Two weeks ago I took a hammering from a lot of ‘soccer’ supporters on this website. Some of the comments were inspired. Some questioned the size of my penis. Some even went so far as to question whether I’m a genuine Gooner. I invited all of the interested parties to come and see me in the Coronet after the Arsenal v Swansea game for an intellectual football debate, or a fight. Nobody showed up. Maybe they felt bad about questioning the size of my penis. Maybe the feared I might expose my penis for public assessment. Maybe they don’t live in London. Maybe they live in America or Thailand or Nigeria. Maybe they don’t even know where the Coronet is or who our manager was before Arsene Wenger.
I also received criticism from my own friends and family who felt I’d been unnecessarily harsh on the Arsenal. And while I accept that my article was inflammatory I found the backlash and the blinkered optimism fairly astonishing. It’s as if nobody was prepared to remember the pain of the past six years under Wenger or acknowledge the direction we’re heading in.
Now, five games into the league season, our record shows P5 W1 D1 L3. We have four points from five games. Our only victory, thanks to a goalkeeping howler, against a side rooted to the bottom of the table destined for relegation.
Now, I’m not sitting here gloating or asking you all to individually lick my ring piece (though that would be a bonus)…I’m not even sitting here primed and ready to have another go at Wenger. All I will say today is this: these are difficult times for the Arsenal and we all need to take a reality check, have a look at our position and our squad in relation to the billionaire clubs currently occupying the top three positions and face the uncomfortable truth.
In short: let’s just accept we’re s**t and move on.
Zonal defending appears fraught with danger for a team like ours who can’t perform basic tasks like heading the football out of the penalty area.
One cannot look at the performance at Blackburn and take positives from it. Those who comfort themselves by saying it was our best performance of the season willfully ignore the manner of the defeat. Two own goals, one of which was so spectacular in its execution and hilarity that I actually fell off my pub stool laughing. (Which pub you ask? The Faltering Fullback in N4 …for anyone who wants to come and compare penises). The own goals show us clearly that the defensive problems we’ve had for years are still there and the acquisition of a 6ft 6in German is not going to solve the issue. Zonal defending appears fraught with danger for a team like ours who can’t perform basic tasks like heading the football out of the penalty area.
In a way it’s a blessing that our next three games are at home to Shrewsbury, Bolton and Olympiacos. We can expect to win at least two out of three. Bolton will be tricky. They have a very good manager and a very good defender, both of whom I wouldn’t mind seeing at Arsenal. (Yeah, that’s right I've bigged up Owen Coyle now as well as David Moyes…got a problem with that? Gonna tell me I know nothing about football and that Coyle is a s**t manager? Fine, go ahead.)
What I would hope in the next three games is that the home crowd get behind the team rather than jeering and braying at young players like Aaron Ramsey and Emmanuel Frimpong, like they did at the Swansea game after a couple of misplaced passes. Frankly, I think it’s one thing to write snide, cynical yet honest articles (like I do) but it’s another thing to sit there silently at the match and then break out into loud, collective, vociferous moans when things start getting a little bit edgy. Get behind the team you c***s.
Essentially, my point is this. We’re not that good a team anymore. If we all accept that and lower our expectations then we won’t be disappointed will we?
I've lowered my expectations. I predict we’ll finish 6th this season. In fact I’ll lay it on the line and give my top 6 prediction:
1. Man United
2. Man City
Go ahead…howl, moan, deride me, insult me, call me a c**t. Be my guest. But the sooner we face up to facts the better. The sooner we finish behind Spurs the sooner the fans, manager and board will take serious action.
Don’t expect a trophy (not even the Carling cup). Don’t expect us to qualify from our Champions League group (it’s a tricky one). Don’t expect us to beat Barcelona (it’s never going to happen). And don’t expect any decent signings in the January transfer window (history shows us that nothing good ever comes in January…except Reyes…and we all now how that ended.)
If, by a miracle, my predictions are proved wrong I’ll be the happiest man alive. I’m just not prepared to face the disappointments of recent years. I’m passed optimism, I've moved onto all-out pessimism. I've accepted we’re s**t and I’m moving on.
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