Stone Cold Friday: Making Lemonade From Bitter Lemons
Is he a man or is he a mouse? Let’s put a piece of cheese on the floor and find out. ….here’s Darius.
If ever there was a necessary destruction to the anti-climax of the season, the circus in town today must surely be a bemusing antidote to a very painful week. Anything that talks about how an unsuspecting Catherine is about to sign her date with destiny has to be better than listening to the untold bollocks being spewed about Arsenal left, right and centre.
I’ve struggled somewhat to make sense of the fallout from last Sunday, with the conclusion that the doctrine of equal opportunity forces us to live and work alongside cretins and imbeciles. I can actually rationalise the disappointment of the collapse of the title run in; for the simple reason that we can chew the fat over what needs to happen and look forward to the changes abound. It’s part and parcel of football.
What is baffling is the abuse and sheer vitriol being unleashed to Arsenal fans in some quarters by all and sundry. It’s open season on Arsenal. Even a taxi driver, who has never spoken to me on any topic more exciting than the weather, has the balls to tell me to get rid of my Arsenal shirt as it’s pretty much useless. This, of course, after professing that he’s a Swindon Town supporter.
Another ACLF regular I spoke to during the week described how he was abused for the misfortune of watching Sunday’s game at a family function, where he was outnumbered by fans of teams not on Arsenal’s Christmas card list. It’s almost like there’s a divine right to take the piss out of Arsenal right on cue from the nonsense spouted by the media.
“So what are you going to do – it’s been 7 years”, I was asked at work.
What do you mean, what am I going to do. I’ll watch and support my team every week until the end of the season, dust myself off and start supporting them again next season. What the hell do you expect me to do?
That “haven’t won a trophy in x years” nonsense is just bang out of order now. No-one bitches about Liverpool who not only have not won anything for going 6 years now; they have never won the premier league or any title in 2 decades. Apart from Chelsea and United who have collectively spent more than the GDP of some developing countries, no one else has won the damn title since.
Our team has issues to deal with, and addressing what needs sorting out is a matter that must be given serious attention. Aside from that, we as fans can debate and pontificate about what needs to happen until the cows come home. It’s what makes us all love Arsenal, whether we vent our spleens in anger, or enjoy the magnificent football that we’ve come to expect.
Arsène’s shopping list has already been created for him and it makes comical reading for most part. The usual suspects like Shay Given, Gary Cahill and Scottie Parker are bandied about as players that Wenger must sign to guarantee that Arsenal win a trophy. Frankly speaking if any of these guys were as good as they’re trumped up to be, Given would be in goal for City every week, Cahill would have been snapped up by now, and Parker the Hammer’s Superman would have got his team well out of the relegation zone. These guys are not as good as they’re made to be.
The nonsense smirks of “Arsène – get some goddamn British grit”, an implied suggestion that Arsenal’s dilemma can be solved by getting ‘ard men, who have never come close to winning something themselves.
My take has always been that our deficiencies are not on the physical or the technical aspects of the game. The team is very capable of giving as good as it gets – classic examples being the home and return legs against Everton and Birmingham this season. The question mark has been that of the mental aptitude to cross to the next level and complete that last mile.
But it’s déjà vu talking about this and knowing that the longer it goes on, the harder it will get. From a strategy point of view, Arsenal doesn’t even have to win the games against our closest title challengers in the season. The games that cost us are the ones we drop points against lower opposition that we can and should be better than.
The job for this season is not yet over, and when done, I do look forward to seeing what changes are abound for the new campaign. It’s simplistic just to suggest that if we brought in new players, then our issues will be resolved. I think it has to be a combination of a few new faces and an almost regimental drilling on the training ground.
When we talk of maturity, I’d like to see the team know when to call it a day and close a game out and how to be calm about it. I’d like to see them know when it’s better to play for a draw or change tact to slow the game and wind things down. I’d like them to surprise opponents and flummox them with the unconventional to deal with those who don’t come to play football.
We have players who can rival the best crooks in the world when it comes to unpicking locked doors – and we need to get better at dealing with those who come to park the company tractor and pull down the hatches.
It’s all to look forward to – and until then, the team must make the best out of what is left of the season. At the least, they owe us some good football.