Another Drog Day Afternoon for Arsenal Gives Doomers More Fodder

Darius StoneContributor IFebruary 7, 2010

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 07:  Didier Drogba of Chelsea battles for the ball with Alexandre Song and Gael Clichy of Arsenal during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Arsenal at Stamford Bridge on February 7, 2010 in London, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

I’ll confess, I was in two minds about how to approach my reflection of yesterday’s game against Chelsea. I wasn’t actually as disappointed as I was last weekend after the loss to Man United—the reason being that I felt the team in general played much better than we did last week.

The statistic that counts though, is the one on the scoreboard, so it’s still hard to swallow the defeat. Even my wife, who is an ardent Chelsea fan, berated Arsenal for going missing at the far post in the eighth minute, gifting Drogba an open net. He was never going to miss from there.

I also thought of talking about the fact that I’d prefer that Andrey Arshavin shuts up and stops talking willy nilly to the media. He should focus on converting the guilt-edged chances he has on the pitch for that is what he’s paid to do.

Most of all, I also thought of venting my anger at Manuel Almunia for ball watching as Drogba’s free kick cannoned off the woodwork. His ”Oh my God!” face as he stood there as a spectator for some reason really really pissed me off.

Instead, I caught up with a movie I’ve always wanted to watch since it was released but I hadn’t had the chance. It was The Taking Of Pelham 123 .

Great movie except for the stupid girlfriend of one of the hostages (George I think it was) insisting on the webcam that he tells her “I love you,” even though he risked an encounter with the business end of a machine gun. What an idiot of a girlfriend.

It was then that I thought of a Stone Cold Friday post that I wrote in early December 2009 following the first defeat to Chelsea. I think it was during a scene in the movie with a ridiculous traffic jam on a bridge that made me think of a dodgy Stamford bridge.

When I re-read the December post that I called Unite and Win, Divide and Fail , it occurred to me that the post is actually very relevant right here and right now.

I figured my gripe and disappointment isn’t with the team—it’s actually with our doom and gloom merchants. I can live with the teams short-comings so long as they show visible improvement and fight hard when the chips are down.

In my book, the team performed much better than they did against Man United, and I’ll take that for now and I look forward to a more positive result against Liverpool on Wednesday.

As for the doomers, I’d do an injustice to my December post (originally published on ACLF) by not publishing it here in its entirety. Enjoy:

If I were an analyst working for an industrial espionage outfit commissioned to carry out a destructive interference programme on Arsenal, I’d be looking forward to filing my November report with the dubious committee set up to oversee the capitulation of the club. The committee sits late every Friday night guided by the silhouette of a hangman and his noose perched above their heads.

The executive summary of my report would go something like this:

The past fortnight has been a watershed for our Arsenal destruction programme. Contrary to our initial belief that this team will capitulate by mid February, I am pleased to confirm that we are seeing the signs of their demise much faster than we expected.

Our campaign to spread poison and conspiracy theories about how the team can never hack it and why Arsenal receives an extraordinary proportion of injuries during international breaks is well on target. We have received a boost from two unexpected sources.

Firstly, 11 months ago we recruited a sleeper agent in the suburbs of Belgrade. An unlicensed quack masquerading as a miracle healer of sorts, our handlers ensured she had a dodgy tax record to support plausible deniability.

Our Belgrade asset was called to action a few weeks ago. She did an effective job in providing false hope to their talisman and the entire gooner nation. By the time they realised what the deal was, their chap was pretty much confirmed as out cold for the season, a situation that has clearly unsettled them.

The second and the most important catalyst to the destruction of Arsenal are the forces within. We always felt that the work their manager had done over the years stood on very firm ground. Our media allies and pundits have ensured that our anti-Arsenal message continues unabated.

We needed their support to sow the seeds of doubt amongst their weak and fickle glory hunting fans; to convince them that they can never win something unless they buy players with inflated price tags.

In the last two or three weeks, this group of fair-weather plastic fans has unleashed a venomous tirade as they spit fire and brimstone on the Internet and airwaves. The voices of reason of the realistic and level minded supporters will soon be drowned out if we maintain the current pace of interference.

Some of these fickle Arsenal fans don’t even realise what they have. The club is one of the best managed elite clubs in world football who are financially solvent and only have a mortgage for their magnificent stadium as debt owed.

They don’t realise they have one of the best managers in the world who has the courage and vision to set a path and a future for the club that will stand them in good stead for decades to come. They don’t realise that they have a great talented squad that just needs a tweak or two to click into place.

Impatient for success, our friends in the media have drummed it into their heads that they are weak and useless, that there is no place for beautiful football in the game as we want it. Former Arsenal players in particular have been doing a brilliant job at confusing and annoying with their public utterances of our messages.

With the events of the last two weeks, particularly their losses to Sunderland and Chelsea, there is a danger that they will regroup and get reinforcements. It is not in our interest if they succeed in this and we must continue to run interference for the rest of the campaign if we are to achieve our goal of keeping them divided and bringing them down at the end of the season.

They have a very intelligent manager and intelligent players who have the desire to be champions. The players know that they aren’t there yet; that they have to iron out a few defensive issues and build up their mental strength and character.

Every competent observer we talk to convinces us that this team will only get better as the season goes on. Luckily, they are getting their customary dip in form that every team has at this point. Our fear is that they will peak at just about the right time to grab all the honours, and I can’t stress enough why we cannot let this happen.

They have a good number of bloggers who unwittingly do our job for us. You should seriously take the time to read the blogs of such negative anti-Arsenalists who call themselves fans and slate their own team left right and centre.

Most fans around the world would trade an arm and a leg for their team to play the Arsenal brand of football, but some of these folks are so spoilt they don’t even realise the joy that their football team brings to true footballing fans around the world.

I’m confident that the media and pundits will continue with our strategic anti-Arsenal diatribe as the season goes on. Our hope is that their fans will follow this nonsense instead of getting right behind their team and becoming the 12th man if you will.

One of our worst nightmares is if the Arsenal crowd ever gets behind the team at their stadium in particular. A strong crowd that gives belief to this team up till the 96th minute of any game, in combination with a team this talented and this motivated will be explosive. You can see why we cannot let that happen.

Luckily for us, strategic interference has convinced the fans who attend match days that it’s not worth staying for the whole match. Their lack of belief in the team will hopefully start trickling down to the team itself, and the players will realise that they have fake fans who are only interested when they bang eight goals in without reply.

In conclusion, I must say that if we continue with our path, we will certainly be on our way to making the Arsenal the most lucrative proposition for an enticing hostile takeover. It is not in our interest to let all the ingredients of success come to fruition at this club despite the fact that success is nigh for them.

Our worst fear is that it’s only a matter of time before the team gets the benefits of constant defensive drilling and discipline, and that the supporters get behind their team and push them over the winning line.

We just have to make sure we divide and rule this club because the only obstacle to our intentions is that the team and the fans unite as one to unleash their magic on us.


...And by the way, I watched the whole game with the volume turned down to avoid the commentary or the pre and post match diatribe. It’s liberating, you should try it.


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