Arsenal 0 – Southampton 0 What remains to be said? What’s left to support?

Plenty I think, but a whole lot less if you poke around the Goonersphere.  Thinking about Piers Morgan dancing naked (if Giroud scores against Barcelona) takes away almost all my poking desire…

I watched the match last night and I actually tried to convey what I saw as it was happening in the live-blog format set up by my partner in crime, Total Arsenal.  This came after I wrote a match preview the day before.  Too much writing, perhaps, on a topic over which I have no control.

This is how I see it:  Arsenal will play a match; Arsene Wenger will put out a team to try and get a result; things will happen in that match and Arsenal will come away with 3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw and no points for a loss.  Our rivals will also play and come away with their results.

And then we will react.

At the stadium, some fans will boo, others will applaud the effort.

In the Goonersphere, an echo chamber of extreme proportions, so called super-fans will trot out their narratives of self-indulgence and perpetual dissatisfaction.  Had we won our last four league matches it would have been something along the lines of, “Liverpool and Chelsea are woeful this season, and it’s only Stoke and Southampton, so I’m still unimpressed.”   That we’ve dropped points in all those matches means that Wenger is a stingy idiot, placing his faith in players who are obviously not up to it and a thousand variations on the theme.

Predictable as the tides.

Here at Bergkampesque, for the most part, those folks are mostly gone from the comment section.  We do have one who still comes around–I shan’t name names–and I actually have a lot of respect for him.  He’s a very strong writer and I’m pretty sure English isn’t his first language.  Let’s call him BKPC (for Bergkampesque’s Piers Claude)….

PC and I share some VERY similar views on the actual football and our assessments of many of Arsenal’s players are often very much in line, we just differ in our reaction to (those pesky) results.  My inkling is to keep things as level as possible, trying to see the good through my frustrations and seeing areas for improvement even when things go our way (which, if I recall, can happen at Arsenal…)

PC and I had some heated back and forth during and after the disappointing Chelsea match.  In fact, given his reaction to that one, I was awfully surprised that he seemed so excited about our chances in the upcoming Champions League ties against Barcelona.  It’s hard to say how he’s feeling today, but post So’ton comments have seemed to focus on Wenger’s stinginess and a belief that the next manager will be a freer spender.

A day on from the match I will repeat my most boring of retorts.  Management serves at the behest of ownership and WalMart is closing stores, so, if the order to sell comes down, it could be from Sam Walton’s son-in-law, perhaps.  Unless that figure departs, future managers may well be limited by the ambitions of our majority shareholder.  Let’s also recall that Stan Kroenke has just finagled a way to move the St. Louis Rams back to Los Angeles.  Aren’t there some major European cities who could use a new football team?  With Pep gone to Manchester (and weakening Bayern Munich, we suppose…) why not Arsenal Berlin?  Anybody?

It’s a weakness, getting drawn in like that, and surely PC will show my argument to be a silly one.

We’ve already had back and forth about buying in the Summer window but now the issue (maybe) is the window just closed, I can’t quite tell.  We should have bought but I can’t tell who exactly?  Do we still need back-up for Coquelin, a guy whose only contribution was to be about five minutes late in the only tackle he attempted?   Is getting Schneiderlin away from Man U the answer?  They beat Stoke last night, after all, and will surely overtake us.  Did Schneiderlin play?  Who knows?  Even if he didn’t, even if we’re still above them in the table, it doesn’t matter.  Wenger should have done something, anything, different.

What I get is this:

We watch Arsenal because we want to feel good.

Win = feel good + hope for more winning which will make me feel good again, with caveats or warnings or recipes for how we can win, of course.  Ummmm, feel good (though not quite good enough, unless we KEEP winning)… Me like (but dammit, me still nervous over the next match…)

Lose or draw = Rant; Everything is shite; Blame players, blame manager, blame supporters who think players are good enough, blame everything… Me feel better?  I wonder…

Nothing personal, PC, it’s just what people do.  It’s no better and no worse than the way I choose to cope with my disappointment.  Truly, nothing personal, and, like I say, I agree with many of your observations, assessments, etc.

Still, here at Bergkampesque, the task (I think) is to try and find the beauty in the football.  Personally I saw some last night even if, oh so painfully, the ball never rippled the Southampton net, which would have been the most beautiful sight of all.

I saw players doing what they could for the badge (and, dare I say it, for the manager who believes in them).

I saw world class players: Ozil, Alexis and Cech, trying to do things on their own and by lifting their teammates to try and get that goal.  Alexis to Ozil in the first half was one of the most breathtaking first touches I’ve seen…

I saw players just below that level: Koscielny, Giroud and Monreal, trying to do what they could to supply what was required.

I saw young players from diverse cultures: Gabriel, Campbell and Bellerin, perhaps intimidated by the wrath they knew would come their way if they screwed up in front of the home crowd, trying to make the right choices and execute the correct passes, shots and tackles.  (Even Coquelin, with that very, very late one, was making a decision and trying to realize the vision in his mind…)

And I saw older professionals: Walcott, Ramsey and Flamini, never ones to have every touch come off, do what they could to try and make them work–or make the next one work or, dammit, get that ball they just gave away back under their control.

In a certain way, it WAS beautiful.

There are moments in life, when all is against you, even the dumb luck that makes a shot which (finally) eludes the most in-form goalkeeper (in the world?…) but is cleared off the line by a player who just happens to be in the right place at the right time, where you have to say, “at least I fought the good fight, and, given more time on the clock (or another match…) I will keep fighting it.”

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, blah, blah, blah…

So, if you take comfort in Not.Good.Enough or Should.Have.Bought. or any other truth which you hold dear, More.Power.To.You.

For me, while I would have set the team up differently (see match preview) or may not have full faith in the full range of characters and find myself often quite critical of the football on display (see in-match comments, first half, especially…),  I remain inspired by the fight I see in this Arsenal team and I will be there on Sunday (5:30 am kickoff in my time zone) to do it again, powerless as I will be to control the outcome or my reaction to it.

Your mileage may vary, of course, but, if you return, there must be a reason, there must be something positive you see that says, “This is how I want to spend my time and energy (and, perhaps, my money)…, i.e., there must be something I’m getting from this.”  If not, there are other forms of entertainment with MUCH more plausible happy endings… Hell, if you ‘believe’ in Pep Guardiola, there’s even an English Football team you could start to follow…

But, if you can find that good bit, that glimmer of beauty and draw it out and share it, I want to be the first to salute you and your effort.  I also (somewhat desperately…) encourage you to share it here on Bergkampesque as I’m getting awfully tired of the obverse–almost to the point of believing that most gooners (note the lowercase…) or at least the louder ones who dominate our interweb, perhaps don’t deserve a winning team.

Go on then… 😀

by 17highburyterrace

31 thoughts on “Arsenal 0 – Southampton 0 What remains to be said? What’s left to support?

  • BKers, I am having computer problems and 17HT has stepped in with a fine post about seeking beauty rather than a stick to hit the manager and the team with. Cheers buddy and happy birthday!! 🎂

  • 22 shots, 11 on target, no goals… Just one of those nights. I am disappointed because we needed the three points but how can I be angry at anyone? Eleven shots on target were somehow kept out, the boys fought till the end but it wasn’t to be. I have every faith in Giroud, Alexis, Ozil, Rambo and Theo scoring our goals to lead to us to the title, or there about, and I know they will give their all for the shirt, and I cannot ask for more.

  • 17ht,

    I had thought this was just another of those ranting posts, as most of the page was in bold..

    I agree that hitting the manager is wrong, and the boos around the stadium makes it even worse. Rambo has switched to new balance boots, and it seems it is not as good as other boots, which have done Rambo a big favour.

    We seriously cannot find a goal scorer who is in form right now. So to sack the manager or put in more target training? I will choose the latter, thank you very much.

    Previously i had questioned the decisions that Le Prof has made during the last few games, and its due to the need to rotate that makes him make those decisions.

    So, back Wenger up, maybe write in to Arsenal to have a look at the backroom staff and see what they are doing, and then comment after that.


  • 17ht. Can’t help thinking you are getting a little to hung up on this. At the end of the day we all have different points of view and that’s what makes the world go around.

    I didn’t see the game, but listened to the commentary on Arsenal Player. It sounded like we had lots of opportunities, but their keeper played a blinder. I probably had a bad day yesterday, but listening to the commentary it seemed to me it just wasn’t going to be our day and if left me feeling a little flat. You would have to be a total glass half full person to be happy about the last four results. It certainly hasn’t improved my mood. That said I am still confident that we can win the League, let’s be honest no team is consistently playing well (well maybe Leicester and Spurs).

    As for the reason I support Arsenal… Simple i have absolutely no choice in the matter, it’s in the blood.

    As you raised Coquelin, I will throw my thoughts in. In my opinion, the single most important player in the team. It was coquelin returning from loan that turned last season around and the recent drop in form has coincided with him being injured. I know he’s not pretty to watch, not particularly talented when he has the ball, but he adds a discipline and steel to the team which to my mind is sadly lacking elsewhere. I doubt many will agree with me, but hey that’s what makes life interesting. Not necessarily Scneiderlin, but to my mind Wenger screwed up when he didn’t buy cover for him.

    As I started off, we are all different and that to me is what makes a blog interesting. T A and yourself put a tremendous amount of effort into the blog (I know I couldn’t) and that does give T A in particular to control the mood/direction of what is said.

    Personally whilst I don’t always agree with ( he who shall not be named). I enjoy his posts and do agree with a lot of the things he says. In fact I think it’s fair to say that last sentence summarises my opinion of most of the bloggers on here.

    If we all agreed on everything it would get pretty boring. You my thoughts.

  • Congrats, 17 (or, perhaps I should call you Bergkampesque’s Cesc Mourinho 😛 ), at least I inspired you to make a post. 😀

    I admit, BCM, it’s all my fault.

    It’s my fault that we are five points off the top in the season where the trophy has been out there to win.

    It’s my fault that Theo Walcott wants to play as a striker and earns 100.000 pounds per week with a single season with 20+ goals by his name (if you want to raise the argument of injuries, you’ll be checkmated with a simple reply: “If he is injury prone, why we rely on him so much?”).

    It’s my fault that Arsene Wenger has counted on Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini even if he should have known enough about their quality from their performances in the first half of the last season. You know, the half in which we had lost any chance to win the league.

    It’s my fault that most of the Gooners could predict what would happen with our title challenge when the things go rough.

    It’s my fault that Arsene Wenger can’t beat a Dutch manager unless his name is Louis van Gaal (OK, this one could be TA’s fault 😀 ).

    It’s my fault that we have failed to score in almost one third of our league games this season.

    It’s my fault that our players get injured on the daily basis, miss most of the season and after their return they “surprisingly” suffer a set-back that – how odd! – usually coincides with the closing of the transfer window so no replacement for them can be purchased.

    It’s my fault that we have the second highest paid manager in the world of football while he preaches socialistic wage structure.

    It’s my fault, I admit.

    I know that it’s not my fault we didn’t sign a world-class striker. No sir! The journalists who hadn’t done the scouting for Arsene before the transfer window closed and the world-class strikers themselves who hadn’t screamed: “I am a world-class striker, Arsene, sign me!” while tearing apart contracts with their respective clubs should share the blame for that!

    We all know who is the only one not to be blamed, right? 🙂

  • I think any team that can amass 22 shots against a team as solid as Southampton is actually playing pretty well. I’m totally confident that we can overtake Man City, Leicester and Spurs and win this league.

    Do we watch Arsenal because we want to feel good? Not so sure about that; for me it’s because I have to watch them. I could no more support another team than I could change my skin colour or reverse time. I’ve been supporting the team since George Graham’s days (as a player) and I supported the team through the 70’s and 80’s when we were mid-table most of the time and Liverpool won everything. Now my kids also support the Arsenal and they will never be able to change either.

    The people that annoy me the most are the privileged losers who are so fortunate to get to see the Arsenal live at the Emirates Stadium, and instead of appreciating how very lucky they are, all they can do is whine and moan and not even support the team. I’ve been to games, such as the incredibly tight playoff match where NZ qualified for the 2010 World Cup in Wellington, where crowd support is so powerful a force that it is like having an extra player on the pitch. If you don’t support your team, why the hell are you wasting a seat that somebody else could use?

    It know that it really makes a difference to the players during the games, and getting that supportive culture around the team is important both in the ground and outside of it, including online. Yes it’s fun to imagine the stars of the world game coming to our club, but most of all let’s get behind our team and our players, and just sit back and appreciate the good times that we have been enjoying under Arsene Wenger.


  • Retsub, absolutely nothing wrong with differing opinions… but couldn’t we have a measure of respect for one another and not (always) kick the hopeful when we’re down?… Your assessment of the match equals my own and I have no fecking idea why AW started some of the people he chose to start… I’ll try to watch myself in terms of avoiding the hang-ups…

    Admir, sorry, but it is absolutely NOT your fault… In fact, you have just as much control over things as I do… ZERO… 😀 I hope the next manager gets us improved results, I worry that he won’t and we can argue all the subtleties this implies over time, if we’re still at it… Something keeps you coming back, I’m only asking you to give that element a nod, now and again… To have each result lead to a recapitulation of every possible past mistake seems like nothing but an exercise in torture. As if it’s ALL MY FAULT for suggesting the manager has some successes to match all the failures…

    More Smileys…

    Bottom line, I feel confident in my assessment of the bigger picture issues, but I’m happy to learn more and open to ideas even as vague as we should have bought better players–if others can be open to ideas like the confidence of the manager (in his players…) is important, too…

    Anyhow, gotta put my apron on…

  • What if Ozil had scored that chance in the pic TA posted which ended up being a point blank save? Would you blame Arsene or wait for another day? Football is not so black and white. Otherwise it would be easy. Commentators work out to be useless managers.. look at Gary Neville…

  • And Gary Neville is a good commentator he knows his stuff .. but man management requires a whole set of skills many of us don’t have and Arsene does have more than most. Two major things I would want to see changed though is one the atmosphere at Emirates.. wishing it was like the noise at the Nou Camp tonight.. and secondly the selfie culture that maybe preventing us cultivating serious title winning mettle.

  • @FMJ14 – I’m off to the bed but I will give you a quick answer. First of all (yes, I know, quick answers don’t start with that 😀 ), if Özil had scored a goal, it would have been our first offside goal given this season. We have a proverb that says: “If my grandma had a penis, she would be my grandpa.” Özil didn’t score. Had Mahrez scored penalties against Bournemouth (0:0) and Aston Villa (1:1) or had Vardy hadn’t hit the bar against us at 1:0 for Leicester, Leicester would have laid a hand on the league trophy. What ifs…

    Second of all, we are all commentators here. We agree or disagree. It’s a good thing to have different opinions here otherwise we could simply write “+1” and applaud in front of our screens.

    Third of all, I do agree with you regarding commentators. When you are an armchair commentator as myself, you have a 2D knowledge of football. When you are a player, you have a 3D knowledge of football. When you are a manager, you have a 4D knowledge of football. That’s why some great players have never make it – they just couldn’t see that “4th dimension”. Maybe Wenger plays Flamini because our best player Özil feels better with his best friend in the team? I know that Freddie Ljungberg played with all the freedom knowing Lauren would kick every ass that would dare to kick Freddie. Confidence can have many sources.

    That being said, my rant was not so much about the game of last night – the effort was there, creativity of Alexis and Mesut was joy to watch – but about the context.

  • 17ht. Hope it’s an Arsenal apron. You are a far better wordsmith ( don’t think I made that word up). In fact I am sure you must at the very Least have published or tried to publish your work. But I must be honest I don’t understand your lack of respect comment? I like all Arsenal players both past and present either the exception of a few. Gallas being one of them. So I will use him as an example. If I say Gallas is utter crap, and you think he is the best thing since sliced bread and we state our opinion, where is the lack of respect? Surely just different opinions?

    Davydavy your second para sums me up as well, although I started pre Bertie Mee. Interestingly all the seats at the Emirates are season tickets (that explains why attendances are always 60000 even when there are so many empty seats. Typically I get to the Emirates about 6 times per season and I don’t think I have ever sat next to the same person twice. Many off the so called season ticket holders just auction them off per game, meaning some real supporters can’t get tickets.

  • Retsub, An Arsenal apron would be nice and I noticed something from overseas in the mail… Even though tonight’s my birthday, I’m still doing the cooking… Maybe on the weekend I’ll get the others to pitch in… Also, sorry for another misunderstanding… I meant respect for your fellow Gooner, not in terms of discussing the players or even the manager. When we drop points we need we’re ALL hurting…

    Coming on a blog and doing an “I told you so” dance may make some (like Piers and Claude) feel better, but it seems disrespectful to others… Like others above say, it also really doesn’t prove your argument. Yes, your grandmother didn’t get her penis but that doesn’t automatically mean that if she did, Wenger still wouldn’t be totally to blame… In other words, the time to bemoan the situation at Arsenal isn’t (IMO) when the team has just given their all but failed in terms of the result…

    That’s just my own belief and I’m sure they would ridicule it at Le Grove and other places…

    Saying negative things about players and managers is part and parcel of their public stature…in my opinion, again… Calling them lazy parts (cnuts, etc.) is a little far (my opinion, once again) but TA probably should dictate policy there.

    Anyhow, folks are home and dinner must be served…

  • A nice war is raging. When the dust settles, we would find that we have all moved a notch higher. Symmetry can be discerned even in chaos. Thanks HT for provoking this chaos.

    Simply put, people manage their fears and their pains, their hopes and their thrills differently. Some are more controlled, others are less. In frustration, some want to smash windows or bang their fists on the table, or vent their their emotions on their poor finger nails. Other want a pint of beer downed very slowly, or place their head on something soft to snooze off, wake up and begin to dream of a 6 – 0 victory in out very next game. Different? The two look like identical twins to me, one walking north, the other south.

    Life, however, must operate within a context, and civilized conduct demands more of more control and less of less control. But is the demands of civilized conduct compatible with the demands of football which is nearly emotions unchained?

    You dare not smash windows, but you are goddam free to bite your nails. I am a student of Budda who advocates the Noble Middle Path. Intolerance must be reigned in, but we all have to watch it that we do not become intolerant of “intolerance”. Same sin.

  • I have been disappointed by the results of our last two PL games, but definitely buoyed by our performances in those matches. Against Chelsea we gave a good account of ourselves playing with 10 men for over 70 mins. Against Southampton we made 20 shots at goal from inside the box, but it was a day the gods with their medicine bags were sitting in one corner of the Emirate having a laugh. They had cast a spell at each end of the field and had prior to the match said ” 0 – 0 it’s gonna be, all heroics notwithstanding “. And silly me, was there biting my nails and cursing everything in sight. I must get wiser.

    Luckily, these gods with their medicine bags are not resident at the Emirate, neither are they our traveling companions so my dreams are not in tatters but in fact are intact. 14 games to go, and with the performances I saw these last 2 PL games, we got a great chance.

    Backing up my hopes is the fact that traditionally (since the Invincibles) we tend to be poor when we lead, but turn great when we have catch up to do. Hopefully the timing of our catch-up-transformation will creat the momentum that would see us breast the tape ahead of the others in the expected photo-finish.

    The team, as it is for those two matches, still require some tweaking imho.

  • Great variety of comments and I loved davydavy and our home poet ones most.

    If at the start of the season you had predicted the outcomes of all games, you would have settled for draws away to Pool and Stoke and a draw against the Chavs at home and a home win to the Saints. We did not manage to get six but just three points and we need to improve, which we can.

    If you don’t believe it it is not your fault, it is just the way you feel; but it is your fault when you don’t support the team, as collectively this HAS an impact on the team. And telling us what the manager should have done and it all would have been a lot better is the right of the supporter. I cannot help but think they are missing a big point in all of that… They never managed a premier league team before in their life and yet believe they know better.

  • I reckon we missed Podolski on Tuesday. An old, fearless fox coming off the bench and boom the ball into the net when the rest is too eager and desperate. The Pod was perfect at staying calm whilst pulling his deadly hammer. We need a Pod, a Suker, a Wiltord if you want on the bench to come and save the points.

  • Yes TA we needed a Podolski on Tuesday .. But then Alexis can be almost just as deadly on his day. It just wasn’t our day.

    Yes PE it did seem like the gods were laughing at us. There are those games where you can sense it’s just not going to happen for us.

    A great point PE about intolerance. I have a very intolerant housemate, and you have helped me see my small but festering intolerance of his ways. Ha ha ha! Thank you. The noble middle path is my way also. It leads to greater balance and therefore flow. Sometimes (like us all, and the team) I need to find it again. On Tuesday we did not flow and this is a result of more than the sum of our parts but we individually all have a critical part of our own to play in this, fans included.

    Admir, yes Flamini could be playing because his friendship with Mesut and these are the team dynamics the manager is privy to. I do believe though that Flamini has done a great job for us while Coq has been out. It has been the lack of balance in midfield that has been an issue, not any one player we might need to replace another.

    Again the penis analogy is a very clear cut one and very funny haha! ..but we should not forget the facts that there are many factors that come together that give us our respective grandmas and grandpas… Whatever the outcome I loved both my grandma and grandpa just the same.. I did not desire to get rid of them and find a new one even though grandma came to visit on matchday too many times recently when all I actually really wanted was to crack open a beer with my favourite grandpa. 😀 .. .. Love them just the same. Support through and through .. .. Search deeply for more nuanced reasons for blips or failures not black and white solutions..

    Yes PE great point that we are better when we have catch up to do. I take the long view and keep the faith that the balance will be restored.

  • FMJ84:6 🙂

    Alexis is too good to start on the bench, but yes he usually has the deadly attempts on goal. But when he doesn’t, we need a special weapon to come off the bench.

    Love the grandparents analogy 👍

  • Ah yes TA from the bench a Podolski type would be very handy. Maybe we have one coming through the ranks but none at the moment. :-/

  • The thing is though, FMJ, that they need to be experienced and lethal almost straightaway, and it is usually an older player. Giroud could be this player but then we need a very good replacement for him in the next few seasons, as we cannot afford to put him on the bench either (especially with Theo missing his shooting boots at the moment).

  • I first watched The Arsenal as a kid in the late 90s to early 00s. I missed a lot of football when I was a teenager, sadly it was the Invincibles period, watched some hyped games here and there, don’t remember much of those days, to be honest. I guess studies and computer games played a big part in distracting me.

    But I found myself drawn to Arsenal during trophyless years.. While every club was busy overspending, creating huge debt just for a few glorious years. (Leeds, Liverpool, Portsmouth.) We had to scrimp and save just to pull through one single year.. Year after year for a decade, We have seen owners giving their managers a blank cheque, while ours is given -15m.

    Now, I watch matches hoping for results, not demanding them. I watch matches to keep myself entertained. Of course, everyone will be sad every time we lose points, but the next morning I will forget all those useless pride if I feel that Arsenal is still the same club I fell in love with.

    That is just me though. hope everyone will be happy. but I doubt this is such a perfect world. Isn’t it silly ending up unhappy when you are watching it for entertainment..

  • Silverjify,

    Yes, its silly in the end, but when you support a club you would be sharing its highs and lows.

    One would be disappointed by the loss of form, but in the end, its still the club we love.


  • Great stuff 17. How the ball didn’t end up in the back of the net is anyone’s guess. One of those games where the opposition keeper morphs into the greatest keeper to have ever played the game (seaman)!

    Definitely need to extract a digit though. Don’t want to look back on another season and think what could have been. Especially when Chelsea, pool, and ManU haven’t been up to the task this season. City will be stronger next year and tottenham…well they can Feck off!

  • Oz Gunner,

    Its frustrating to learn that our bitter rivals have overtaken us to third in the table.
    Let’s make St Totteringham day earlier this year please.


  • Hi all..
    I think we did okay although we lost points again.. It’s really an unlucky day.. JK will name it BOHOKI.. Hahahaha..

    Our real problem isn’t tomorrow.. But 3 weeks after that.. First can we beat Leicester again.. And then how we face Barcelona.. After that how we steal point against MU..
    If we passed this dangerous month.. Then we still in the race..

    I never really concern about Spurs.. Just maybe our St Totteringham day will be late than ever.. They won’t lead the league.. Never ever when Wenger still our Manager.. Hehehe..

  • TA, you’ve got mail…

    I just read through the comments again here and wish to say cheers to all contributors…

    Thank dennis we have a game on Sunday and a chance to get back to winning ways…Of course, you cannot win if you cannot score, so some goals will be necessary. There’s also the interesting sub-text about Benik Afobe at Bournemouth knocking them in for that team… Anyhow, somebody probably needs to write a match preview… 😀

    On this one…I was really hoping TA would bury it (quickly) with his usually more upbeat take on matters…As it is, per usual, I think PE has it just about right: football is an emotional outlet for us punters and the terraces (and pubs) get plenty intense with the differing ways supporters ‘manage’ their frustrations. I may appear to be a support your team, your players, your manager kind of fellow–and in the heat of battle, I think that’s what we should do, but, trust me, I’m plenty critical, too… The internet gives us that extra measure of protection from one another so here it seems even more important to trod that middle ground. Otherwise we’re just shouting past one another and the ability to gain insight (learn) from our mates is well and truly lost…In other words, these (speculative and full of blame) meta-narratives have their moments–when we can examine the arguments carefully–but, overall, for me, seem less interesting than talking about the (actual) football…

    Which I would do…except that the Club is fanning the fire with this idiotic surcharge for the Barcelona tickets. Already we’ll have a protest (probably a quiet one…) about the league rearranging the Leicester fixture for television… Will there be another for the Barca home leg? They did what they could to create a good atmosphere for the Man City game and perhaps it had a role that night in helping us get a lead and hold onto it… Now it’s back to the bottom line and fans only rage at the face of the team–the players and the manager, never the man (or men or men and women, perhaps) making these completely cynical decisions behind the scenes. How does Arsenal “compete” with teams who have owners willing to burn tens or hundreds of millions when their Billionaire owner is scrimping for every quid he can get? How does Arsenal get that little edge to beat those teams (on occasion, at least)?…

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