Just imagine tonight’s twitter TL. If we’re winning : Anxiety, send in the defenders, send in fresh legs, protect the lead, edge of seat stuff around 70 mins, squeaky bum around 80 mins and a near heart attack till the final whistle. If we’re losing : Swear words, Wenger Out, Told you so, blame ref/coach/players/summer/board. Either way you look at it you’re not gonna be smiling till the clock runs down. Its gonna be nervy and tense. We are The Arsenal and this is how we run things currently.
We are where we are. Some by our own doing and some by fate. With injuries, poor chemistry, defence related issues and tactics hitting us one after the other and sometimes all at once, our confidence has taken a rather heavy beating this time around. Losing 3 goal leads and calling for Arsene’s replacement, all in early November is something we had not imagined after that glorious day in May.
If we could affect our past as in Interstellar and relive the summer, may be there were ways to improve current situation. May be we could have gone for more names and avoided some injuries. It would have meant a better present day scenario perhaps. But better by how much? Would we have won some of the Top 4 games? I am not so sure. Because its not a question of ability alone. Had it been left to ability and chance alone, our stats against Chelsea should be better than what Swansea’s look against ours.
You are all familiar with our record against Jose’s Chelsea. And this is our recent record against United :
I could paste more stats against top 4, or our CL record. But I guess we all know that thoroughly, and have a very good idea how we have fared in the last decade. Why has that happened is not down to just quality. Mentality has had a big hand to play. We can’t see off some tight games. We always seem to resign and rationalise with ‘played quite decently‘ against top 4 despite the familiar loss. Lee Dixon and Adams have repeated in Media about our style and mentality issues. Evra went a step further and called us a team of boys who would never win. We won the FA, but in the mentality aspect of things Evra is winning that argument. Year after year.
4 years ago our excuse was that we are way too young and AW admitted that lack of experience at this level of the game could prove costly sometimes and cost you at crucial junctures of the competition, and we’ve witnessed exactly that few more times. Today that is not a valid argument as the average team age has risen from 22 to 26 almost. We are not the youngest, not even top 5. Spurs are younger. We added Mertesacker, Arteta, Giroud and other names who brought experience with them. That experience has not translated into maturity and mental strength as much as we expected. We witness familiar scenes with new names, just like before. We see some fight from Arteta and Jack, and barring that we are all way too polite. Clearly age and (winning) mentality are not directly proportional. Our boys have seen many a battles and yet are not as battle hardened as you’d like them to be.
The sample size over the years (of players) is too large to blame it on individuals. Arsene’s approach and principles are perhaps too sophisticated for us to do the dirty work sometimes and grind out a result when we’re desperate. Some blame it on the lack of dialogue and feedback. Arsene likes his players to play their natural game, and offers some feedback post game which many don’t find enough. I mean you have to be some kinda genius to self assess your performance during the game and make corrections for the next time automatically. Not everyone is as intelligent as AW, nor are they tuned to viewing the game as an outsider. Add to that the cold demeanour of an Alpha Male (read about Alpha Male here) and you have very little room for a frank exchange. We already know that we don’t specifically prepare for opponents and you’d rarely ever find AW screaming instructions at the top of his voice during games. I would wager Bould’s left ear has heard more truths and swear words than the entire squad in recent times. Mertesacker recently compared the ways of his club manager and country’s and said Arsenal are missing ‘something’. I think we know what he means.
It’s always a mixed bag with any choice we make, and we’ve to live with ours till 2016 at least. We could resign to the stats from the past or we could look for a new inspiration somewhere. Suggestions on twitter range from putting a run together (somehow) to wishing for a few kind men with a whistle. I say, we need to find a new inspiration, a new reason to inspire us. May be it could be one single reason, may be one every week.
This week, should there be a reason for the entire squad to unite and give their 200% it should not be to prove a point to the fading star of the past or the wrong choices he made. Rather it should be for our new star to prove to him that he is now home, and his choices were the right ones.
Yes it is professional football and morality is weighed in pounds per hour, but you cannot ignore the pain of separation young Danny, had to endure because his alma mater showed more faith in a couple of 30 year old popular strikers. One can only imagine Danny’s hardwork and quality to come through ranks and lead the line at a club like Utd at such a young age. This current year he is the best performer at Euro qualifiers at this stage with 5 goals already to his name. But that should not be news to us. We’ve seen his commitment from day 1 at The Arsenal. He along with Sanchez are our new untiring engines in attack. Never giving up. Always trying to get a foot in, always an eye on the ball, always ready to help in defending. His numbers might have dried up a bit (at the club) recently, but the desire is as pronounced as the throbbing vein on his temple.
It will not be the first time that teams come together to support a team mate for whatever the reason. Injury, cancer, unfair ban or any other unifying thought which can bind them together. It is the acknowledgement of the bond among mates.
Its not always about the 3 points or a mere number which might or might not have a relevance in the long run, sometimes its just about making a point. Sometimes its just about showing the love. Sometimes its just about baring the teeth.
If there ever was a spring board we needed, a break we needed to catch, it is this. Beating Utd should do a lot of good to our confidence. And a whole lot of good to Danny’s too. If I could steal Wenger’s mic before the game I would say “Today is the day we start rewriting this season, today is the day when we start becoming unpredictable. Today is the day we shed the heavy cloak of yesterday’s mistakes. Today we run harder, we run as one. Let’s do it for the fans in the stands. Let’s do it for Danny!“.
PS: Top Banter for me when AW starts YS instead 🙂