Well well well … 2-0 up somehow! 2-1, 2-2, 2-3 oh wait 3-3, miss a last minute penalty (which wasn’t a penalty). End result- 11 games and 16 points, Arsenal’s worst start to a season. Almost one third of the season is gone and we are down the dumps. We are already out of the title race and even the most positive of the optimists would have to concede that our season is over atleast in the league, for now. And I think it is ok if we the fans think that way but sadly the players are having that mind-set even before we did!
There was a sense of dread around the Emirates with the anxiety, booing, tension just by this lack of intensity and enthusiasm by the lads. Fulham just started the match on the fifth gear like it was their own home ground and somehow we managed to put in two goals. But after that it was pretty much the Berbatov and Ruiz show. They had all the time in the world, there was no Alex Song to press them constantly. Meanwhile, they were pressing us to the extent that we had to keep passing back to the defenders who themselves were pressed to pass to Mannone.
I was hoping we would redeem ourselves and have a convincing win but even after 2-0, I was still not cheered up and the notion around the room of Arsenal fans with me was still the same. We weren’t going to jump in joy until what the score line and performance was after 90 minutes. And well we weren’t disappointed but just sighing with the missed penalty and basically summing up our seasons for the past few years, so close yet so far. So talented yet so wasteful.
I can’t put my finger on what is wrong with what is happening. But one thing is for sure, we lack passion and commitment and that can’t be covered with the excuse of having no or low confidence. Because just a few weeks ago- we were firing on all cylinders. I think the Scotsman at Old Trafford runs a regimen of discipline and demands 110% week in and week out. Our own boss, Mr. Arsene Wenger once upon a time would not even allow the likes of ketchup and chocolate in the stomachs of his squad members, but yet I am completely surprised at how we have the likes of Santos and other slightly unfit members in our squad. That would have been a complete no-no in his prime days of management. He used to have control and bring fear even among the toughest of men (Keown, Parlour, Vieira), he used to demand respect from those grown men. Somehow, he has turned from Master to a father figure having nurtured the likes of Cesc, Nasri, Theo.. Maybe he has softened his aggression and expects aesthetic and beautiful football to win. Even our Invincibles squad (2003-04) had to show grit to win some of their “vs Stoke or Bolton” matches. That is lacking in our squad.
Some of you may think it may be asking too much of our squad, but 10 years ago, Arsenal made no excuses. Arsenal set the standard for English football. Arsenal defined the beautiful game that is football. Barcelona are just the new showmen in that sense. The current or somewhat newly joined Arsenal fans should not give in to lowered standards of success (if any) of our club. Arsenal FC was one of the best, if not the best club in the world. I’d like to think we still are. So do not expect less, do not be satisfied. We are the Arsenal. If Arsenal runs through your blood, those four words should send a chill down your spine and know that we were once proud, feared and respected. Victoria Concordia Crescit – DAMMIT that used to mean something now it is just transfer issues, wage problems and feeder club labels. We cannot pin our hopes of resurrection on one young already burdened shoulder of Jack Wilshere, although I am sure he will give it all to get us there. I like most others pray and wait to see Arsenal and its crest flying high in England, Europe … the World where it really belongs. This is your Gunner Az signing off, until next week’s North London Derby. Adios….