Last call for the Arsenal bashing bandwagon

After scoring 11 goals in 3 games – 2 of them away from home – Arsenal have drawn 2 and lost 1, scoring only 5 goals and conceding 6.

Whilst this is not exactly superb form – especially given that we were 4-2 up last Wednesday with 5 mintues to go – I would not say that it could be described as a “crisis” yet. But the media have already smelt blood and they will not stop before they either make a kill (Wenger sacked or resigns) or they spot some more tasty morsels and run off after that (Arsenal start playing well and they can gush again, or some other team enters a “crisis”).

I was ashamed on Saturday – not because we lost – every team loses from time to time. It was the manner of the loss that got to me. We’re better than Stoke and should be able to exert our authority on any pitch against anyone. Robin Van Persie’s pathetic sending off was the foul tasting cherry on a sick tasting cake.

But the way the media react to these things is ludicrous. We played a weakened team tonight against a team that we thrashed 2 weeks ago. It finished 0-0. Big deal. Now its all talk of crisis and this insane focus on Wenger saying that he thinks Stoke were deliberately trying to injure our players at the weekend.

Whilst I obviously don’t think that Stoke were deliberately trying to injure our players, if anyone can watch the tackle on Theo Walcott and then tell me that that was a genuine attempt to get the ball, I’ll be amazed. Arsene Wenger is suggesting that some of the tackles made by Stoke City’s players were not entirely within the spirit of the game and in this, he is correct.

But of course, this is Arsenal we are talking about and if we’re not abusing Wenger for “seeing something” when sometimes he “didn’t see something” then we must assault him for being a cry baby and tell him to “grow up, its a man’s game”. Of course, the attitude of the media might be slightly different were it to be a reaction to seeing Wayne Rooney or Steven Gerrard being injured by a lunging tackle the week before a crucial England game but for now, its Arsenal so anything is fair game.

Personally, I think it is plainly clear that we have to recruit some physically stronger players to deal with the more “basic” elements of the game. But no-one who watches football for fun and entertainment can say that they prefer to see the skilful players brutally kicked out of the game rather than see a superbly worked team goal.

The media attitude to Arsenal baffles me – years ago, it was “Lucky Arsenal”, then it was “Boring Arsenal”, now its “Moaning Arsenal”. Sometimes we play well, sometimes not. Just like any other team. So why on earth are we treated differently to any other team?

It beats me – the only thing I can think of is that it has almost become a cultural thing, in the same way that phrases such as “Tottenham fans love to see good football” and “The fans in the North East love their strikers” have become such oft repeated terms that they are delivered as regularly and as monotonously as the speaking clock delivers the time.

We have an extremely tough few games coming up – my guess is that, by the end of this month, the media will have manoeuvred themselves and the bulk of the Arsenal fans into believing that Arsene Wenger is “under pressure” (another one of those speaking clock type terms) and that sooner rather than later he should be sacked.

I just hope that the people who run the club don’t fall for it like most of the other club owners do and that they stick by their man for a good year or so at least. If anyone can sort things out, I can’t think of anyone more qualified than Arsene Wenger.

Categories Arsenal/Football

Post Author: Simon Barnett

2 Replies to “Last call for the Arsenal bashing bandwagon”

  1. I don’t want to go on about the current “crisis” for too long and do agree with most of your views.

    I supported Arsenal for 15 years before they ever won or even threatened to win anything and the media then was exactly the same as it is now against us. My Dad always said it went back to the Thirties when we were known as the Bank of England team and dominated football in this country partly because we spent a lot of money on players which was fairly unusual at that time. Strangely this media attitude seems to have been passed down from journalist to journalist.

    I agree that Arsene is the man to sort it out and must be given a chance over the next 2 transfer windows to do this. I believe he has been surprised that this team are not as good as he thought and is having to think again, in his own patient way, about the future.

    By the way I think his comments on the BBC website today about Arsenal players getting booked after 1 foul are, in fact, accurate and merely echoes our own feelings. I’m sure if we became more physical we would pay the price with bookings and sending offs and the Wenger roll of shame would be on view for all to see.

    I guess it’s siege mentality from now on.

  2. Blog when you’re losing
    You only blog when you’re losing
    Blog when you’re loooooosing
    etc.

    heh.

    Seriously though, I think you’re wrong, Stoke WERE deliberately trying to hurt Arsenal players. OK, perhaps that’s going a little far but I would say they are indifferent to whether they hurt or not. They are also the most one dimensional team in the known universe. I am not condoning violence but if someone crocked Delap they wouldn’t ever score again.

    As a neutral, I would say that Arsenal don’t get nearly as much grief as Chelsea did, as Liverpool do or United have always had. What one might snobbishly call ‘real football fans’ will always have Arsenal as their second team, perhaps even because of their frailties and stubborn unwillingness to divert from their principles. In my humble opinion, Arsenal fans should be less defensive because it will just perpetuate the growing red-top-media perception that Arsenal are moaners.

    That said, about Stoke, my initial reaction to the foul on Walcott was that he was fouled by a tackle from behind but made sure he got the foul by jerking (fnaar) his body in the air to emphasise the fact he was fouled. Unfortunately that skewed his body and he landed awkwardly on his shoulder. The fact that he’s out with a shoulder injury, not an ankle injury might support that. I think some of the other fouls were much worse but Stoke have been doing this for 3 years and have been schooled well in how to foul without it looking too bad. Their players are, essentially, all 35 year old League 1 centre backs, they know the score.

    Anyway, I wouldn’t worry too much, you’re 4th in the league, top of your Champions Lge group, still in the League cup and FA Cup and you have brilliant players who get roughly treated by scared opponents. I know it’s all relative but, as an Ipswich fan, I’d sell my soul to Delia Smith to have just the brilliant players.

    As an aside, I wonder what is Arsenal’s view about Phil Garside’s proposals for a closed-shop, two tier Premiership with no relegation. Had that happened 5 years ago, you’d not have lost to Hull or been kicked off the park by Stoke. However, like you were saying to me last week, we all love seeing a fight, some on-pitch carnage and some great football. You get teams like Arsenal and you get teams like Stoke, vive le differrence as Arsene will not be heard saying on the topic.

    I take it we aren’t going to any FA Cup games this weekend?

    Damon.

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