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… 😀