There’s a lot of negativity surrounding Arsenal at the moment, and in most of the comments I read through this blog, through twitter, through facebook et al, everyone has a bad word to say about the board, the manager, the team or the youth. In a year when we’ve lost two of our best players to injuries (Wilshere & Vermaelen) and lost two to ongoing transfer sagas (Nasri & Cesc) and brought in 8 new players – 5 first teamers – surely, we have to give the team some time to settle, to gel, to get to know each other and get some games under their belt before we pass judgement.
As we saw last night, Premier League high flyers, Man City and Man United both drew to their European opposition 1-1. The same scoreline as we did. Europe is a different kettle of fish and everyone who you play at this level is of a certain quality. Dortmund, Napoli and Benefica are all quality opposition. “Draw your away games and win your home ones” is the motto of the Champions League group stage and the scorelines around Europe yesterday, including a home defeat for Inter Milan against Trabzonspor, show the quality of the competition.
What I’ve found funny about the negativity is the bad publicity for Per Mertersacker. He’s played two games and he’s played very well in them. He is an experienced player, was captain of his previous club, has 70+ International caps and has been pretty damn good since he’s joined. There is so much bad fan press about him, you’d think we’d re-signed Pascal Cygan!
The main thing for Arsenal at the moment is to put a run of games together. We need to climb the table – something that will happen slowly but surely if we just get our heads down and start to play the game we know how… the next set of games this month are:
- Blackburn (away), Premier League
- Shrewsbury Town (home), Carling Cup
- Bolton (home), Premier League
- Olympiacos (home), Champions League
All of these games are winnable, 6 points in the league will shoot us to the top half, maybe the top 6 depending on results… and once we’re there, things will look a whole lot better. Blackburn are not the force they were last season and that wasn’t really much of a force anyway, and Bolton at home should be beatable.
The game against Shrewsbury will allow us and allow Arsene to experiment with a few new recruits, such as Santos and Park Chu Young, as well as youngsters such as Oxlade, Miyachi, Coquelin and Jenkinson.
And then the trip against Olympiacos should come off the back of a few good wins and allow us to grab this group stage by it’s throat.
I can definitely see the light at the end of the tunnel, but patience is key and as fans our over-over-reactions to every minute detail or non-detail doesn’t help at all… so, let’s get excited, let’s imagine the possibilities, let’s dream of where we can be and let’s see our team kick off and start to gel…
I’ll leave you with some quotes from the new boys…
“I believe that we can win something. There is a long way to go and we have to improve but we have a lot of quality and will do everything to win a trophy.”
And of course, fan’s favourite:
“With a club like Arsenal, you are going to be under pressure and you need to handle it and try your best,” he said. “At every club I have been at, I have had pressure and this is not going to be different. But being under pressure is good because it means people expect something from you. The challenge here is to win trophies and at Everton I didn’t have the chance to do that. Hopefully we are going to have it here and we can make it.”
If they believe, why shouldn’t we?