Is it symptomatic of modern day Arsenal, that the club are currently running a story about the fact the goal against Norwich, involved a passage of sustained possession which led to Welbeck’s good finish? I get that it’s lovely to see that sort of action when it comes off, but on a day where media attention has been diverted towards the new champions who have spent most of the season without possession of the ball, it seems a little like a stubborn act of defiance. Which would be entirely in keeping with the manager’s responses to recent voices of displeasure. Like continuously playing with Giroud, even if he has already tried to explain that one with a comment about how Welbeck was looking tired, having come back and played so many games recently. I’m not sure how much I buy that personally, but he is the man that spends more time with the players, so I supposed I have to accept his comments on that one. I don’t have the same access to information on players as he does.
I was travelling back from the UAE last night, so it was not possible for me to watch the Champions League semi-final between Atletico and Bayern, but by all accounts it seems as though Simeone has done it again and got his team through to the final of the Champions League by knocking out another giant. He is proving that you don’t need to be a big club with a big budget to achieve big things. What you do need is a style. An identity and a collective of players all working in one direction for the same cause. That helps to build a successful side.
I was going to tweet something to that effect last night, but then I realised that by doing so, I would be coming across as a little bit moany and using every other footballing success to emphasise Arsenal’s and Arsène’s failings. So I stopped myself from pressing ‘send’. Why did I even think like that; like Simeone’s and Atletico’s brilliance made Arsenal’s all the worse? Am I starting to get an agenda against the manager? Am I becoming like one of those people who will say anything as long as it strengthens whatever belief I have about Arsène or the current regime?
I don’t think so. I’d like to consider myself humble enough to admit when I say things that eventually turn out to be wrong. I’d like to also be proven wrong when what I say doesn’t transpire but something works in Arsenal’s favour.
So why did I even think about Arsenal’s failings as soon as I’d seen Atletico’s success?
Because I’m a simple football fan. Exceedingly myopic in my views, focusing almost exclusively on Arsenal so that when I do watch or follow any other type of football, I make connections with whatever I’m watching with Arsenal. I can’t help it. I’ll do it during the Euro’s too. Any team with the most Arsenal players in on that particular game, gets my backing, providing they don’t banjax the Arsenal players in their team.
So with a game like last night, the only way I can look at it is by making a comparison with my own club. Atletico don’t have the cash, they can’t dominate their own league, they have had to sell key players, and yet they have developed a style which is proving successful for them. Then I look at what we are right now and the lack of style or identity, coupled with the cash we have to provide a competitive side not being used, and I find it impossible not to feel jealous and a little bit bitter.
So when I do message thoughts like I nearly did last night, because every once in a while I undoubtedly will, please try to remember that I’m not an agenda-driven Arsenal fan. I don’t care who is at the helm steering the club, Wenger or otherwise, providing I feel we are going in the right direction. I don’t feel like that right now, but if I believe the manager could change course and deliver the success we are all dreaming of, then I would continue to back him. As it stands right now though, his position looks quite untenable, sadly.
I think that’s probably enough incoherent rambling for me for one day. Catch all of you lovely people tomorrow.