ”one Arsene Wenger”. The fact they matched each other for enthusiasm was the reward it deserved, yes the bigger picture was to perhaps gain media attention – bring to attention the problems at Arsenal to a wider audience and if that was the goal it was achieved as it was all over Twitter and Sky Sports and every newspaper the following day.

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The first half finished 0-0 and the crowd had no energy to even boo, ten minutes into the second half and Arsene did make a change, he made a sub at 55 minutes instead of 70, (it’s a start) and brought off Alex Iwobi for Danny Welbeck. The crowd responded to that change by booing, Iwobi has been the one bright spot in recent months but his performance was showing signs of fatigue. Welbeck was a wanted man on the pitch- that was at the expense of Giroud, but this sub proved spot on when less than 10 minutes later he smashed in what proved to be the winner, assisted by the ever popular Giroud. Giroud cushioning down a cross into the path of Welbeck who finished low beyond a diving ruddy in the Norwich goal.

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Arsenal saw the game out 1-0 to all but confirm their top 4 finish and Norwichs’ relegation to the championship and if the season ended at that very moment I don’t think either team would have been bothered. For Arsenal it’s all about the summer transfer window and rebuilding (or attempting to rebuild) and for Norwich, they’ll be hoping they can bounce back again next year.

The Protest

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Is that the answer? Does Arsene deserve this? In my opinion no, for all his faults he has done wonders for this club, the stadium – the training centre – the free flowing football. I remember growing up in awe of Marc Overmars, bombing down the wing at electric pace and crossing the ball for the on rushing Ian Wright or Dennis Bergkamp to tap in and score. Every lunch time at school without FAIL I was Marc Overmars. When he left he was replaced with Freddie Ljungberg who I also loved (I must have been a majestic winger in a previous lifetime). It is this sort of transfer dealings that we don’t see anymore, if a world class player leaves, replace him with someone equally as dynamic. We have never replaced Henry, Vieira, or Adams, we have had pretenders to the throne (Giroud, Coquelin, and Mertesacker) but they have all failed, just like Wenger in the transfer market. I feel it’s finally time for Arsene to let go of the purse strings, and just go all out this summer, pay whatever the teams want and bully teams into selling, then we can all go berserk if things don’t work out. Protests are not the answer, I don’t know what the answer is so I won’t pretend I do but what I do know is, for all his faults (and he has a lot) hounding him out of the club is not the answer.

Until next week.

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