Arsenal, like every other word, has its own definition.
The Oxford, Chambers and Scrabble dictionaries define it as a place where weapons are stored. But we humans have our specific definition of Arsenal.
Some say that it’s a selling club that has taken over the mantle from Ajax in the days of old. Patrice Evra said that it’s a mere training centre, where players enjoy their football without winning trophies.
Others say that it’s a breeding ground, where Wenger assembles youngsters from all over the galaxy, uses his alchemy to turn them from lead to gold and then exports them to other clubs that come asking.
I define my Arsenal as a club that was synonymous with success and trophies, but its going into a phase where things are not going too well.
In Wenger’s first nine years at the club, he had an amazing trophy haul, the most notable being three Premier League titles and four FA Cups, but the fans who adored him and sang his praises those years want his head on a plate nowadays.
They fail to realize that Arsenal isn’t as peachy and creamy as it used to be in terms of spending due to the funds that were allocated to the magnificent Emirates Stadium.
A large section of the fans have been solidly behind Wenger, and the trophy drought was almost ended on the 27th of February, 2011.
A run that saw Wenger’s men joust past Tottenham, Newcastle, Wigan and Ipswich was to be ended with a final battle against a Birmingham side that was vanquished home and away in the League—but we all know how it ended.
There’s a saying:
“If you’ve not had your first cigarette, you can’t get addicted to smoking”
Wenger has done a lot of good things for Arsenal, but he was also the reason Arsenal lost to Birmingham in the final, why Arsenal lost to Manchester United with seven recognized defenders, why Arsenal lost to Barcelona without shooting the ball and why Arsenal chickened out of the Premier League with such ease.
When Arsenal played Manchester United in the FA Cup final in 2005, Manchester United had the lion’s share of possession as well as shots. But Arsenal had resilience, coordination and character as well as teamwork. Even a Jose Antonio Reyes red card wasn’t an excuse in that game.
Arsenal has become a shadow of the side that won games with consummate ease. It has been replaced by a team that nags a lot when things go wrong.
“It was Diaby’s red card that killed us against Newcastle.”
“Arshavin was pushed from behind by Bramble when we played Sunderland. It was a clear penalty.”
“Luis Suarez was offside when the ball was played to him.”
blah, blah, blah
In recent times, Wenger has been making the same mistake time and time again, and he has failed to learn from it.
There was a time when Arsenal’s attack had an amazing stockpile of players, and everybody was hungry to play. It was led by Henry, but the likes of Bergkamp, Wiltord, Kanu, Reyes, Jeffers and a young Aliadere were raring to go. Now, when RVP gets injured, everybody pushes the panic button because all we have is Chamakh.
The same manager who had a defense with Adams, Keown, Winterburn and Dixon is now represented with the likes of Miquel, Jenkinson, Gibbs and Armand Traore.
He failed to give a two-year deal to Pires because he was above 30, yet he handed two-year deals to Silvestre and Squillaci.
With my history lesson well and truly over, it’s time to write about the events dominating the Arsenal World in recent times.
Arsene Wenger has been given a two-match ban as well as a fine of €10,000 by UEFA's disciplinary committee. It had something to do with him communicating with the bench when Udinese visited the Emirates.
This clearly means that Wenger will be at the stands in tomorrow’s game in Frulli and Arsenal’s first group stage game in the Champions League group phase or the Europa League group phase as the case may be.
All Wenger has to do right now will be to select his match-day squad and hope that Pat Rice would make him proud. Arsenal will be boosted with the likes of Gervinho and Song as well as Wilshere back in the squad, but there will be a player that will be missing in action tomorrow.
Omitting Nasri from the squad to prevent him from being cup-tied will clearly show Arsenal’s lack of ambition and love for money, so one should barrage Wenger with taunts. This would mean that the board has won the battle on the issue of Nasri.
If Nasri doesn’t play tomorrow, it would signal that his Arsenal career is over, so a replacement would be needed badly for him.
The media vultures have reported that Robin van Persie went to have a meeting with his boss concerning possible arrivals. Wenger told him that he’s happy with his squad, so he won’t spend.
I don’t want to believe the media vultures this time, because they are the same set of people that reported that Arsenal is closing in on Hazard, M’ Vila and Jagielka.
Wenger has also insisted that he’ll sign experienced players before the end of the transfer window, so I don’t know why he would take a u-turn and say that he’s happy with his squad the way it is.
With eight days left in this transfer window, I’m really hoping that Wenger would sign the players that Arsenal needs, because the club is currently 14th on the log—and I doubt if this crop of players will be good enough to break into the top four this season.
Arsenal has become rougher than normal and the injury-prone players are still around, so new signings are badly needed in this club.
They believed that Arsenal would end up as runners-up and Blackpool wouldn’t have been relegated if the match officials did their jobs well.
They examined 713 significant incidents ranging from penalties, offside goals and goal-line incidents, and concluded that Arsenal should have ended the season with 72 points instead of 68.
As expected, they brought up the issue of the Sunderland game (Arshavin), Vidic’s glaring handball at the Emirates (the last time I checked, we still won) and Arsenal’s goal difference and all.
It’s a nice article, but you can’t judge that Arsenal was cheated because of a game or two. What about the games that were there for the taking that Arsenal spurned?
The Wigan 2-1 lead that was thrown away by Squillaci’s super own goal, leading Tottenham two goals up at halftime, only to self destruct and end up losing the game, scoring Liverpool in the 97th minute only to concede a penalty moments later.
Or the most embarrassing of them all, going four up against Newcastle only to end up drawing the match. This game still gives me nightmares from time to time.
The quote of the day goes to the captain of Udinese, Antonio di Natale:
“We studied Arsenal’s defeat by Liverpool and they have problems in every area… I believe it will be Udinese who’ll go through”
Tomorrow is not far away.