I can see that Richard Keys was doubling down on his Celebration Police narrative after the Wolves v Newcastle game. Yesterday I saw that he’d made comments about the players and the manager celebrating a 2-1 victory like it was a trophy they had secured. He was bleating on about the fact that it’s ‘only Fulham’ and that they should just get down the tunnel afterwards and not say anything. He also talked about how it showed ‘how far Arsenal have fallen’.
I should probably start by saying ‘With all due respect to Richard Keys’ but let’s be honest, I have no respect for him, so we’ll start there with an opinion from a man who has sounded like a dinosaur for quite some time. We all also know the reasons why he and Andy Gray aren’t on mainstream media, as well, but we’ll park that.
Instead, let’s hone in on what he’s said this weekend, which is to reiterate that Arsenal players and staff shouldn’t be celebrating. The good news is the reason that he’s had to double down is because so many people rounded on his view, also many not Arsenal fans, such as Darren Lewis from the Mirror. Good on him. This trend of policing the celebrations of teams in the media is a joke and whenever any team marks a victory with wild celebrations, fine by me, let them get on with it.
But it does seem to happen with more frequency to Arsenal. Or at least it seems to when it comes to journos and media stories. We didn’t have it with Tottenham after they secured their cheaters draw against Chelsea the other week. We have seen it a fair bit last season already with Arsenal and I remember all the hoo-ha when we beat Wolves and Ruben Neves had a pop at our players after the 1-0 win at Molineux last season. Sometimes if you want a bit of online attention, have a pop at Arsenal, because the online community is huge and it’s an opportunity for you to get some coverage.
That’s what Richard Keys has been doing this weekend, so we probably just need to see it for what it is and take it with the biggest pinch of salt going.
But on the celebration police in general this weekend, let’s get some context going here; Fulham are a good team and have already taken points off Liverpool and Brentford. The way they have started the season is impressive and if they continue to play the way they have been playing, they will comfortably finish mid table. If that happens the ‘newly promoted’ caveat should be firmly dismissed. Being newly promoted is irrelevant if you have a good team that can handle the rigours of the Premier League. Are people talking about ‘little old Brentford the recently promoted side’? Or are they recognising that having finished in a decent position in the league last season, they have a good side that may well again finish mid table?
The second bit of context here is the game state, which basically adds everything to the game situation, which is being ignored by the Celebration Police. Arsenal were one nil down with two-thirds of the game gone. They were staring down the barrel of a defeat at home. Yet in 30 minutes they did something that we’ve done once before under Arteta in two and a bit seasons. This team dug deep, pressurised, hassled and harried a well-organised Fulham side who demonstrated how difficult they were to break down. In many other games last season and the season before we have come up against low block teams and we haven’t managed to break them down. As Arsenal fans we have seen it all far too much. So when you do manage to break down a stubborn opponent, the relief manifests itself as joyous rapture like we got on Saturday evening. Which leads me to my third bit of context…
…Timings of goals. If we’d had gone two goals up in the first half, then conceded in the last minute, I don’t think you will be getting the same reaction from fans, the players or the manager. But because of the timing of when we scored, it completely changes the feeling and mood in the stadium. The players showed resilience and came from behind and did it in dramatic late fashion. It doesn’t matter one jot which team it is that you are playing against, if you score in the dying embers of a football match, the feeling when the match has finished is totally different than if you score early and coast to victory.
So to those Celebration Police isolating the videos at the end of the game and jumping on them as some kind of stick with which to beat Arteta, the players or the fans in the stadium, I say unto thee:
Get in the bin. Then have that bin thrown into the sea.
Sorry, little bit of a rant this morning, but thought I’d get it out. I’m going to enjoy the rest of my day now and, because it’s a bank holiday, I can have a relaxing one and continue to bask in the joy that is an Arsenal team with four wins out of four, top of the league, playing good football and bringing the feel good factor back to The Arsenal.
Catch you lovely people tomorrow, as we count down to the quick turnaround with an home game on Wednesday against Villa. Have a good one.