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Arsenal is OUR baby, not yours, Arsene
This isn’t another ranting Arsenal fan who is upset because we lost to WBA ( although I’m not happy about it). It is a letter from a fan who has watched us do this for years and one who is starting to lose heart in a team he adores, and a manager he respects.
I admire you, I really do, but I would ask you to stop treating Arsenal like it’s your baby, start treating it like it truly is. It’s OUR BABY, The fans. I was supporting Arsenal before you came along and I will be supporting them long after you move on. We make the club what it is, it’s our money that gives you the opportunity to do this. You and the board should be running it with us in mind instead of this football experiment you seem to run each season of looking for the perfect game. I truly don’t give a damn if we play the perfect game and lose. I would much watch us scramble get thrown around the pitch (like we did against Bayern) and win, there is a nobility in that fight. Of course it’s nice to watch us play like we did against Man U, but I don’t care as long as we win, or at least put up a fight.
I appreciate everything you have done for our club. But this is your fault, the constant failures each season, the injuries that cause us to fail each year. Why is we are the only team who has this injury problem every year? You can flap your arms, and tell us how upset you are, and how you can’t understand it, but what do you do to change it? From my seat not a lot. You have put yourself in a position no other manager in football has, You are the club, the entire organization revolves around you, you can do anything at Arsenal and no one will say no and yet we still see results like this. We still watch our team fall apart each year, It’s almost as though you enjoy this.
Up to recently you wouldn’t sign anyone over 30 as if your life depended on it, but now you won’t get rid of anyone over 30. Arteta and Flamini have been great in the past for us, but only a blind man couldn’t see they are at the end of their career and past their prime, let alone used as cover for defensive midfield. Coquelin plays in the most violent position on the field and what do you have as back up, two over 30’s (one of which has been hurt all season). Don’t tell us you don’t understand how it happened, that is like an arsonist not understanding why his house burnt down after he set fire to it.
I know you had to repay the stadium, but that was then, I was with you on it, but that doesn’t work as an excuse anymore. I’m not so sure how much longer I can support you, we have money, players were out there and you didn’t buy them, why was that? Was it just to show us fans you know better than we do. That view looks a little inept now doesn’t it. I know our team is good, we have great players, just no enough of them for an entire season, you seem to be the only person who can’t see this.
There are two reasons I watch Arsenal, One is I adore them, I have been a fan for 48 years, I watched them in the 70’s when we really weren’t good and all we had to look forward to was not being relegated, I watched them in the late 90’s when we were great, I LOVE this team, there has never been another team to have even come close to how I feel about Arsenal, good bad or indifferent this is my team. I even appreciate us coming in fourth every year as I know it’s not easy, but it’s time that being fourth isn’t good enough, you have run out of excuses to keep me as a fan of yours.
The second reason is I spend 90 minutes a week to get away from my crappy life, I watch football and Arsenal to lose myself in the game. You haven’t made the second reason much fun for quite a few years, I don’t expect us to win all our games, I don’t even expect us to win the league every year, but I don’t expect us to struggle and lose to WBA, Sheffield Wednesday and teams like this. I’m not angry when we lose to these teams, I’m disheartened and sad and that is worse as the feeling doesn’t leave me.
I only ask one thing of you Mr Wenger, FIX IT. We are a great team, it’s time that we played that way again. No more excuses please, no more telling us it upsets you, because to be honest we don’t care and to be honest I don’t think it upsets you nearly as much as its upsets most of us. Please don’t tell us we couldn’t do any better, we aren’t the ones being paid millions of pounds to do it. You are the manager, you have the power, you have the ability and it’s your job to get us winning. Remember this isn’t your team, you are the caretaker of Arsenal for millions of fans, and you have taken care of it in the past, we will never forget that, but please take care of it now for the future.
Wade (wow this got maudlin fast) AFC for life
Leicester and Vardy are actually sh*t, guys
Can we please take a collective deep breath and calm down about Leicester and Jamie Vardy?
Below is the list of teams Leicester have played thus far:
From those 13, only one (possibly two) will trouble the top four this season, and Leicester were hammered against Arsenal. No Utd, City, Liverpool, Everton, Chelsea.
Of last season’s top 10, Leicester have played 5 (Arsenal, Spurs, Saints, Palace and Stoke), and Arsenal apart the weaker five, and picked up six points. They’ll be lucky to pick another six against Utd, City, Chelsea et al.
In a season where none of the big clubs have thus far hit real form, and where the league’s leading strikers are either injured (Aguero and Costa) or frankly crap (Rooney), Leicester’s form just isn’t that impressive judged against who they’ve played. Sunderland, Villa, Bournemouth and Norwich will all be relegation threatened. Newcastle will likely be the same, as will Watford.
A quarter of a season of racking up points and goals against weak teams doesn’t merit the response it has elicited. They’re on a good run, they’re not going to turn the league upside down.
If they’re any higher than eighth come May I’ll be shocked.
Stop calling Vardy silly
Jamie Vardy. Roy of the Rovers. Five years ago, he was playing for Bedlington Terriers under-11s and now he’s set/equalled a long-standing Premier League goalscoring record.
In the current age, football is very different to what it was, and the position of clubs in the overall hierarchy is far less mobile than it used to be. We are frequently told that the game is not like it was, and the likes of Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest are regularly heralded for achieving what is now impossible. What this has led to is both an acceptance of and a commitment to the idea of elitism within football. So, when someone has the audacity to progress from their peripheral, humble beginnings to the centre of football’s elite, it is described as silly and anomalous. And I find this reaction very boring.
Indeed, more generally, whenever a little team is successful, it is regarded as a disturbing of the established order, an unsustainable burst of success. The very word ‘unsustainable’ has been in evidence in most pieces I have read about Harry Kane and more recently Vardy. It is simply impossible to just appreciate something for what it is, and instead it has to be viewed through the prism of pessimism, tinged with the very patronising certainty that it won’t last and things will soon be back to normal. The clear implication is that in some way, this lot are untalented imposters corrupting a world in which they don’t belong.
With the financial muscle possessed by the elite, it is more difficult than ever for Kane or Vardy to do what they have done. Yet here we are. That these scenarios have happened at all is enough to disempower even the most committed armchair (or real) pundit. No one, apart from possibly Jamie Vardy, would have predicted this incredible series of events to have happened at the start of the season. And because the whole situation defies logic, who is anyone to say that the bubble will burst, Leicester will return to their predefined mediocre place in football’s hierarchy, and Vardy will end up back at Fleetwood? Football is a wonderfully unpredictable game, and whenever something like this happens, the response should be one of genuine respect, rather than basically mocking someone who has worked hard enough to progress as far as they have. Wherever Vardy has come from, wherever he will end up, he has laughed in the face of the established order in football. He gives hope to every less fancied club or player that is out there. He has proven that football is still football, and you possibly don’t know what will happen next.
Ed, Oxford (BHAFC still unbeaten, that’s unpredictability for you!)
The heavyweight champion of the Premier League?
With the Klitschko v Fury heavyweight showdown this weekend, I thought I’d check who is the reigning “boxing style” Premier League champion and against who the “belt” is going to be defended this weekend. I am aware that this has been done before but this season has been crazy enough to undertake this exercise again to see where the “title” rests.
We start off with Chelsea as the reigning champion. Chelsea drew with Swansea in the opening round retaining the title (unfortunately no wins via unanimous/split decision points by the judges). Man City TKO’d Chelsea in the second round. Man City successfully defended the “title” in rounds three (Everton), four (Watford) and five (Crystal Palace). In a stunning upset of the (not quite) Buster Douglas proportions, West Ham took the “title” in round six. West Ham, somewhat unconvincingly, held on to the title by way of draws against Norwich and Sunderland but rebounded with an emphatic knock-out of Crystal Palace in round nine. Round 10 saw West Ham come up against the “former champ” Chelsea. A closely fought affair which saw West come out on top only for Buster to reappear in round 11 in the form of Watford. Unsurprisingly Watford’s hold on the belt was short-lived when they came up against the “raging bull” of Jamie Vardy and Leicester City. The first “title” defence by Leicester saw them make short shrift of Newcastle. All of this brings us to the coming weekend where Leicester defends its “title” against the you guessed it second placed Man United.
There’s well “nothing to see here” and we are “as you were”. I just wasted the last 20 minutes of my time. Oh well, I had fun.
“Lllllllllllllllet’s get ready to rumble…
Rashad, LFC, Johannesburg
This year is our year
Looking at the next 6 fixtures in the league has got me full of optimism.
West Brom [H]
It’s the kind of fixture list that says we could be top of the league come the New Year. Though nothing is a given this season, the prospect of having a fit Christian Benteke, Jordan Henderson, and Daniel Sturridge gives me hope we can finish the year strong.
Brian (All I want for Christmas is a liver bird atop the premier league tree) LFC
(Even the fixture list is laughing at you – Ed)
Any other rivals love Jurgen?
Please please tell me that I’m not the only opposition supporter that loves Jurgen Klopp. The guy just oozes class without the arrogance or hubris we’ve come to expect from people in positions such as his. Do I want Liverpool to fail? Sure I do. Do I want him to be a success in England? Yes and no. I mean how do you root against this guy? But that means success for Liverpool and we just can’t be having that.
Tell me there’s at least one Everton, Arsenal or Manchester United supporter somewhere that thinks the same thing about Klopp. Tell me I’m not going to have to be committed and undergo counseling for such blasphemous thoughts.
Swing slam-dunkingly yours,
TX Bill EFC
Wenger you loser
Perfect assessment of Wenger in the losers section. Reasons like those are why I’m so relieved I don’t have to sit though this season feeling infuriated at Arsenal. I’ve seen this film before.
I definitely picked the right season to be a neutral, this Leicester/Vardy stuff really is silly/brilliant.
CJR, Ex-AFC, (Mertesacker is one of the worst CB’s in the league)
Newcastle: Too scared
Earlier this year I wrote of my bafflement that Newcastle had lost to Sheffield Reserves in the league cup. Clearly at Newcastle there are players with some ability. De Jong has captained Ajax and Gini has captained PSV. Mugs don’t captain champions league clubs. It was the most bizarre experience of my time following Newcastle. The kind of result that makes you suspect something is deeply wrong at your club. Except we have no insider gossip explaining it like they do at Sunderland (where The Secret Footballer has reported its an open secret inside football that many of the first team are on the sauce). So what’s deeply wrong at Newcastle?
I watched the 1-0 over the Bournemouth and was also baffled as it was probably the most one sided game I’ve watched that didn’t involve FC Barcelona…..and the better team lost. Like everyone I scratched my head until it became obvious. Bournemouth’s strikers were just off target….no mystery, just failure to beat the keeper over and over again.
But there’s something else that was noticeable in that game. – NUFC long balls out of the defence. We barely touched the ball in Bournemouth’s half because everytime a Newcastle player got the ball the cleared it long and it came straight back. Now when this doesn’t work, when it just adds more and more pressure…the logical thing would be to try something different. But the players didn’t. Which brings me to what I suspect is wrong. The players are scared.
They are too scared to take risks playing out of defence. They are too scared to play confidently and they are being destroyed because of it. Many of the players have been decent at Newcastle in the past. Going through the squad, there are only a few that stick at as “not cut out for this level” or who have not performed at least “ok” in the premier league in the past. We have a mid-table squad.
They are performing as a relegation squad. I think its in their minds. To McClaren’s credit he has at least been proactive about this in appointing Steve Black, but it isn’t working. I wonder if what we are seeing at NUFC is a “cluster” of players who are mentally fragile. Any player can lose confidence. What’s happened at NUFC is the whole squad seems to have forgotten they are rather good at football.
There is a defiant “normalisation” of losing going on. When the team goes down a goal, they down tools and let another stack in. When we lose, we lose big. Because the players don’t believe they can get back in the game.
No one at the club backs themselves anymore.
The answer is of course to have the warrior mentality (Guttierez anyone?). Fight or kiss the career goodbye. That’s the choice in front of NUFC players now. No decent club will buy players who play scared.
Hugo (NUFC) Adelaide
Reminiscing over the Canaries
Hoffi from Finland asks if any team has risen from the bottom to the top of the league faster than Leicester. Although I don’t think Norwich actually hit rock bottom in 1991-1992, the canaries finished the campaign in 18th place, just three points above relegation.
Going into the new, inaugural Premier League the following season, Norwich were the bookies favourites to go down. Like Leicester, we had a new manager. Unlike Leicester, our new man didn’t boast a glossy CV gleaned from the Premier League, Serie A, La Liga and Ligue 1. Mike Walker’s only previous dalliance in management resulted in him being sacked at Colchester, and was boss of the Youth team before being promoted to the hot seat at Carrow Road.
Against all odds, Norwich were 8 points clear at the top of the table by early December (hairs standing up on the back of my neck as I type), and were league leaders in late March before finally faltering and finishing an ultimately disappointing 3rd.
I’m enjoying Leicester’s rise to the top as much as anyone, and long may it continue. It’s a hell of a ride …. enjoy it while it lasts!
Richard, NCFC … those were the days …
Five things we learned
The five most effective weekend tactical changes.
On the internet’s football pages “The five…” is usually followed by “… talking points on game X”. The level of insight usually makes me cry sad tears.
You guys make me cry happy tears. Something similar every week please. You da best.
Ask two simple questions
Can Spurs win the league? Do Everton have the most exciting squad in England? The real question should be is Matt Stead also responsible for the equally mental #SSNHQ questions?
The definitive quote on possession
The main thing I like about Johhny Nic’s latest article is that it gives me the opportunity to use one of the all time greatest quotes .
One night, I went to a bar, I was with a woman. We talked all night. We laughed, we flirted, I paid for several drinks of hers
“At around 5am, a guy came in, grabbed her by the arm and took her to the bathroom. He made love to her and she left with him. That doesn’t matter, because I had most of the possession on that night.”
That ‘s it in a nutshell say no more…..
Timi MUFC (Sampioali is a genius)
What is a ‘European style’?
I know the Guardian got a bit of a kicking in today’s Mediawatch, but it is generally an excellent source of insightful articles on football, with its European coverage being (IMO) excellent.
Anyway, I was reading a piece on Montella being announced as the new Sampdoria boss, and was struck by a quote about the new manager – “He is the only one who plays a European style in Italy”.
We complain about English managers not having the nous to take on ideas from the foreigns – is this also a view held in Italy? Also, what is a ‘European’ style of football? Most people seem to use ‘European style’ to describe possession based football, but plenty of Italian teams are capable of keeping the ball, as are English teams.
So, what is a European style of football, and is there any team that best illustrates this?
Jack (Confused) Manchester
Leave Lawro alone
Regarding The excellent Mediawatch, 23/11. Don’t get me wrong, I find Lawro’s predictions as tedious as the next person and quite like to play a game of guess the Lawro score each week (I’m actually much better that this than actual scores). However, if he has 10 out of 38 correct 1-1 scores and odds are usually a minimum of 5/1 or higher (Palace v Sunderland 13/2 tonight for instance) if you had put £1 on 1-1 everytime Lawro predicted you would have at least £22 profit by now. Probably better than most are doing with betting on the crazy season!
James (watch the 1-1 stop completely now) LUFC converted to PSG by the lovely Zlatan, Paris
Hi, a quick note on the always hilarious Mark Lawrenson predictions. He was being interviewed on an Irish radio station (TodayFM) on Saturday and was asked about his chances of winning this week since he was up against a wrestler. He does not like doing it and admitted to basically phoning them in every week. It would explain a lot.
Kev (as for the rest of his nonsense……)