Honestly. I love our fanbase for the variety and volume of Arsenal fan that there is, but sometimes we all need to take a deep breath and chill the eff out, because life truly is too short.
Yesterday one of the Arsenal lads in my office called out from his desk that Schneiderlin had finally signed for Man United. Let’s ignore the fact a United fan sits nearby and was immediately grinning and asking me how upset I was at that. Especially as they now had Schweinsteiger and Schneiderlin and all we had was Ozil and Coquelin.
I had to turn back to my computer and give a wry smile because, quite frankly, we have the two better players I believe. I also believe that this time of the year is one in which hope is stronger than ones memory, which is why you get people making ridiculous comments like “this will be their year. Just look at those signings. What a team on paper”. I remember Stan Collymore saying that Paulinho could be the final piece in the Spud jigsaw for a title, or at least a top four challenge. It stuck in my mind as a statement purely because little was known about Paulinho other than he’d made a successful start to a national team career and he came for a lot of money. Now he’s in China having bombed at Spudsville. Some of you may remember Florin Raducioiu signing for West Ham for big money after a good international tournament. He was expected to be a star at the Hammers and flopped quicker than Hugh Grant’s hair. It’s because he just didn’t work at West Ham.
Schneiderlin may turn out to be a good signing. He may also turn out to be Paulinho in Manchester.
But what if we get injuries? What if we don’t sign any other players? What if we have to rely on Arteta?
What if? What if? What if?
What if Schneiderlin signs for Arsenal and gets injured in the first week of the season? Are we then all going to be saying “well that’s ok, because we have cover, and we’ve already picked up an injury in that position so God won’t allow us to get more than one player injured in the same position”? No, didn’t think so, because we all know that life doesn’t work like that. We could have signed Schneiderlin, lost him and Coquelin for a period of two months and we’d be in this position anyway.
And besides, what’s with all the Arteta bashing anyhow? I don’t really get it if I’m honest. He’s a player who has served us very well and has been the foundation of a decent unit not 18 months ago, so why on earth has his stock plummeted so much in such a short period of time.
Injury. That’s it. As opposed to some players, in which absence makes the heart grow fonder, it appears that for Tricky Mickey absence has made the heart a cold and unforgiving thing. Arteta is, and will continue to be this season, a good player with an intelligence that will only be visible when he plays. But he’s got to play in which you will be able to see it. Until then, there will be too many people who will look at his date of birth, declare “his legs have gone” and dismiss his contribution to the team. I know it’s a different sport, but over the last two weeks I’ve watched a 33 year old Roger Federer do battle like a 23 year old in tennis. He’s the same age as Arteta and so why is nobody saying his “legs have gone”? Because what we see with our eyes contradicts such a statement. So it is with Arteta.
In the 2014/15 season he picked up a number of injuries which limited his time on the pitch. In between those injuries he played the odd bit-part, but never really got the chance to get any kind of run in the team or form going. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve said that players need a run of games to show their true value. The fact of the matter is that Arteta hasn’t had his run of games with which to make an accurate assessment of whether or not he really has had his time at Arsenal. Just because he picked up some injuries, doesn’t mean he’s a busted flush people. Jack Wilshere has had time out because of injuries, but his time at Arsenal hasn’t really been called on by goners I know, so why Arteta? Because of his age. That’s it.
Well I say that if his age is the only thing from anybody feeling comfortable that he is a very good back up, then pretend he’s 28 and then imagine how you’d feel if he was second in line to the ‘DM’ throne behind Coquelin. There, does that make you feel different? Does to me. All of a sudden I’m looking at our squad and thinking that we’re pretty much there. We can compete for the title. Heck, had we not stuttered at the beginning of the season, we would have done. I saw a brilliant comment on Twitter yesterday from Billy Dunmore which was perfect to describe where we’re at:
If we look at squads like cake. United are still layering theirs, whereas we are on the hunt for icing and cherries
Spot on the money there, Bilbo. We don’t need to be spunking cash on players who may or may not be successful. Remember, we’re in the ‘megastar signing’ bracket now. Schneiderlin is a good player, but he’s no megastar. Schweinsteiger is a decent player, but we have better, younger, less injury-prone players in our midfield who have played in the Premier League for many years. How do we know Schweinsteiger won’t Falcao up the joint? We don’t.
So let’s not lose our sh*t over a few United signings. Think about how far we have come since United won the league. Think about the two respective squads. United seem to be about big names. We’re about harmony, balance and competing for the title. United have to build a team with (most likely) a new ‘keeper, will probably need to look at their defence and with That Dutch Bloke and Falcao gone, they need another striker. We don’t need half of the surgery they need on their team, so chill, peeps.