It is difficult to know what is more embarrassing: Arsenal’s performances on the pitch or the outright hysteria which accompanies them from their supporters.
Following defeat by Brighton and Hove Albion last time out, the meltdown on the “terraces” has continued apace. Supporters have been pictured crying, and phone-in shows on the radio have been more akin to a Samaritans helpline.
If the Snowflake Generation could be classified as football fans, they would be mostly Arsenal diehards. The club are sixth in the Premier League. They are still in Europe. And they remain in contention (just) for a Champions League place next season. Supporters of genuine crisis clubs – historic and current – look on with a mixture of disgust and hilarity.
Goodness knows what the reaction will be if Arsenal are beaten by Milan in the Europa League on Thursday. More tears, more hand-wringing, more calls for Arsene Wenger to be sacked because of the heinous crime of not winning the league.
The division at the club, of course, plays into our hands. Milan must surely rate as one of the best bets of the month at +110 (Ladbrokes, Coral, BetVictor) to condemn Arsenal to a fifth consecutive defeat.
Briefly we thought that it might pay to swim against the tide with this one. Arsenal, after all, have been at their most dangerous under Wenger just when you think it couldn’t possibly get any worse for them. They have always managed to pull a result out of the bag from somewhere. But that would be ignoring two significant factors: Milan’s terrific form and the Arsenal players’ blatant lack of effort.
The Italian giant have won five of their last six in all competitions. They haven’t lost in their last 12, a sequence that includes just four draws. It is mighty impressive.
To boot they are notoriously tough to crack at the San Siro. They have won seven from 12 there this term. Remember that Arsenal have won just three times on the road in the league this season, losing eight and drawing four. The 24 goals they have conceded away is comfortably the worst in the top seven. Only Everton and Leicester have conceded more in the top 13.
So, a pumped and organised Milan against a travel-sick and porous Arsenal? This looks a gimme. Particularly as, to put it simply, Arsenal’s players are “getting away with murder.”
Those are the words of ex-goalkeeper David Seaman. Seaman accused the Arsenal collective of not trying. And he has not been alone. Sure, Arsenal may well turn up at the San Siro and put in 100 per cent. But football is not a sport in which you can choose when to play. Teams that do get bitten. Hard.