Arsenal: Lazy Pundits Need To Shut Up About 'Tests', We're Passing Them
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
‘If’ by Rudyard Kipling
As Twitter said last night over the last week Arsenal played against Suarez, Sturridge, Lewandowski, Reus, Rooney and RvP and conceded one goal, whilst being two points clear at the top of the Premier League and moving to the top of our Champions League group.
As tests go, if that’s judged as a failure then I wouldn’t like to see the criteria for success.
I never subscribed to the idea that by the United game we would have a clear idea whether we would be title challengers or also rans. Even if we had won at Old Trafford - which judging by parts of our positive second half display at least, wouldn’t have been beyond the realms of possibility - then a considerable amount of pundits would have merely shifted the goalposts and mentioned the next lot of ‘tests’: Everton, Man City and Chelsea in December.
And if we pass those ones then presumably they will point to the reverse fixtures against Liverpool and United in a week in February, or those three fixtures in March where we play Spurs and Chelsea way and City at home in three weekends.
So the next time you hear a pundit go, ‘well they’ve got a test coming up soon’, tell them ever so politely to go and do some research for a change and stop talking in clichés that give no insight into anything. Of course there are tests. There are 38 of them. I’m waiting for the next one against a decent Southampton side. So please, no more about tests.
We haven’t passed two and failed one, we simply got three points out of six and a very good win away from home in the Champions League.
Why isn’t anyone mentioning the fact that for Spurs, Newcastle at home is a test? Or Chelsea, for that matter, Newcastle away last week? Or in Manchester City’s case how about going to Wearside? Is that not a test? Are we the only team that has to endure these tests in which everyone can then draw conclusions from?
It’s becoming a bit annoying that a great many non Arsenal fans seem to have decided to pass comment our on team after losing by a single goal to the Champions of England – with three of our side either missing of suffering from a debilitating bug, as well as having two England players out with long term injuries and Germany’s centre forward, along with, er, Diaby.
And yes before we say it, thanks for letting us know we are light in terms of squad depth, we’ve known that for a long time, cheers.
We also now know that Bendtner is ‘disappointed’ to play for Arsenal. Well, here’s something mate, you’re not the only one. And you could argue collectively we could have done far better for the corner that had Robin van Stapleton celebrating.
Incidentally I don’t mind him celebrating, in his case it merely stops the hypocrisy that he somehow still ‘cares’ about Arsenal. When the truth was despite us standing by him for the majority of his seven injury hit years in North London he was simply another highly paid mercenary who gave not a jot which football top he put on.
Although to be fair Moyes has got a rejuvenated Rooney and van Stapleton linking nicely together.
As for Rooney’s display, well, that was the Rooney every football fans sees in their minds eye when they think of him at his peak. A motivated, fit, hard-working team man with talent and skill to burn.
Just think, if he had played like that in every game for England and United over the last few years instead of having to raise his game for the visit of the league leaders? It would be fair to say he would now be classified in the Messi and Ronaldo stratosphere, not a player who has fallen out with Fergie, nor one who at times last year looked disinterested, overweight and lazy.
On another point, over the last couple of years I have taken to studying the celebrations of teams who have beaten us at the final whistle to find out how much they see us as a threat. Unsurprisingly most of the top four sides have shown muted restraint upon beating us in the last few seasons – but to witness the United player’s celebrating yesterday proves, however subconsciously, that they see us as a threat again. Which to me is hugely encouraging.
Did you see United going mad at the final whistle after the 8-2? I didn’t. But I did see Chelsea celebrate wildly after their squad that cost £250 million quid beat our reserves 2-0 in the League Cup the other week. Likewise Munich last season in trouncing us 3-1 at The Grove gave a few perfunctory handshakes and slaps on the back, whereas when Dortmund beat us 2-1 at our place a few of their players threw their tops into the away end, as if they’d achieved a great feat. United pretty much went bonkers with joy after the final whistle yesterday. Which says it all.
The fact is no team in England has accumulated more points than Arsenal since March, no team has shown better form – and as I keep saying even if the wheels do come off at some stage, we deserve respect for that if nothing else – it’s just a shame we don’t seem to be receiving it.
And as for Spurs, what about their ‘test’ yesterday? Why isn’t anyone mentioning the fact they’ve got another ‘test’ at Manchester City in their next league game? Isn’t that a test of both teams title credentials come to think of it?
Maybe not, if judging by the ‘test’ City failed at Sunderland yesterday was anything to go by.
So, pundits, and supporters alike, give it a rest with the ‘tests nonsense’. They’re called Premiership fixtures. And we’ve got one more after the international break. If you consult the list you’ll find so have Manchester United (fifth) away to Cardiff, Manchester City (eighth) home to Spurs (seventh) and Chelsea (one point from the last two ‘tests’ in fourth place) away to London rivals West Ham. And what about the Merseyside derby next week?
Why is no-one talking in terms of tests for any of that lovely lot?
As the Gooner said in a tweet last night which I wholeheartedly agree with: “Frustrating? Yep. Annoying? Yep. Missing a top class striker option? Yep. Still top of the league? Yep”.
And for that we should be thankful - and be ready to go on another run after the international break – which for once has come at the right time for us.
Rudyard Kipling’s eternal and everlasting ‘If’ also contained these superb couplets:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise…
After eight years without a trophy, after all the b******* we keep hearing about the ‘tests’ that our supposed title challenge needs to undergo – to the satisfaction of everyone who can say I told you so - after all the jealousy, the falsehoods, the nonsense that is spoken by people who are not Arsenal fans, this is the time to show them that we are behind our team, that we support our team.
That we are proud of what our team has done so far this season - but far from boasting or showing smugness we simply need to keep our heads and keep on following The Arsenal as loyally as the majority of our fans have done so far - then maybe, just maybe, come May, when everyone is salivating over certain rivals, our players will still be in the mix ready to prove all our doubters wrong – but it won’t be through passing supposed tests, it will be by treating those twin imposters of triumph and disaster just the same.
That old fella Rudyard Kipling knew the score didn’t he?
Follow Layth on Twitter @laythy29
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