Arsène, I think it's about time I introduced myself, as I've been watching you, in admiration, from afar for too long; so long, in fact, it's become uncomfortable, painful even. For both of us, for much of the time since that invincible team's reign, which happened to coincide with when I left England. I know you've noticed us watching but it's high time we really get to know one another. So, here we go: pleased to meet you - I wish it were under better circumstances - I am, as you are probably aware, an Arsenal fan who sends his life force on to the pitch every single game. But lately, that force has become a little weary and somewhat reluctant to step out of my shell and into the boots of the players of your selection. You, yourself, look like you're in agony most games. This is a problem that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later, after your exit and or retirement - for I really would like you do so on a high (which, after the season we've had, would be fourth place). However, time is running out. Admittedly, with thirty years of silence outside of the room within which the match is screened, I have been part of the problem, highlighting the obvious without an offer of solution (like those of us suggesting this is the worst team we've seen you put together). The good news is we are both capable problem solvers; what is a game without multi-level brainteasers? Let's see if we can work together to prepare and place readily available and appropriate tricks up your easily accessible sleeves. Let's see if you can't put us out of this misery following some calmly stated honesty.
Without knowing exactly where we are, let's find our bearings before searching for directions. Today, down in Bournemouth, we performed like we have so many times this year, with a lack of fight and a clear lack of conviction. Honestly, more often than not, we don't appear hungry for the win, unlike many of the teams outperforming us over the course of this season (I mean, check our away form); this might count as a disappointed fan's opinion, so let's return to facts, starting with today's game: we were terrible. In times gone by, I would have more often than not blamed a loss on that lack of fire in the belly, but now I am thinking we just don't have the quality in depth for impact substitutions or for a first eleven. We have a number of players who might be considered as having great potential but most of our starting eleven are only good enough to be squad players. Also, I really have to mention, some of those squad players are not even good enough to be on the bench - unless our aspirations to don't push us beyond a top seven finish.
Anyway, what are complaints without the offer of assistance that will get us on route to a solution? This week's realistic advice: Firstly, I thought that I was going to talk about individual performances, ratings etc., but I've had another change of mind and instead I'll just mention the one player, Wilshere, who deserves credit; he was our best player and should be the club captain that we build the team around. Secondly, the backline: let's keep it consistent. They should remain unchanged week in, week out, so we can go back (way back) to being solid. I can see what you're doing with Holding, Mustafi, and Chambers and I like it (but the team really wasn't ready for that change of plan when Ramsey came on - so they should be better prepared for that test next time). Thirdly, get angry and find it in your heart to strike fear into some of those players who look all too comfortable with the fact that they let their team, and the Arsenal family, down.
Finally, this is my eleven, working with what we've got (and assuming Alexis is on his way out - itself the result of being surrounded by a lack of ambition): Cech, Chambers, Mustafi, Holding, Kolasinac, Bellerín, Wilshere, Ramsey, Özil, Lacazette, Giroud.