Tuesday, 23 December 2014
A winning habit?The calendar year girdles two seasons the first of which saw us leading the field for what seemed an age and ended with an FA cup victory after going two goals down at Wembley. Victory was also achieved in the Charity Shield/Community Shield or whatever it's called these days to start this season on a positive note. The acquisition of Alexis Sanchez gave Arsenal supporters optimism and after seeing Campbell in the flesh at the World Cup it seemed that we had a decent striker on our hands, and at that same world Cup we saw three of our own lift the big one. It was noticeable that we had a summer without speculation regarding the departure of our better players: could this be because no one wants them?
Although Vermaelan's form had been patchy his departure along with the loss of Sagna made it clear that we needed to purchase some defensive reinforcements to add to the promising Callum Chambers and Mathieu Debussy-clear it seems, to all but the manager who loaned out Carl Jenkinson and seemingly took the view that we can make do at mend at Centre Half.
The big move of the summer should have involved us. Cesc Fabregas' time was up at Barca and as we had a buy back clause, his return to the fold seemed an obvious decision: not so, Arsene felt that he was surplus to requirements and he opted for the Blue of that mob from West London.
With some renewed belief following our attainment of that elusive trophy we started the new season, well, badly. The worst start in years was the statistic that rang loudest.
We end the year sixth in the league having already lost 4 and drawn six and still not having beaten the so called 'rivals'. A safe passage to the knock out stages of the Champions League and a favourable draw against Monaco has to be seen as an achievement but one wonders if this squad is capable of moving forward without additions in January.
The division between supporters is as pronounced as it's ever been and the sticking point is clearly the Manager and his future at the club. This sticking point will remain stuck for some time as Arsene has a three year contract in his back pocket and whatever your view he will remain our manager until the end of this season at the very least.
I for one see Mr Wenger's tenure as a cul-de-sac and we remain down that dead end until such time as there is a change. The thing for me is that many seemed to have comfortably adapted to mediocrity and as such expectation has been recalibrated accordingly. For now we have little choice but to see where the season takes us and try to enjoy the ride and in this most mediocre of Premier League Seasons full of mediocre teams, with some of the players we do have we may just achieve something after all we have now got players who know how to win a trophy and that surely counts for something.
Sunday, 14 December 2014
There’s been a lot of talk about respect recently, most of it self righteous and judgemental, but it’s a word that we associate with the principals of fair play that sport should stand for.
Richard Keys and others described Santi Cazorla’s deliciously confident penalty in the 4-1 win against Newcastle United as disrespectful: the irony of Keys making a judgement on matters of respect was probably lost on him. Balderdash I say. Football should be entertaining and moments of skill and daring excite and enamour supporters. Santi’s Pen was a moment to savour and it’s certainly not the first time we have seen such hutzpah from the spot at the Arsenal.
Then there's the issue of respect towards Arsene Wenger. some say criticism of him is disrespectful full stop. I don't agree. I think criticism is part of the remit of supporting and loving your club but certainly effing and blinding is not acceptable and absolutely diminishes ones argument.
I have a view on our current manager and I give that view in what I hope is a measured and constructive way, but abuse? nope, not for me, it's not even just a matter of respect it's pretty much about manners. I also think that there has to be a degree of humour attached to the thoughts and feeling of the Arsenal fan otherwise there is a tendency to veer towards conflict.
When we hear of supporters barracking the manager or each other it further polarises opinion, but it's worth remembering that not everyone who supports the same team has the same moral compass or grasp of the rules of civility let alone the same opinion. Banners need not lead to battle and It is possible to agree to disagree, it is also possible to encourage your team even when you are discouraged by the manager.
Monday, 8 December 2014
A house divided it seems. The reason would most probably be attributable to the man at the helm. There are those that support the club and have faith in the current manager and those that support the club and have no faith in the manager.
Isn't that how civil wars generally start? a question of faith: the believers and the non believers.
One group believes that water can be turned into wine and the other can find no evidence to support that belief and what then happens is unrest which leads to conflict.
At the moment its hardly Victoria Concordia Crescit and I sense that the conflicting views currently being expressed are merely forays that will escalate until we, as a body of supporters, are at Defcon 1.
While we debate the pros and cons of our manager we need to retain that most old fashioned of values: civility.
Heated debate is fine, strident discussion is okay and bombastic badinage is healthy but once we go beyond that we may lose sight of the main issue: the fact that we all support this great club of ours, and in wanting the best for the club we may besmirch our great club's name
My position is clear: I think we need a change but I've discussed my views with those that think differently without abuse or fisticuffs I'm happy to say.
I'm not sure that ranting and arm waving on social media solves anything. I think all it does is make our support look a bit two bob.
With a fixture against last season's beaten finalists in the FA Cup on the horizon, in the only competition that we have a realistic chance of winning, I would suggest that unity be the keyword. Of course if we blow the FA Cup I doubt that there will be any kind of a ceasefire. It's going to be a long season and come May 2015 I would hope that a war of words hadn't escalated into something more damaging.
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