Sometimes you just can’t let it go

I am not the biggest fan of Mondays. I don’t hate them but Friday and Saturday are my favourite days of the week. While I’ll just get on with it at the dawn of most Monday mornings, I hate that sinking feeling that I get on the ones following bad weekends for Arsenal. Something tells me I’m not alone here. On the other hand, I love Mondays following great weekends for Arsenal. I’ve been having lots of those recently thanks to the Wenger boys.

One of my daily rituals is reading the Metro newspaper during my train commute to work. I quickly flip through the pages, perusing the headlines for happening around the UK and the world. I always read the readers feedback on recent stories and issues about a third way through the paper. I love reading other people’s opinion of issues. It gives me a sense of where I am compared to others and every now and then, someone writes in something profound that changes my view of things. All of these though, are like forcing yourself to eat your vegetables so that you can have your sumptuous dessert in the end. Once I’ve read the readers feedback, I move on to the back pages. If any other story is important enough and not some celebrity gossip, it would be in the early pages.

The sport pages are my actual destination and I take time to read rather than rush through as I do with the other sections. I think Metro does not have any agenda one way or another on Arsenal. They mostly parrot whatever common wisdom is being touted about the club but their match reports and basic reporting on state of things are usually fair, in my opinion. Every now and then, they’ll write something annoying about my beloved Arsenal and I’d just wave it off and let it go. Well, sometimes you just can’t let it go. Today is one of those days.

There is a 2″ by 4″ snippet on Arsenal that is written by one Peter Wood. I quote the snippet verbatim below:

“Arsenal fan and Club Metro reporter Peter Wood is still feeling worried” – Metro’s introduction.

Peter Wood now says:

“You don’t win the league with 11 players, you win it with a well rotated squad. But Wenger has never been a fan of a big squad. So far this season, we’ve dominated with consistent performances and we have managed that because we have not rested players. The problem is, they are now starting to look jaded – they need a rest.”

If I or any Arsenal fan wants to be responding to every rubbish written about our darling team, we’ll not have time for any other thing in our lives. But crap like this just grind my gears. Especially because the writer is an “Arsenal fan”. I will now deal with each of the points raised one by one.

“You don’t win the league with 11 players” – No shit Sherlock. Who knew that you cannot execute a 38 game campaign with 11 players?

“You win it with a well rotated squad” – This is just like the mantra, “spending will help you win trophies”. While not entirely wrong, it isn’t exactly fool proof. Besides, it’s not rotation that helps you to win; it’s having quality players performing consistently in the key areas of the game. What is probably most wrong with this comment is that it is false. Arsenal have already used 25 different players in the league this season. That is 25 players in 13 matches! I don’t know the statistics for other teams in the league but I doubt many have used more. Also, rotating your team is not always a good thing, especially when you are winning. What happened to “never change a winning team”?

“But Wenger has never been a fan of a big squad” – Here is another bullshit statement that is not based on reality or any evidence. Prior to this season, there was a lot of noise about the “dead wood”, about having a big squad of average players and so on. Arsene Wenger has always believed in having a well-balanced squad. It is not really about numbers. It’s about what the members of the team can do and how many of them can do the same thing. In other words, versatility is preferred over huge numbers. A look at our bench last Saturday tells anyone who knows anything about the game that we have strength in depth.

This was our bench on Saturday: “Subs: Fabianski, Vermaelen, Monreal, Rosicky, Flamini, Walcott, Gnabry””

Anyway one looks at this statement, it is still bullshit that was not well thought through.

“So far this season, we’ve dominated with consistent performances and we have managed that because we have not rested players.” – First part of the sentence is basic statement of fact while the other is, well, silly. Only an Arsenal “fan” would write nonsense like this. Why should we rest players who are consistently getting us results? Should we rest Ramsey, the league’s current best player or Szczesney, the league’s current best goalkeeper? Which team did this in the past? Do Barcelona rest Messi or do Manchester United rest RvP, unless they are not fit to play? Apart from dishonest statements, I also loathe whining just for the sake of it. This is whining just for the sake of it!

“The problem is, they are now starting to look jaded – they need a rest.” – As you read this line, please remember that the writer is a REPORTER! I wonder what Arsenal team he has been watching but “jaded” is the last word that any objective observer would use to describe the team after Saturday’s game. This writer is one of those who actually put words in the newspaper for us ‘unenlightened’ folks! He doesn’t know jack! But sadly, someone somewhere would read that and start parroting the same and before you know it, it becomes common wisdom, especially if the writer is well known and therefore influential. Thank goodness he isn’t!

I understand Mr Peter Wood’s apprehension. Even the most optimistic of us (e.g. yours truly) have our moments of doubt but common sense and reality must still prevail. If the players and management are doing their best and succeeding on their way to win our first silverware in over 8 years, the least that we supporters should be doing is supporting and believing in them. We shouldn’t be allowing our own fears to cloud our reasoning to the point of jettisoning the confidence that our good and consistent run have created.

Thanks for reading. See you in the comments


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