Power, Corruption And Lies Invade The Arsenal Brotherhood
In the immediate aftermath of Wigan, there is little time for reflection with Chelsea’s visit to The Emirates on Saturday lunchtime. An air of negativity pervades Arsenal with the most minor perceived indiscretion magnified out of the correct proportion. Robin van Persie is at the centre of this, the elevated status he holds in the English game not just in the club guaranteeing media focus. His choice of dinner companion; an apparent refusal to shake hands; walking out of the Barcelona team hotel: grist to the media mill. Visiting friends is now a crime against your football club but surely were subterfuge is ruled out by wearing an Arsenal tracksuit? Isn’t it? Apparently not.
The same applies to Jack Wilshere. Not only is he letting the nation down by not being part of England’s ill-fated Euro2012 squad, he is now unlikely to be part of TeamGB which is just a heinous crime for the host country. Yes, I know that the Euros have not taken place yet but this is England we (I) am talking about and since 1970, every campaign has ended badly. And yes I sympathise with Wilshere over the Euros and potentially the Olympics but he is young enough to have more chances. Well, not at the Olympics with the Scots likely to secede from the Union, it will be a TeamEnglandWithOneFromWalesAndABallboyFromNorthernIreland and the EBS (Everyone But Scotland) Olympic Committee will go back to ignoring the football tournament. And this is before we consider Jack’s apparent admiration for Jose Mourinho. This is from a society that thinks little of pressing the ‘Like’ button to open a deluge of spam advertising on social media networks.
The truth is the negativity from outside the club is minimal in impact, the real problem is inside.
And results have not helped. In fact, they are the root cause in particular the stunning ability that the squad has acquired to drop points when you least expect them to. Not that this is particularly new since many an Arsenal side prior to the arrival of Arsène Wenger was adept at this as well. The squads from 1971 – 73 could pull that trick off quite well but were pale by comparison to Don Howe’s squad of 1984 – 86. Ultimately the manager is responsible for the season’s results with a snideness creeping into comments about him being overpaid regardless of the fact that Arsenal managers since the early 1900s have been well paid by comparison to their peers.
The politics of envy spreads its poisonous tendrils throughout the land.
Levity is not readily available. Mikel Arteta has the results of the scans on his ankle made public today, Arsenal bracing themselves for the worst with the manager’s post-match prognosis initially depressing. The Spaniard has been pivotal to the side, missing in five of the eight defeats suffered since he joined late last summer. His experience has proved valuable to the midfield with the deeper lying role giving him a great view of the play and able to influence matters more.
Even this has a downside, the Spaniard’s spell in this country has brought the issue of Premier League experience to the fore which is taking priority in some quarters over actual abilities.
And I understand where this comes from. The midfield has been ravaged by injuries in previous seasons with the effects felt this time around. Wilshere’s absence is compounded by that of Abou Diaby. The Frenchman is infuriating some which is the Arsenal equivalent of starting a fight in an empty room. Where no quarter is given on either side misses the point; that frustration is borne out of the knowledge that Diaby is one of the most talented midfielders that has played for the club. Or potentially was since Dan Smith’s tackle has done its worst to ensure that may never been proven.
Which is before we start with the unforgiving nature of football supporters when players return from serious injuries. Jack Wilshere beware the reaction to Aaron Ramsey.
And all of this will pale into insignificance if Chelsea are defeated on Saturday.
If it is too much to wait until then, Arsenal On This Day tells how the club’s first League title was delivered.