The season is underway for two months now and, to use a cliché, it has been a roller-coaster of a ride. It is always hard to predict how a season will go, but it is made even more difficult when the summer preparation period is cut short as a result of our stars’ world cup endeavours and a number of key signings have to be assimilated into the team. We are in October now, and to be fair, I have not got much more of a clue how it all will end for Arsenal come May.
It all started well with beating MC convincingly – and in style – in the Charity Shield and qualifying once again for the CL group stage (by huffing and puffing though). CL qualification proved to be an energy-sapping, nervy exercise for players and manager, which has had an impact on our results in the PL. We did not lose any of our games during that time, but we dropped valuable points in Leicester and Liverpool. Drawing at Goodison Park is of course nothing to be ashamed about, and so is drawing against MC and Spuds at home. However, losing against the Chavs is always painful; but again, in a competition of 38 games, this is not a disaster as yet.
The one thing that will be constant, however, is the high level of expectations across the Gooner-family. Winning the FA-cup and finishing in the top four once again last season, and not selling our key players (well except Mr Reliable who now heats up the thighs of Les autres former Gunner benchwarmers) and buying a number of good quality players during the summer, have raised our expectations to a very high level.
We all know that having high expectations for almost anything in life is usually a recipe for disappointment, sadness and anger, but most of us just cannot help ourselves. Having high hopes is still very different from high expectations, but so is the impact on our state of happiness during the season.
The problem is of course that Maureen and his expensively assembled troops are flying at the moment, having created a gap of nine points between us and them already. This hurts and makes us feel that we can forget about this year’s PL title after just seven PL games. And yes, if the Chavs keep this up then nobody will catch them, including us. But let’s not give up till the very end: karma might settle the bill sooner or later with the Southern Oilers and their self-adoring manager. We will need a mini-miracle, though.
On top of that, our injury voodoo continues to plague us (what have Arsenal done to deserve this?). The loss of OG was massive. Love him or hate him, he is the first player on the team sheet in attack in Arsene’s current version of Wenger-ball. I reckon we missed him tremendously from a systemic point of view. Welbeck has done a very good job, though. He is a different sort of player than OG; and especially against the top teams we have missed the French Lighthouse and ‘Midfield Enabler’ a lot.
Theo’s seemingly never-ending injury has hurt us a lot as well, and the initially out of form and now injured key midfielders, Ramsey and Arteta, have also left the team weaker. On top of all of that, our experienced signing for RB, Debuchy, is another long-term injured first team player; and Gibbs and Monreal seem to exchange the injury-bug between them constantly…. And now, yes would you fecking believe it, Mesut is also out for up to three months….
So to sum it all up, and I am not doing this to make us feel sorry for ourselves, we will not have available for a few weeks till a few months (and those that will return sooner will still need to settle back in and stay injury free): Ozil, Arteta, Ramsey, Giroud, Debuchy, Theo and a few others like Monreal, Sanogo etc.
Reason to despair or throw in the towel? Of course not!
Let’s look at it like this: those who are left behind will be able to play a lot and nail down a starting position for the time being, maybe even for the rest of the season. The likes of Chambers, Welbeck, Jack, Gibbs and even Santi, will all have a great opportunity to put their stamp on the team (again). Grab it boys, grab it!
On top of that, we can start a new phase all the way into January, with a series of winnable (but never to be underestimated) games in which the team can put their teeth and fight for every three points on the ‘OGAAT’ basis.
And that, my fine fellow Gooners, is what we need: a succession of winnable games, a passionate and highly skilled team with their backs against the wall, and a PL points gap that needs closing. Tick, Tick, Tick.
It was my plan to write a post about how we have to be able to fit in all three of Jack, Ozil and Alexis; but with the latest Ozil news, this has become more or less superfluous. The team almost picks itself now, which I reckon will be a good thing for the next phase of the season.
I am still disappointed that we lost marginally against the Chavs, even though the players and manager did us proud on the day imo. I wish we had drawn fewer games in the PL until now. I am simply flabbergasted at the number and duration of our first team injuries, and I remain disappointed that we did not buy a proper DM once again this summer.
But, no regrets, not false sentiments, no self-pity: instead, forwards and onwards!
I cannot wait till this inter-lull is over and we start anew. Take the bull by the horns and let the likes of Szczesny, BFG, Koz, Gibbs, Flamini, Chambers, Jack, Ox, Welbeck, Alexis, Santi, Rosicky, and whoever joins the core-team from the overpopulated sick-bay and youth ranks, to go on a run and do the shirt proud.
Forget about titles and silverware.
It is time to put our sleeves up: to plough, to sow and to plant – to find the inner-team animal and fight for every point. That is what football, and being a Gooner, is all about: the here, the now: the (bi-)weekly battles, the fight, the passion, the joy, the support, the beauty, the victories, the disappointments, and the hope rather than the expectations of winning something in the end.
‘Men talk about Bible miracles because there is no miracle in their lives. Cease to gnaw that crust. There is ripe fruit over your head.’ Thoreau
Written by: TotalArsenal.