Arsenal FC: 10 Things the Media Doesn't Get About the Gunners
It is often very frustrating to read articles about Arsenal nowadays.
Whenever something goes even slightly wrong at the club—and the situation at the Emirates Stadium is now more than a little worrisome—the usual media crowd comes parading out, foaming at the mouth, ready to pounce on the teetering giant.
The reality is that most media folk are sorely mistaken about how Arsenal works, how its fans think and the very history of the club. Devoted fans of the team can identify these errors and spot hysterical stories.
Here are 10 ways in which the Gunners are misunderstood by the media.
The Players Are Numb to Crisis
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Every time there is a crisis of some sort at Arsenal (which, let's be honest, happens relatively often), the players are often said to be unsettled and incapable of playing their best football.
This is absolutely not the case.
When you see the sixth crisis come and go as a player, you just sort of tune out the noise and focus on doing your job, which is what the current crop is doing and has done before.
The players are undoubtedly aware of what is going on around them, but whenever a player is on his way out or the team are going through a terrible run of form, they can usually put on the blinders and carry on like the professionals that they are.
We Are All Numb to Rumors
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At this point, the rumormongers must know that almost none of what they spew actually comes to pass, and yet many websites and newspapers continue to publish the same things.
Perhaps they actually are that ignorant and just don't care.
Either way, players and fans know at this point that fantastic stories of big-money transfer "coups" have about as much reputability as Samir Nasri's agent.
Now that there has been some genuine transfer activity this summer, the speculators appear to be raising their game, claiming that Arsenal are ready to nearly break their transfer record to sign Hugo Lloris, who plays a position that is already filled by a wonderful young player.
Right, and Reading will win the League this year.
We All Love Arsene Wenger
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During the aforementioned moments of crisis, the media forget how much the players and the fans love Arsene Wenger, who is unfailingly depicted as out of touch by his critics.
Yet, after Arsenal's tremendous rise from 17th to third place last season at a time when the faith in the manager genuinely was low, fans and players truly believe in their embattled leader.
Especially after the signings of Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud showed that he is finally getting with the transfer program, one high-profile player's departure does not signal the disintegration of Wenger's football philosophy or more defections from within his own camp.
And it has been clear during the past several days that the supporters love the Frenchman just as much as they ever have.
There Won't Be Any Huge Signings
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During every transfer window, Arsenal fans are forced to sift through innumerable stories linking the club with big-money moves for star players in the hope that Arsene Wenger will finally change his transfer policy and go for big fish.
This is wishful thinking to say the least.
Even when given a transfer budget in the range of £80 million last summer after the departures of Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas, the manager refused to go big.
No matter what situation the club is in, there will be no transfers like those at Stamford Bridge or Old Trafford. Arsenal have the funds to make them, but it is just not Wenger's way, and he is not changing.
Nevertheless, expensive players like Yann M'Vila continue to be linked, only to see their moves, as they were, inevitably disintegrate.
Not Every Player Is a Schemer
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It may seem that Arsenal lose their captain and best player almost every season nowadays.
In the recent past, this might be true, but that does not mean that the entire squad are losing faith in the team or revolting, as some would have you believe.
The reality is that there will be a few bad eggs on the team, and the Gunners certainly have their fair share. Robin van Persie has turned his back on the club that nurtured and made him into the footballer he is today, but almost every other Arsenal player is loyal and classy.
Aside from known, heart-on-their-sleeve loyalists like Jack Wilshere, Wojciech Szczesny and Thomas Vermaelen, the likes of Bacary Sagna, Mikel Arteta, Laurent Koscielny and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain would never pull a stunt like van Persie's.
Don't let the actions of one miscreant distract from the many, many decent players in the squad.
Arsene Wenger Won't Change His Style
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Even when Arsenal are on good runs of form, opportunistic media people are on a hair trigger, waiting for the slightest sign of weakness to bash Arsene Wenger with.
Piers Morgan is a classic example of this. Read his tweets during the course of a season—or even a match—and you'll see that he will fluctuate between adoration and detestation for the team and, by proxy, Wenger.
When the likes of Morgan see any defensive mistake, the manager is ridiculed for playing his altruistic brand of football and urged to change his ways.
By now, everyone should know that a man as unbelievably stubborn as Wenger does not and will not alter his style at the drop of a hat, and any tactical change must occur over a long period of time.
That resolve seemed to work last season.
Alisher Usmanov Has No Power
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There has been quite a brouhaha recently over the supposed civil war that is resulting from minority shareholder Alisher Usmanov's open letter to the board through his investment group Red and White Holdings that scathingly criticized Stan Kroenke and the men in charge of the club.
Regardless of what you think of Usmanov and his tactics, the stark reality is that what he says has absolutely no meaning because he holds absolutely no power at Arsenal and never will.
It does not matter how many more shares he acquires; Kroenke owns two-thirds of the club and thus can operate as the legitimate owner of the team without any involvement from anyone else.
Whether Usmanov or I released that statement is of absolutely no importance. Both of us have the same chance of running Arsenal Football Club.
The Fans Won't Turn on the Team
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Recently, Robin van Persie (or, more specifically, his representatives) made this miscalculation, but many fire and brimstone articles before and after the Dutchman's statement have made the assumption that Arsenal supporters are still capable of turning on their club instantly.
Perhaps there was a measure of truth to this 10 months ago, when the Gunners were in full crisis mode and seemed to be in a five-spiral dive, to paraphrase George W. Bush.
But after a massively uplifting season and two quick, quality signings to begin the summer, there has been one of the most optimistic moods at the club in quite some time.
No amount of cynicism can strip Gooners of their faith now.
The Ship Is Not Sinking
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In his brief history of Arsenal for ESPNSoccernet, Rob Smyth wrote:
...Robin van Persie shared his desire to move on and follow Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri in jumping from the sinking ship.
Really? After a season in which the Gunners overcame their worst start in decades to finish third with arguably the weakest squad of the Arsene Wenger era, the club is sliding downhill?
I beg to differ.
If you take van Persie's statement literally, then perhaps the club lack ambition. But if you know footballers and try to read between the lines a little bit, it is clear that RvP is merely trying to play fan appreciation into a move to a club that can pay him more money.
As I said before, people love to jump on the club with the seven-year trophy drought at the first sign of crisis, but a week ago, the same individuals would have claimed that Arsenal were a club on the rise.
The Club Always Remains
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Much is made about potential transfers in and out all year round, especially during the two times when moves can actually be made.
And there is obviously a lot of discussion and speculation about the future of one Robin van Persie and its implications for the club.
Pundits assume that our hearts are tied to a particular individual with whom we have an emotional attachment. They use this to try and whip up a frenzy when a supposedly calamitous event like the acrimonious departure of the club's best player occurs.
They forget one thing, however.
Fans like these players because they play for Arsenal. The supporters are fans of the club first and foremost, and, while players come and go, the club itself will always remain.
We have seen that allegiances to a great player can change almost instantly. But a true fan can never change his club.