And so it begins, the 2014/15 Premier league season. Thank goodness, the long wait is finally over. We now have some football to take our attention away from the mind-numbingly ridiculous pastime known as “transfer speculation”. Kudos to Mr Tony Attwood for his valiant effort to help us make a good sense of it all with humour by consolidating all the crap being peddled each day by those ‘in the know’ into brilliant mocking articles.
The general consensus amongst Gooners is that this current transfer window is their least stressful in a long time but I’d be telling a big lie if I say the same. No transfer window has ever been stressful for me. How people get stressed on matters that are not of life and death or even concerned with their physical and economic well-being is beyond my comprehension. Why folks would be stressed about how a club that they are paying meaningful parts of their paltry income to support is not using such funds to buy the services of millionaires to be paid on weekly basis what most of them earn in years, is beyond my comprehension.
After parting with over £2,000 for season ticket, shirts etc (which is about 10% of the income of many after tax and all the other mandatory deductions), we must then pull our hairs out as the club’s management takes toooooooo long to spend that fucking money. If the club’s management think that a player that we want is demanding £30,000 per week more than what he deserves, we go up in arms. JUST PAY HIM THE WHAT HE WANTS! We literally scream. Well, except for me and a very small minority of Gooners and footy fans everywhere. On the hand, when the club increased ticket prices by 3% after freezing it for years, the same people who want us to pay players whatever they want were up in arms. Apparently, they just realised the value of money and how little of it they have and are willing to part with.
The shit that footy fans say!
Nonetheless and whatever ones’ persuasion on the issue of the club’s spending, this has been a very good summer. Only one important first teamer left and we replaced him with the player benching him in their national team. The same player has fitted in perfectly into our system. We have added one of the best attacking talents in the world and a warrior of a player; the sort that you need in those battles that we sometimes look timid in. Most of his efforts in his first Premier league game did not come to fruition but like a true warrior, he just kept fighting and fighting. The rest of the league will not know what hit them after he has gelled fully with the rest of his team mates.
We got another English teenager and he came with the sort of price tag that they usually do. I am not happy about the price at all but it is not the fault of the young man and I don’t hold it against him. On the field of play, however, he has been beyond impressive, especially for his age. He has been so good that we are not really missing our new vice-captain and world cup winning BFG! We’ve also got, as a back up, a world cup goalkeeper! Missing the goalie, whose heroics (especially against Liverpool and for the shootout against Wigan) won us the FA cup is not looking like a problem at all. And we got our new goalie at a bargain too; I like that very much!
As was the case last season, the club has done a great job by keeping the core of the one from the previous season and have added valuable talents. The manager has been making his usual nuanced comments about adding players which is like a Rorschach test: every fan hears whatever they want him to mean. Many believe that we are still going to sign players and we might but it is unlikely, so it is time that people curb their expectations and support the team that we HAVE and not denigrate any of them in anticipation of the ones that we hope to get.
If you scan around the web and look at Arsenal fan sites, you’ll come across 3 main memes:
1. We need a MONSTER defensive midfielder; followed by how crap Arteta is. (They seldom use the word crap but I think you get my point)
2. We need a WORLD CLASS striker; followed by how crap Giroud is. (This is more literal)
3. We need another central defender of high calibre as Vermaelen is now gone. The reason why Vermaelen left is ALWAYS ignored.
These three are all valid desires and it is always a good thing to have as many good players as possible. When spoilt for choice, team selection headache is the sort that team managers must prefer (I assume as I have never managed a football team before in my life). The problem, of course, is the kind of shit that Arsenal fans spout as they make the aforementioned demands.
Need for a MONSTER defensive Midfielder: This is now a religious truism in Goonersphere. The reason why this position is mythical in Arsenal setting has been explained to death by many here on Untold Arsenal, Positively Arsenal and a few other blogs but like most things religious, rationality and evidence be damned. I read this piece detailing why we don’t really need a DM with facts and stats. It was followed by comments agreeing with the facts and stats BUT with most still dogmatically demanding a ‘monster’ DM.
A great point in the Community Shield victory over Man City was when our little Spaniard magician came to make a block inside our 18 yard box as a City attacker was about to shoot. Football, at least the sort that Arsenal play, is too fluid for a ‘monster’ defensive midfielder acting as a Wall of China, using his monster might to stop all opposition attacks from getting anywhere near our final 3rd. To be honest, it is a tantalising thing to have; the problem is that it is a myth. Unfortunately, people love nice sounding myths.
You can’t make a request for your ‘monster’ DM (or MDM for short) without letting the world know that 1. Arteta is slow; 2. Arteta is meek (unlike those aggressive mythical MDMs); 3. Arteta is old; and 4. We suffered those heavy away defeats to our rivals because we lacked a MDM. It is important to rubbish our captain as much as possible without actually calling him insulting names. In this respect, he is really, really lucky compared to Giroud.
Well, Arsenal fans in all their fickle glory can say whatever they want about Arteta but the person that really matters just gave him the biggest and most deserved vote of confidence by naming him captain. It gives me enormous satisfaction to read comments like:
“Now that Wenger has named Arteta captain, that mean he will be continue to be a first teamer and he is unlike to sign a MDM” followed by abuse of the manager.
Well, fuck yeah! And here is why! Wenger has always rewarded competence and loyalty and no one is more deserving than Mikel Arteta. He already captained us to 2 silverwares and he will captain us to more.
Need for a WORLD CLASS Striker: This is not new. No transfer demands list will ever be taken seriously if it does not include “a world class striker”. Arsenal particularly need this type of striker because….well, we all know that that Giroud is useless. Crapping on Giroud is a favourite pastime of far too many Gooners and it is often embarrassing to read, especially when you have fans of other teams writing stuff like this:
“sammy lee (Liverpool): Just read that Giroud has 40 goals in 100 games for Arsenal. That is pretty good. Does he get more stick than he deserves? Just the fact that he has played 100 games in 2 seasons is pretty outstanding considering Van Persie played 194 games in 8 seasons…Van Persie scored 96 goals, a higher average, but he did get fire in his boots in that last one. Giroud still has time to do that too and is only 27. Not long until Wenger has developed another player from good to great in Giroud. I think he will be one to look out for this season.” (TeamTalk YourSay- main page)
Aren’t our fans the most fickle in the world? Wanna find out? Go to the Arsenal Fan TV channel on Youtube and be amazed. The prevailing meme is ALWAYS based on whatever result the team just got and about how individual players performed – match by match! Robbie, the owner of the channel will pose questions to his interviewees in a manner that brings out their fickle worst. Another observer put together a mash up video of the regulars in their fickle glory and it was a beauty to watch. I regret not downloading the video before Robbie ran crying to Youtube to take it down because it gloriously showed how ridiculous he and his crappy ‘TV’channel are. The highlight of the video was a middle aged man literally crying about how useless Giroud was after a match and then singing “Nah na na na Giroud” a few clips later (after another match). Fickle fucker!
Need for Another Good Central Defender to Replace Vermaelen: This makes sense when you consider the fact that we just lost a good player. It’s ‘logical’ to just go ahead and replace him with a like for like defender. The issue that is always ignored by those clamouring for this, however, is why we lost our captain in the first place. The sort of central defender that is being requested is not going to sit on the bench as Vermaelen as just made clear, a sentiment that Gooners kinda, ironically, unanimously agree with.
So, why the request? We have 3 central defenders presently with Monreal being gently introduced into the position for emergency situations. One or 2 of our u-21s can be used for further cover in the extreme cases. The sort of defender that will be willing to sit on the bench and only be called upon once in a while is not likely to be any good, so what’s the point? Chambers will happily sit on the bench when Per returns. He will happily do this for the next couple of years but from what we have seen of him, he will get lots of opportunities when the games start coming fast and rotation becomes mandatory.
It has been a great transfer window for Arsenal and we have started the season better than we have in years. The team’s performance against Crystal Palace is far below what we all know they are capable of but let’s remember that we only got a scoreless draw against Sunderland 2 years ago and we lost 1-3 to Aston Villa (irrespective of the reasons) last year. This has been our best start to the league in 5 years. I don’t give a flying fuck about how jaded our performance was. We got the 3 points and I know that our boys are going to get better. I know that they are way better that what we saw on Saturday so I am not worried at all. I am just grateful that we did not lose any point.
The manager is keeping an open mind on recruitment and I intend to do the same. If he signs the mythical MDM; gets Falcao and Cavani to leave their respective mega rich clubs for us and at the same time gets a world class defender to warm our bench before the window closes, GREAT! If a less desirable combination of these or indeed none at all happened, I hope that our fans can appreciate what we have and carry on supporting the team without second guessing the players and their manager.
I did something that I have never done before in my life on Saturday morning before the Palace game: I gambled. Paddy Power advertised the odds of Arsenal winning the league as 20/1 (from 6/1). If it was a marketing ploy on their part, it worked as I felt so insulted by the odds that I decided to ‘punish’ them by collecting £210 with a tenner bet if my team pull it off. I am never betting again but my faith in this team is too strong to let this kind of insult slide. I don’t know if we are going to win the league or any other trophy for that matter but I am ready to battle anyone who thinks that we are out of any competition before a ball is even kicked. My hope is that I do more of those battles with the media and opposition fans and not my fellow Gooners.
Here is to a successful 2014/45 season; let’s all unite behind our darling Arsenal and keep the faith!