Well that is what I would tell my players, if I was Arsene Wenger. Everywhere you look, there are disgruntled and glass-half-empty Gooners at the moment. It is like a red and white pest that is taking over the entire Goonersphere. Some are naturally wired like that: low expectations is the key to happiness, is their mantra. Others are guided by the poisonous deja-vu experiences they are having: they have seen it all before and believe Arsene is just not good enough anymore to win us the title. Others are just plain Wenger haters and want him out asap. And then there are those who need to project their personal negativity onto something other than themselves; and Arsenal and Wenger are perfect objects to aim all their disappointment and anger at. There are also many fans who secretly believe they know much better than Wenger; and by not doing what they want him to do – buy a ‘proper’ CF for example – they simply don’t believe we will win anything any more.
The players and managers will also sense this general negativity: in the street, on-line and in the grounds. There is no doubt that negativity breeds negativity, and a collective sense of doom will often lead to doom, even if there was a good chance of it not happening in the first place. In times like these, we need honey-sweet optimists. The most famous optimist I am aware of is of course Winston Churchill: aided by alcohol and an incredible gift of the gab, he steered a nation through a most frighting and demoralizing time. Modest as he was, he said he had nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat, but it was his ability to reach deep into the hearts of people, both in the UK and abroad, that really made the difference. Of course, he had other crucial qualities such as strategic planning and making allies, to name a few, but his ability to give continued hope to people was paramount.
“Never give in – never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy”: this is one of my favourite WC quotes, and one that I would have painted on the walls in the dressing room.
And I am hoping Arsene is saying something similar to his troops right now. We are entering the crucial stage of the season and now is the time to believe and not give in. The way the players have fought to win recent games, is very promising for the rest of the season; so there is a good basis to fight all the way to the PL title. We have a great squad both in terms of quality and experience. We won our CL group and are currently second in the league.
The Chavs are going to Pool, then play us and then go to Burnley: every chance they will drop points, possibly even eight or nine. If we win our next three games, we will get close to the Chavs, if not overtake them. That is what I would be telling the players.
Come On You Rip Roaring Gunners!