It’s nice to finally get to Friday, not just because that means the end of the working week, but also because it means that we can start to lay this week to rest and put it behind us. It has been a pretty tough few weeks for us Arsenal fans, what with going out of the FA Cup to Chelsea and then the Champions League to ManUre. But, we have to put all of that behind us now as there is nothing that can be done about it until the summer.
For those interested you can check out pictures of Bendtner making a tool of himself here.
Looking ahead to the game on Sunday, it seems like we don’t have any fresh injuries and the team will probably be the same as started against ManUre, though I would expect Arshavin to come back into the side in place of Van Persie whose chocolate groin may melt in the mid-May afternoon sun. There is a slight doubt over Arshavin as he has apparently been suffering a bit from flu, let’s hope he didn’t catch it from Carlos Vela and his visiting mates.
Clichy has been ruled out for the rest of the season as the boss isn’t prepared to take a gamble with his injury now that we have nothing left to play for but pride.
There is still a chance that we can get third place from Chelsea. The odds are against us, that’s for sure, but it can be done. If we beat them on Sunday, that would put us within three points of them with two games to go and given that Chelsea have an FA Cup final on the horizon there is the chance that they may rest some players in their three remaining league games. Let’s hope that they start by resting a few against us this Sunday, especially Didier Drogba as he always rips us a new ass when he comes up against us.
As today is Friday, that means there is a new podcast from Arseblogger. So, head on over there and check it out. It always a good listen, especially if you live abroad like me.
I don’t really want to mention any more about the squad and how it can be improved today as it is something which will rumble on and on until the obligatory deadline day when we will be yet to sign anyone and hoping Arsene pulls a on-the-stroke-of-midnight signing. Hopefully any such signing will come with an ‘s’ at the end because we certainly need more than one.
The club have just announced that Theo Walcott has just signed a new long-term deal which is great news for the club and is something which can help to raise the spirits of both the players and the fans.
As I sit here trying to remain positive and keep the faith in Arsene, the reality that we are just not up to scratch raises its ugly head to dampen my futile attempts at optimism. But, in times like these I remind myself of the times when us Arsenal fans used to have ‘boring, boring Arsenal’ sung at us and it was actually true. Granted it brought us some success along the way, but it wasn’t exactly pretty to watch. Now we are in a situation where we play nice football (and at times mesmerising football) but it is failing to deliver in what really matters, silverware. It’s not the style of our play that is to blame, it’s just the depth, quality and age/experience of our squad. Alan Hansen said in the 90’s that you ‘don’t win anything with kids’ and people have thrown that back in his face time and time again, but it totally applies to this Arsenal squad. When he said that, he was referring to a ManUre squad that had a handful of young players coming through whereas we have almost an entire squad of young players.
The hardest thing to swallow is that Arsene trots out the same excuses when we lose; we lacked experience; we were naive etc. But, you have to lay all of the blame for that firmly at the door of the manager who is ultimately responsible for the make-up of that squad. He fought for the new stadium, he decided to go with the youth policy as that was the cost of moving to the new stadium, he insisted on having total control over everything that goes on at the club. It is now his job to figure out how to get us out of this mess.
There is always a high probability that us bloggers and fans overreact when writing and talking about the club and its direction so soon after such a crushing defeat, but I think we all agree on the fundamental issues affecting the team and there is nothing wrong with talking about those as long as we don’t get involved in Patsy Palmer style hyperbole.
Don’t get me wrong, I think Wenger is a great manager and has totally transformed the club but he has a lot of work to do before we are ready to seriously challenge on a consistent basis again. One can only hope that the strengthening of his position by Kroenke Tonk Stan and the appointment of Ivan Gazidis will see us have a more pro-active transfer policy and really start to move the club forward again as we have been in a steady decline ever since the season of the Invincibles.
One more thing I’d like to touch on, which came us in yesterday’s comments, is the fact that so many ‘fans’ left the stadium early. I honestly don’t see the point in leaving a game early, regardless of the way the game is going. What kind of a signal does that send to the team? Why are the players meant to give a monkeys about the club if the fans themselves fuck off home, or to the pub, long before the game ends. For me, that’s not being a real fan. A real fan stays there to support the team, they don’t turn their back on them. It’s akin to the booing of Eboue that went on earlier in the season. It just goes to show how fickle fans can be, if your team is doing well its easy to stay until the end but if things go a bit Pete Tong the toys get thrown out of the pram and some people bugger off. That’s not what being a football fan is all about, in my opinion. I imagine that opinion among fans will be divided on this issue and I don’t expect everyone to agree with me, but that’s just how I feel about the situation.
You are at the game, you have a seat that those of us that happen to work thousands of miles away from the stadium would give our right nut for and yet you walk out of the stadium early. That does my head in. I know it’s your money, your seat and you can do whatever you want to do with that. I just think it’s wrong and projects the wrong image of Arsenal fans. We should strove to be better than other teams, that means both fans and players alike. Someone who walks out of a game before the end has absolutely no right whatsoever to question the commitment of someone like Adebayor or Diaby as they themselves are not giving their all. That’s just my opinion.
Speaking of Adebayor there is a good article in The Mirror that sums him up nicely.
I wish that we were playing Chelsea tomorrow as we need to get a game under our belts as soon as possible to try and get our minds off the extreme disappointment and hurt that we are all feeling. The last few days have been long and hard. Everything has felt like a chore to do because there is a deep sense of what might have been combined with a realisation that we are not at the level that we think we should be.
Okay, I’m going to finish here because this is getting a bit too long.
Keep the faith. We are The Arsenal and we will rise again.