This piece originally appeared on the Carvalho Peninsula.
Once again Arsenal took a hiding in Europe, and once again the violins are well and truly out in North London. Social networks are a mad mélange of disappointment and bloodlust, with every possible scapegoat being blamed. It’s not the first time, and, sadly, it won’t be the last. As an impartial observer, it shouldn’t affect me, but it does. This maudlin mewling has gone on far too long, and it has to stop. Now.
The only way to end this is to give the fans what they want. There are too many calling for change and their number grows each time their demands are ignored. Below is an action plan designed to satisfy those supporters and return their club to the good old days. If this plan is followed, Arsenal will soon regain their rightful status as kings of the world and the noise will go away. They will beat Real Madrid at the Bernabéu, put five past Inter in the San Siro and win loads and loads of shiny silverware. Since Arsène Wenger has never once provided glory of this kind, it’s time for him to fall on his sword and for us to re-embrace the values which originally made Arsenal famous – or, at least, values espoused by the Emirates faithful.
The Plan to Make Arsenal Invincible Again
Arsène Wenger – Obviously. The guy’s insane.
Stan Kroenke/Alisher Usmanov – Sitting on a pot of gold big enough to buy eleven Messis and not spending a penny. Take a hike, boys.
Colin Lewin – The head of the world’s most laughable physiotherapy department and a curse on the club.
Gervinho – As a frustrating Francophone from a war-torn African nation, he could barely be a more Wenger-type player – but he’s a failure on a more basic level than that: no-one with that haircut should represent the Arsenal. Ever.
Aaron Ramsey – All potential, no product. So unpopular at the Emirates that some Gooners are forming plans to Shawcross him themselves.
Per Mertesacker – In addition to a lack of pace so crippling that he often resembles a tranquilised elephant, it’s worth pointing out that Arsenal are going to war for their future here – and Germans lose wars. (Podolski is Polish: he can stay.)
Santi Cazorla – Spanish playmakers are very much en vogue but let’s cut to the chase: he’s not good enough for Barça or Real and doesn’t get in Spain’s first team, so he’s not good enough for Arsenal. Also: look at him. When enemy shells are raining down in the trenches, do you want to have to rely on an Iberian midget to save your bacon?
Mikel Arteta – See above.
Bacary Sagna – He’s never won a trophy for Arsenal and wants to leave. Let him go: more watchable options are available.
André Santos – The worst player ever to play for Arsenal bar none.
Marouane Chamakh, Andrey Arshavin, Nicklas Bendtner, Sébastien Squillaci, Tomáš Rosický, Laurent Koscielny, Johann Djourou, Denílson, Vito Mannone, Park Chu-Young, Łukasz Fabiański, etc – Not fit to wear the shirt. If a buyer can’t be found, give them to Oxfam or Joseph Kony depending on your mood.
To come in:
Andy Carroll – Good in the air? Check. English? Check. Well-publicised fondness for a drink or twenty? Check. He’s practically the new Tony Adams before he’s started. A few hours learning his new position on the training ground and he’ll be as good as Mr Arsenal himself.
Ryan Shawcross – The perfect partner for Carroll. The Emirates faithful may take a while to warm to him given previous transgressions, but all will be forgiven once they see an actual no-nonsense centre-back doing his job. Plus, with Rambo gone, dressing room issues would be minimal.
Lee Cattermole – The leader Arsenal need. The sort of soldier you want covering your back. The key player in a midfield so nasty that visiting sides will be scared to leave the dressing room and step onto the field.
Cheick Tioté – An ideal back-up for Cattermole given the likelihood of lengthy suspension being incurred. Regrettably French-speaking, but a veritable psychopath and proven in the Premier League. A proper Arsenal player.
Mohamed Diamé – Six-foot-plus, Senegalese and capable of killing a man with a single stare. Finally, an adequate replacement for Patrick Vieira.
Ashley Cole – Controversial, but with his contract up in June and Chelsea looking to shift him, it would be madness to leave the best left-back in the world to sign for another club. Let bygones be bygones, stump up the cash and bring Ashley home.
Fraser Forster – Did you see him in Camp Nou the other night? Exactly. No further scouting required.
Phil Jagielka – Passion. Commitment. Desire. Fans love a trier and the Everton man is effort personified. A symbol of the new Arsenal.
Tony Pulis – The manager all Gooners secretly want. Arsenal fans hate his Stoke side simply because Stoke are the club Arsenal once were: unashamedly long-ball, uncompromising at the back and viciously physical. Pulis is the modern day George Graham – minus the bungs, I imagine – and the perfect figurehead to lead Arsenal’s rebirth.
Lance Armstrong – As previously stated, being much worse than Colin Lewin is a big ask. Armstrong presents no such fears: he’s a man worth appointing for his contacts list alone, and one who will give the squad a shot in the arm – perhaps more literally than is ideal. Recent revelations mean this one will probably have to be kept quiet.
Mark Zuckerberg – Someone’s gotta pay for all of this, you know. It may as well be a billionaire everyone’s familiar and happy with already.
The Invincibles (2013/14 edition):
Football fans don’t ask for much: just a constant stream of beautiful success, preferably achieved by passionate players to whom they can relate. This side delivers that and then some: a home-grown English spine; a return to the traditional 4-4-2 formation; a midfield duo that kills first and asks questions many years after retirement. It’s all there.
Best of all, it guarantees the development of its own icons. Theo Walcott will become the player Thierry Henry could have been if only he wasn’t so French-speaking. Injury-free Jack Wilshere will be so brilliant that most Gooners will forget that Dennis Bergkamp ever existed. Lee Cattermole will become the first player ever to be imprisoned for a murder committed on a football pitch. Put simply, this lot will be invincible.
Arsenal fans: you have been given The Plan to Make Arsenal Invincible Again. I personally guarantee its success. Now it is down to you to make this a reality. Failing that: shut up.