The last few days have been very interesting on this blog. Since Arsenal slipped off the top of the table thanks to their fourth successive Premiership draw there have been some surprising comments on the blog. Indeed, a lot of readers have come out saying that a number of the players in the side are not good enough, that Arsene Wenger should have spent more on established players at the start of the season and even one – you know who you are – who said that if the club fail to win a trophy then they will not be supporting them anymore.
What the hell is going on? Sure, Arsenal have made things really difficult in recent weeks with draws against sides they would have expected to beat, but they’re still second on the table and at this stage only three points off the top. Beautiful football or no beautiful football – and make no mistake, this side has played beautiful football this season – that is still an amazing achievement given the situation at the start of the season. There’s little doubt that the title is looking more like Manchester United’s than ever before but Arsene Wenger’s side are as close as they have been to the title in the past three seasons and that should not be forgotten.
As a supporter of this great club and the writer of this blog I have been quite disappointed with some of the comments made by so-called ‘Arsenal fans’ over the past two days. Things are not lost yet and a difficult run of form resulting in four draws does not undermine the huge strides that the players in the squad and the team as a whole have made this season. Apart from just a couple of exceptions, virtually every Arsenal player has stepped up this season and performed well above what could have been expected of them at the start of the campaign.
Seriously, put your hand up if you thought Emmanuel Adebayor was going to score 20 goals in the league or you thought Mathieu Flamini would become the most consistent player in the side. Exactly. Yet, this improvement seems to have come at a price, and that price is that a lot of Arsenal supporters now expect them to play perfectly in every game and are simply too harsh on them when anything short of a world-beating performance is delivered. I seriously think some ‘supporters’ need to take a step back and get a little perspective on this situation.
I have the pleasure of working very closely with a devoted and level-headed Chelsea supporter of over 35 years and I showed him some of the responses to the articles of the past few days. He absolutely could not believe it. He stressed to me that this is a time that Arsenal supporters should be showing belief in their side because if the supporters don’t have that belief then how can they expect it from the players? It’s a very good point and one that I feel a few people could take on board. He also said to me how brilliantly he believed Arsenal have performed this season and stressed that he thought Arsenal were a very good chance to beat Chelsea this Sunday. Of course, should they do just that then the race for the Premiership is very much back on again.
The thing that I don’t understand is that if he – a Chelsea supporter – believes Arsenal can do it, then why can’t so many people who read this blog believe it? Why have people lost the faith in this side just when they need to feel that faith from the supporters the most? Things might seem bleak, but they’re not over yet, and as supporters of the club we have a responsibility to do what we can to get the boys over the line. My advice – get behind them, stay positive and keeping showing the boys the support they deserve.
Confident Kolo, Irksome Tomas
Moving onto today’s news now and recently-returned defender Kolo Toure has been speaking about Arsenal’s chances of winning the Premiership. The Ivorian stopper has suggested that the most consistent team out of Manchester United, Chelsea and his club will win the league but remained adament that if Arsenal can get back to winning ways at Stamford Bridge this weekend the momentum could carry on for the rest of the season.
“It is going to be an exciting finish to the Premier League. Whichever team is more confident and consistent is going to win the title. At the moment it is hard because we have dropped two points in every game. But when we get back to winning, we can carry that on until the end of the season.”
He’s a bubbly, positive guy Toure, and this sort of comment is the least you would expect from him. I think the point he makes that if Arsenal can beat Chelsea they can carry on the form until the end of the season is reasonably fair, but it is going to take an amazing performance or a little bit of luck to take all three points home from the trip to Stamford Bridge. I know that the boys failed to kick on like many people thought they would after beating AC Milan but I still think that if they can knock of Chelsea then they can find the spark to challenge Manchester United all the way to the end.
Unfortunately, it seems that Arsenal will have to complete the best part of the rest of the campaign without Tomas Rosicky, who revealed yesterday that he is still a while away from returning from the leg problem that has troubled him all season. The Czech midfielder commented on the frustration he has felt about spending so much time on the sidelines and amazingly revealed that he has not even started full training.
“It is pretty irksome. I still cannot start full training. There is nothing I can do but wait and hope that the injury goes away.”
I have to say that I laughed pretty hard when I saw the word ‘irksome’ used. What a strange choice of phrasing for a man who speaks English as a second language. I would probably use the word ‘bloody infuriating’ to describe the frustration of having Rosicky out for so long but there’s not really much point worrying about it now. It does mean, however, that the likes of Emmanuel Eboue and Theo Walcott really do need to step up to the plate over the last part of the season and hopefully chip in with a couple of goals that Rosicky surely would have scored had he been playing. Given that Eboue has yet to find the back of the net this season and Wenger seems to favour him over the Englishman I just can’t see it happening.
That’s about it for today. There’s no midweek game for Wenger’s side this week so all Arsenal supporters’ eyes should be on Manchester United v Bolton and Tottenham v Chelsea. Fingers crossed that the results go the way they need to while the Arsenal boys have a much needed week off.
What do you think?
Have your say on the build up to Arsenal-Chelsea by leaving a comment.