‘Familiarity breeds contempt’ is pretty much a familiar saying that almost invariably holds true. Even long exposure to good things can see one take them for granted almost to the point of contempt.
Now flip the script here and imagine it was some disaster that keeps repeating itself and you can begin to imagine the truckloads of depressingly contemptuous feelings one would react with.
The first ‘big game’ of the season enveloped large swathes of the Arsenal fan base with a chilling morale-sapping sense of Déjà vu. ‘We’ve been here before’ would easily have been a statement of consensus amongst them. The debacle playing out right in front of them, one that has become a recurring decimal when competing against fellow elite: lethargic display from the team; an almost unrecognizable potent game plan, questionable tactics from the manager and a concomitant shellacking by the opposition, reared its ugly head again.
Wenger had a real chance to leave on a genuine high at the dusk of the past season after mitigating the cruel impact of an underwhelming campaign by securing a FA Cup win against all odds. With his legacy already somewhat tarnished by years of underachievement, an outpouring of plaudits and goodwill would have a trailed a sensible decision of choosing not to renew but he went ahead anyway much to the chagrin of the majority of the fan base to renew despite myriad proofs evidencing that he’s no longer cut out for elite management.
Arsenal didn’t attempt a single shot on target vs Liverpool – the first time they haven’t had one in a PL game since Oct 2014 (vs Chelsea). pic.twitter.com/6CEDK8m9Le
— Chris Wheatley (@ChrisWheatley_) August 27, 2017
The offshoot of Arsenal’s frankly ridiculous decision to retain him is what’s grotesquely popping up in our faces. His team selections this season have been baffling at best even by his own standards, playing players out of positions and failing to address the midfield dysfunction that has plagued the team for years now.
The Arsenal players have their share of the blame too of course but the manager holds the lion’s share. He’s responsible for the team’s fortunes and he’s hardly shown any potential he’s capable of leading the team again.
While Wenger and his team haplessly floundered, Klopp and his team contrastingly boosted their title credentials even in the absence of their best player Phillipe Continho.
One of the hallmarks of great tacticians is their capacity to lucidly make their team reflect their well-honed philosophies with seamless fluency. Jurgen Klopp fits this profile excellently. His aggressive high-intensity brand of attacking football appears to have been fully imbibed by his team to devastating effect and it can only get better.
Liverpool have beaten Arsenal in three consecutive league games for the first time since 1998.
Power shift. 🔴 pic.twitter.com/u5gxTaN4EL
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) August 27, 2017
The fact his style is hardly reliant on the genius of some star player but rather on the collective gives his team a wider scope for excellence. With PC10 still flirting with advances from Barcelona, his potential unlikely departure – given the board’s resolute ‘Not for sale’ stance – won’t be the end of the world for the English giants on current evidence.
The brilliant Klopp-led Reds treated neutrals and fans alike to a truly enjoyable masterclass as their razor sharp attack ruthlessly feasted on a terribly unimpressive Arsenal side and while it could be said that the apathetic Gunners made things easier for the Reds by making themselves sitting duck for the ravenous kops with their awful display, Klopp and his charges deserve full plaudits for their impressive showings.
This season is young and the landscape of football in general is so fickle. Situations change. So does form of teams. On current evidence, it appears Arsenal are in for a long season but all that could change in a moment and the same does apply to Liverpool.
If Wenger can get his act right and perhaps try to remedy the situation by bolstering the squad with some new talents as well as sorting out his obvious tactical flaws and inconsistencies, the Gunners could still go ahead to have a great season and if Liverpool can maintain this sort of performance especially against the smaller teams who have proven to be a hard nut for them for seasons now, the sky’s their limit.
Interestingly, the Reds are going all out to try to secure the services for gifted Monaco playmaker Thomas Lemar, a player Wenger flirted with thrice, with no success.
Thomas Lemar’s 2016/17 Ligue 1 season by numbers:
84% pass accuracy
72 chances created
45 take-ons completed
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) August 28, 2017
Liverpool, having seen their dream of Naby Keita lining up for them deferred to 2018 – a deal has reportedly been agreed – their attentions now appear fixated on bolstering their already impressive array of attacking talent with the 21-year old French international.
A bidding war between the two English giants is likely to ensue as Wenger might be pushed to resurrect his pursuit before the transfer window curtains drop 11pm Thursday.
Having endured a massive talent exodus this summer, Monaco are unwilling to sanction a sale but hopes remain they will eventually budge in the event an irresistible offer is tabled and considering the financial firepower of the premier league teams, it’s not out of the realms of possibility Lemar could be plying his trade in England this season.
This season is shaping up pretty much nicely already and it may well be greatest season yet with competition for the top spots looking a lot fiercer than ever. Wenger and his men have work to do for it not to turn out their worst yet.
Article written by John Omomo