The light at the end of the tunnel…

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…

Firstly, Benayoun:

“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?

  • Domhuaille

    Well Devday…a very objective and supportive article….but wait, what’s that I see on the horizon, streaming towards us like a herd of rabid buffallo……..it’s the gloomy-doomer, whiner, moaner AAA brigade screaming expletives at Wenger, all things Arsenal, crying in their beers about how we will be relegated tomorrow morning, etc. ad nauseam.
    Anyway, keep up the good vibes mate!

  • ZimGooner

    Well said Dev. I think it’s time all cynics leave Arsenal and join cats like Na$ri at sh*t clubs Citeh. If you’re a true Gooner you’ve gotta Believe! Lecturing Wenger how to win trophies is like teaching him to suck eggs. Last nights results in Europe will only inspire us to win.

  • vj

    climbing up the table as you say Dev is indeed the only cure. Man U are playing Chelsea this weekend and it is a great opportunity to get back to the top with them dropping poinnts

  • Stuart

    Yes there maybe light at the end of the tunnel but it shouldn’t of got to this stage. Everyone knew that Cesc & Na$ri were leaving why did it get dragged out until the season started before the players went we should of done business back in July giving this new team time to GEL and then started a season ready. So yes I do blame the board for being money grabbing ditherers and I do blame wenger for throwing a team together after we started a new campaign.

  • rankie10

    nicely written mate.

  • rankie10

    Question for all fans. I personally believe that Wenger battled with the board all summer for players other than the ones that we signed. I think his comments about not being a big club if you sell your players, was aimed directly at the board. I think the players we ended up with (Mertesaker, Arteta, Benayoun and Santos) all came along because Wenger couldn’t the budget (transferr fee and importantly wage structure) he needed for the players he really wanted (such as Matta and Cahill) and the reason they came in so late was not becuase of what happened at United, but simply because Wenger had been hoping the board would budge and they did not.

  • sharad

    A draw against the German champions away from home is a good result. I think if the other English clubs did the same nobody would criticised them. As for individual performances Gervinho and Walcott stood out for being exceptionally bad. I can give Gervinho the benefit of the doubt as I think it’s too early to pass judgement. For Walcott there is no excuse as he’s been here for 4 years. Can’t get passed players, can’t cross, doesn’t tracked back and possessed a poor shot. His blatant dive in the box was also an embarressment. Why Wenger persists in sticking him out in the wings only he knows. As usual Wenger is blind to what everyone can see. Some things never change.

  • devday

    Thanks for your comments guys, much appreciated.

  • devday

    @ sharad:
    Wouldn’t you love to go back to 442 with Van Persie in the Bergkamp role and Theo in the TH14 role?

  • Berth

    Theo can’t be a credible striker. I feel he lacks the intelligence to make timely runs and when teams sit back and defend how o you expect Theo to hold on defenders and spin them with his chicken brain?

  • sharad

    @Dev- Ditto to that. If only my friend if only…

  • yemi

    Some of the negative publicity we have are caused by we fans and the press latches on to this and feed the press with all sorts of crap. If someone says there is a conspiracy against arsenal i will very much agree.
    If wenger had done the same thing mourinho (pulling the ear of a member of another teams crew), i am sure he would have had a months ban.

    Arsenal drew away to dortmund, it was hell and doom. Man u drew benfica and it was because the fielded a depreciated team (Of rooney, evra, giggs, park, valencia, fletcher, da silva).

    Anyway we gave them the chance to do this to us.

  • gareth

    Now that Wenger’s Kiddie Project has been shot to pieces and his handing out of a 4 year contract to a 29 year old has left him exposed to major criticism involving his previous stance on contracts what now for Wenger. No trophies in 6 years, soon to be 7, a far worse squad than at any time in the last 20 years and the certainty that this will be the our last season in the CL for some time should bring down the curtain on what has been a disasterous period for the club. Ownership is up in the air, the club lacks leadership on and off the pitch, fans are voting with their feet and staying away from games, can Wenger survive. It’s interesting that on both Soccer Saturday and The Sunday Supplement there were discussions as to the relative merits of the Arsenal squad against the squad Stoke have assembled under Pullis. The fact there was even a discussion illustrates the predicament Wenger and his mates on the Board have put us in. Paul Merson and Charlie Nicholas dismissed our chances of silverware and there was doubt amongst the panel that we would finish above Stoke. The journo’s on Sunday were even more dismissive. Our fall from grace is complete, Tuesdays performance where we were 2nd best throughout and survived only because Dortmund can’t finish must mean the end for Wenger. His philosophy of doing it without spending was always flawed, now it has been exposed as a failure there is nowhere for him to go. He has to go now before things get any worse, if indeed that is possible.

  • edison

    @gareth: its all too easy to get wrapped up in the media circus mate – anti-arsenal certainly isnt a new found stance by the media, and for once the team is very exposed, so it seems as though the criticism holds true. But I think itd be stupid for anyone to write-off Arsenal at the moment, especially us fans.

    Sure Merson and Charlie Nicholas would dismiss Arsenal’s chances of silverware at this moment in time, because realistically they would be considered mental if they backed us while we are sitting 12th in the league with a brand new squad. They’l all be saying the complete opposite as soon as we are back in the top 5.

    A 4 year contract to players 29 years of age is Arsenal through and through, that takes them up to 33 years old – Wenger’s usual cut off point for maturing players. If anything its a promising gesture, to ensure that the club keeps these players at their creative peak until the end of their career. Not a negative or a drastic change in policy.

    Unlike Chelsea or ManU we should have won on Tuesday, let alone draw. It was refreshing to see the team actually defending for once – at least in the first half. The second half wasnt impressive at all – the midfield broke down completely – but we managed to get the all important point away from home. job done.

  • vj

    Here’s my line up for us Dev

    Szczesny

    Sagna Mertesacker Vermaelen Gibbbs/Santos

    Arteta Song Wilshere Gervinho/Benayoun/Santos

    Walcott Van Persie

    Back to 4-4-2, what do you think?

  • kp007

    “People at the moment always have definite opinions – one game played and everybody knows who will win the European Cup, everybody knows who will the Championship, everybody knows absolutely everything. But they forget that next when they are wrong to say ‘sorry I was wrong’.”

    Well if that is the standard Wenger wants to hold people to then I’m still waiting for an apology for……

    Not strengthening in the 2008 transfer window, believing we were strong enough when most of us knew we weren’t;

    The ‘judge me in May’ comments of 2009 and throwing away the chance of reaching the FA Cup Final that year;

    The ‘we will show everyone the real Arsenal’ comments before the CL semi 2nd leg against Man Utd;

    The ‘this team is close to winning’ and ‘judge me in May’ comments of 2010;

    The ‘we are only 1 or 2% short’ comments;

    and there are plenty more since 2006 that we could take issue with him over simply using his own criteria.

    Wenger’s predictions have been so wrong for so long that I’m not sure saying sorry would even be sufficient compensation. Yet how many times have we heard him even admit to having made a mistake, let alone take responsibility for it? Indeed, I don’t even want to hear apologies as such because they are just words. Most gooners would much rather that the mistakes were just rectified, and in that he’s failed also.

  • bergChamp

    @ vj:
    I would love it if he went back to 4-4-2, but he won’t!

  • kp007

    @dev: Trouble is we have replaced two players with five first team players who though good are not quite as good as what we had – its about quality not quantity. Had the board (and possibly Wenger) shown a little more ambition we could have bought four players earlier in the summer who would have improved the team. Arsenal have very little ambition in my opinion or the ambition they have is stunted by their personal greed. A very sad state of affairs. I am just interested to see our transfer spending over the next twelve months and whether we will hear the “but we spent a lot last summer” excuse. No faith in that board – sooner they go the better.