Make or Break 2013

Firstly, I’d like to take this opportunity to wish all readers a happy new year. The blog has had a quiet few days after a busy start to the year for all our writers. My first post of 2013 may not be pretty reading for many. Eleven days into the new year we find ourselves discussing two serious concerns on the forums and twitter. One affects football as a whole, the other is a common problem that Arsenal fans have been pulling their hair out over in recent seasons.

The first concern is over ticket pricing and it has reared its ugly head again after Man City returned 800 tickets from their allocation for this weekend’s game, with some of their fans refusing to travel to away games in London due to the prices being charged from clubs in the capital. Good on them, I say. However as one blogger pointed out recently some 20,000 Arsenal fans have bought tickets in the same price category (£62) for this fixture. Football supporters as a whole are suffering from overpriced tickets. Arsenal fans in particular are feeling less and less convinced that such prices represent value for money. The quality of football on display at the Emirates has deteriorated in the last few seasons, and many feel that the money the club is receiving from ticket sales is not duly being reinvested into strengthening the squad.

The quality of football certainly is not what is expected. Gone are the days where we routinely break away from a corner with pace and devastation to score a goal of our own. The counter attacks of old just don’t seem to happen anymore. Also gone, are the frightening passes in between the lines, carving defences open in the Barcelona-esque dismantlement that used to see us create goals out of nowhere. Now it seems as though most of the game we play the backwards/sideways passing game, waiting for an opening to appear. With most Premier League teams now able to play a disciplined defensive game, we find ourselves frustrated at a lack of creative openings and opportunity.

The bottom line is that we have suffered immensely from not being able to fill the void left by Cesc. His ability to find the pass through the eye of a needle is missing in midfield. Arteta is a great footballer, but he doesn’t seem able to add those passes to his game. Santi Cazorla has shown he can be capable, but he lacks the consistency that we had with Cesc in the side. Jack Wilshere is undoubtedly going to become an important component in our midfield. But he is not there yet, he is still young and learning the game. We rely on him too much to perform a task he is not quite ready to perform.

Which leads me to the second concern – transfers. As stated above, many if not all of us are fed up with a lack of activity in the transfer market, especially given the amount of money we spend to support the team. The manager has come out with the predictable ‘we only buy top, top quality’ line once again and us fans are left scratching our heads. He has said this for the past few seasons, and the signings we made include Gervinho, Squillaci, Bischoff, Chamakh and so on. Top, top quality? The bottom line is we refuse to spend on players at market value. Yes, £20 million is an absurd amount to fork out on a transfer fee. But ambitious clubs at the top of the league spend that kind of money on players, and if they are willing to spend that money then it must be considered ‘market value’.

I am a supporter who is prepared to stay quiet and see what happens when FFP comes in. Gazidis promises a brighter future in and around 2014, when FFP takes full force and when the club can realise its true commercial potential, something it has been unable to do since moving to the new stadium. I am prepared to offer my support to this cause because, on the face of it, it seems like a feasible objective. However, the club needs to go into that new phase in a healthy position. Not just financially, but ‘footballistically’ too. We need to, at the very least, be a champions league team going into this phase. It would be a shame to spoil the chances of things going to plan because we dropped into the Europa League just before we head into this new era. A Europa League team does not attract the type of player needed to challenge at the top, and it would be a bad idea to start the age of FFP in a worse position than the one we are in now.

However, if we do not strengthen the squad now, we are playing with fire when it comes to finishing in a top-4 berth come May. We have been here before in January. The season has shown familiar inconsistencies.  Moments of attacking brilliance overshadowed by inadequate defensive frailty. In the past, we had the players to pull us through. Henry, Cesc, Nasri, RVP. Now we look at a squad where a contract rebel is being tasked with the job and we wonder if, finally, the task at hand is too much for the players we have at our disposal. It’s too much of a risk to rely on this squad without reinforcements.

Please Arsene, for the love of God, make a couple of big signings.

JAT

@j1mm7t

  • Kiki

    Wishere’s passion and diligence this match was inspiring, but sad that we couldn’t get on the scoreboard. I saw miscommunication up front, but I think that there should be more time given to this team so that their teamwork gets better. If Arsenal has to choose, I would recommend that they use it to renew the contracts and get more wages for the players so that they stay.

  • dsreve

    I don’t want to hear any whinging about Mike Dean and his decisions. Kompany’s red card was harsh, Koscielny’s was not. Oh yeah Koscielny – the bloke everybody has wanted to bring back into the side to pair up with that the useless German lump at the expense of TV5. Well give me TV5 any day. After the sending off in the first half only Ches, TV5 and Wilshere showed any heart or desire whatsoever, whilst the rest wandered around feeling sorry for themselves looking as if the whole world was against them. Nobody denies that playing with 10 against City is a difficult proposition but the way we folded like a cheap poker hand was fucking embarrassment….and people actually want to take the captaincy away from one of the few fucking blokes that cares

    Mertesacker outjumped at every set play AGAIN. What does anyone see in this useless piece of shit – can’t jump, can’t run, clumsy and ponderous. Honestly he was fucking abysmal and I’d love to hear any sort of defence for that shambolic effort. Gibbs was awful for the second goal, what a poofy fucking tackle to lead to that goal. Cazorla absolutely fucking anonymous for 45 minutes, Walcott straying offside to break whatever little rhythm we were trying to put together.

    Abou was shit – there I’ve said it. As soon as I knew he was playing in that fucking holding role, I knew it would be a mistake and it was. As usual when he was in the dangerous areas e.g. setting up Podolski in the first half he showed touches of pure class but he never ever will be a CDM and Lord Wenger is just going to ruin him along with many others. Whilst we’re on that topic – Lukas Podolski – you might as well bugger off son because yet again you were nowhere near the worst player on display out there but of course the Self Harmer had to sub you didn’t you?

    And if anyone fancies defending Giroud’s honour tonight please spare me. Even Mrs SteveO was saying “why is he always falling over?”. Honestly the bloke has all the grace of a drunk giraffe, but he won a few meaningless flick ons so that’s OK I guess

    All in all, a complete fucking shambles. Defensively inept as ever, no spirit whatsover until the game was already lost, and too many players that simply aren’t anywhere near top four standard

    This is definitely going to be Wenger’s worst ever season in charge and I’m glad that the fans are finally starting to vote with their feet. I really hope we don’t finish in the top 4 and that it fucking hits Kroenke hard – to the tune of £30m or so – because this entire management team have been fucking us all over for too long

    Pitiful on and off the pitch….but I hear we’re “working really hard to strengthen”. Don’t make me fucking laugh Wenger – same comments, different transfer window. Just please please please fuck off now and leave our club in the hands of somebody who actually cares

  • jat85

    This team is crying out for additions. Kiki, your point about grooming what we have is admirable, but we have been grooming for 7 years now and it isn’t working. The moment the groomed player becomes a star, he moves on. This side simply does not have the quality needed at the moment. Wenger claims the kind of player we need is unavailable, but I disagree. The kind of player we need is available, just at a price. And a price which we are never willing to match. We’ve missed out on players like Alonso, Drogba and Ronaldo over the years because someone else was willing to pay a few million more for them. Enough is enough, we need to bring some proven quality into this team or we’re asking for trouble. As I said in my post above, we need to be going into the FFP era in a good position. We won’t be able to realise our commercial potential in 2014 as a Europa League team. We are failing at the final hurdle. No more excuses, get the chequebook out.

  • Kiki

    I agree that additions would strengthen the team, but if we are not able to keep our players for a long time, then adding players would be just as futile as trying to fill a bottomless cup. We will be signing on and selling important players every season as we have for the past few years with Clichy, Fabregas, Song leaving while we gain Arteta, Cazorla, Gervinho, etc. It’s a trend that I would like to see change.

    A player’s loyalty to the club seems to be waning even more so today as transfer prices and wages increase almost astronomically. It’s logical that it should. I’m just saying that if Arsenal is strapped for cash to sign influential players, then I would rather want that budget to be used to keep the essential players we already have rather than signing Nani and losing Walcott for an “unlikely” example. I think that it would create greater stability at the club going forward.

  • limet

    Quite simply……..this is just not good enough. How the mighty , well
    maybe once mighty. this is an Arsenal team that bar one or 2, has no
    heart, desire or passion to get stuck in and play for the club. Mr
    Wenger, it is high time you bring quality experienced good players in,
    or do the honorable thing and resign to the upper section of the board
    and allow someone else with new ideas to take the club forward.

  • veny

    The second half performance was as good as anything we’ve produced all
    season, whilst the first half was the usual tippy tappy go-slow and
    don’t dare to shoot effort that has been a regular event in the first
    half of games this season. Why does it seem to pan out like that these
    days? God knows, because it was clear that when we stepped up the tempo
    in the second half that we had too much for Swansea and if we’d started
    like that we could have put them to the sword long before Jack’s goal as
    they did sweet FA except Bartley hitting the bar

    We’ve got three
    guys in the side who give their all week in, week out – Wilshere, Gibbs
    and Vermaelen. They’ve all got their faults and people are quick to
    pounce on the odd defensive lapse from the latter two but they worked
    their socks off again last night, especially Gibbs who gets precious
    little support defensively and covers every blade of grass up and down
    the left side. But, Wilshere was undoubtedly man of the match again –
    the guy really is a different class and I can only hope Kroenke and
    Wenger fuck off long before he does and a new man makes him the eventual
    captain and builds a team around him worthy of the name

    The main
    front men were absolutely pathetic however. Walcott looked like the
    player of two years ago – all pace and no composure, poor timing of his
    runs etc, but another comedy gold star goes to that utterly useless
    carthorse he was playing alongside again. Honestly, Le Chapman is an
    absolute excuse of a centre forward. When he connects with a cross his
    ’50 pence head’ often results in the attempt at goal looking more like a
    clearance, whilst that one shot he had in the first half served only to
    warm up the photographers to the side of the goal. Worst of all is this
    mythical high work rate – what a fucking joke that is. In the first
    half in particular he loped around, arched back looking skywards after
    every poor touch (of which there were many) – if you want to see hard
    work look at Wilshere and Gibbs. Every time he gets a chance its blasted
    or shanked wide or straight at the keeper. The only thing he does OK is
    win a few flick ons and holds off defenders well enough with back to
    goal before rolling a simple 3 yard pass to a teammate – well Jason
    Roberts, Kevin Davies and Bobby Zamora can all do that and I wouldn’t
    expect to part with €14m for any of them. Honestly, people think I’m
    harsh on the bloke but he is never going to have the pace, technique or
    finishing ability to be anything more than our very own modern day
    Chapman.

    But we’re still in the cup – the one that matters

  • joel

    Waiting for the transfer window to close before another post are we !? Great idea by the way ..

  • sim

    I’m really happy that we won the game, but I have to point out our poor defence (like many of you have already). Santos, as usual, was extremely bad, but I’m mostly disappointed with Mert. His marking from the cross for their second goal was poor and he didn’t boss our defence for their goal from the corner (although Szczesny is also at fault). One would expect more from a player whom Wenger signed to bolster our defence from crosses and set pieces. On the plus side, Giroud was outstanding again, Ramsey seems to be better in his new deeper role and Diaby got some good game-time under his belt again before Liverpool. I’m super angry at Theo for not passing to Giroud for his hatrick, but I guess it’s okay considering that he scored the winner (albeit through a deflection). COYG!

  • sim

    Same old, same old really. Could have won, could have got thrashed, could be decent, could be woeful.

    How many more times do we need to be reminded that Santos is a fucking useless waste of space. I don’t think I have ever seen a player look so bad for so many matches and still get in the squad. I doubt that he would even get on the ground staff at any other top-flight club and that includes most European leagues.

  • Yemi

    Ha the whole WOA team gone on a sabbatical?

  • Yemi

    Has the whole WOA team gone on a sabbatical?

  • Yemi

    I miss my man Kodjo too

  • yemi

    Whats happening here? Has the blog been abandoned?

  • dean

    as a paid up season ticket holder since 1984 do you really think I could
    possibly walk away from the club I love? Do I give up my season ticket
    in protest to effect change only to then be unable to watch my team when
    change comes because – like some kind of martyr? Some times extreme
    measures need to be taken in order to be heard and as much as I don’t
    agree with booing I do agree that a protest inside the ground is
    required. As you say we are two sides of the same coin but the coin is
    loaded on your side. In the ground you can sing loud and proud in your
    support of Wenger, ‘give us a wave’ and the fact there is only ‘one’ of
    him. Your suggestion means those who don’t agree with you need to sit in
    silence and bite their tongues. The thing you forget is people pay
    their hard earned money and have the right to express their feelings and
    opinions in the same way as the AKB brigade. Your reference to the BSM
    is somewhat ill informed, it is just a bunch of disaffected fans – it is
    a group that is sick to the back teeth that there are a very small
    group of people who are making a shocking amount of money from our club
    without putting anything in. If you can’t see that as long as the
    profits come the football side of the business will remain a second
    priority then you are naive in the extreme. Wenger will stay in control
    until the end of time if the money continues to roll in – lack of
    success on the field is irrelevant to them. This is where our club is
    failing it’s supporters and this is why we need to raise our voices. I’d
    prefer to do this by walking out in a mass exodus after 8 minutes than
    by booing, or not entering the ground until half time but then
    supporting the team with all my might. I love what Arsene did for our
    club but just like with George Graham things have gone stale and a new
    set of ideas are needed to take us forward. I don’t want to end up
    resenting Wenger so he should do the right thing and step aside. He
    loves the club and that means he needs to put ego and pride to one side
    and recognise that his time has passed. If he doesn’t then I am in no
    doubt that the more extreme levels of protest that none of us want will
    follow and that won’t be a good day for the club that we all love.

  • sim

    Got to laugh at mertesacker. What a complete and utter donkey. Without doubt one of the worst defenders ive seen in my time. The one thing that stuns me more than anything is his vertical. My god. He can barely jump. Hes a huge guy, yet he cannot get off of the floor and loses mostly every single 50/50 in the air. Not an Arsenal player in my opinion. Utterly awful and needs to be replaced asap.

  • CON-MAN

    wow wtf has happened here? I dont mind guest blogging if were short on writers…?

  • Andrew

    This blog s officially dead. Was my favorite read.

    R.I.P. world of arsenal. I shall not visit this site anymore.

  • CON-MAN

    Hold on! let me find out from Dev what’s going on!

  • dean

    The
    idea is simple: let’s make up someone who can be Mr Incompetent, and
    lets laugh at him a lot. Oh I know. Mr Wenger. The one man in the
    Premier League who never ducks a question, never refuses to talk to the
    media, always graces even the most stupid journalistic question with an
    answer – let’s get him.

    It is difficult to think of a club that has come under such attack as
    Arsenal have in the last couple of weeks. Arsenal were one of three
    top clubs that lost to lower league opposition recently in the Cup. But
    has Tottenham and Liverpool undergone such attacks? I suspect not.

    Arsenal lost to Bayern Munich – and were criticised for that.
    Forgetting perhaps the English teams already out of the competition.
    Did they get attacked? No.

    Arsenal might not qualify for the Champions League next season. They
    might, but they might not. So let us look at the league table.
    Liverpool isn’t even listed in my little extract from the league
    positions.

    1

    (1)
    Manchester United
    27
    22
    2
    3
    64
    31
    33
    68

    2

    (2)
    Manchester City
    27
    16
    8
    3
    50
    24
    26
    56

    3

    (4)
    Tottenham Hotspur
    27
    15
    6
    6
    47
    32
    15
    51

    4

    (3)
    Chelsea
    27
    14
    7
    6
    55
    30
    25
    49

    5

    (5)
    Arsenal
    27
    13
    8
    6
    52
    30
    22
    47

    6

    (6)
    Everton
    27
    10
    12
    5
    41
    34
    7
    42

    Are Liverpool being torn apart week after week? I think not.

    No, Arsenal, and in particular, Mr Wenger, is the target. And when
    the journalists have had enough, they go and get all the ex-players who
    can be found and who just reiterate the same old stuff, over and
    over. The ex-players quite like it, since they are all after media
    work. Funny thing that – if you want a job in the media, your chances
    of getting such a chance are enhanced if you are an ex-Arsenal player
    with a penchant for mouthing off.

    Shame on you guys. We worshipped you, just like we worshipped the
    team and the club of your era. Turning your back on Arsenal now and
    spouting this drivel does not help anyone – except yourselves. Now we
    see you as you really are.

    Then a minority of fans get onto the phone ins and slag off Wenger.
    The pro-Wenger lobby – the people who have cheered at the recent upturn
    in form in league matches – don’t bother with such tripe. So it goes.

    In reality is that this is certainly not our best Wengerian season,
    but it is one hell of a lot better than we have been most of the time in
    Arsenal’s history. Do you remember when we were bottom of the
    league? Well, if you claim to have been an Arsenal supporter who saw
    the first double under Bertie Mee in 1971, you’ll remember. It was
    Bertie Mee who also took us to the bottom of the league. Under Wenger
    there has been more doubles and nothing like that.

    Instead of the years and years of failure after 1972, we have had 13
    years of playing in the knockout stages of the Champions league. And
    for all the years since we won a trophy, there is no reporting in the
    press of how many years it has been since Tottenham won the league. Why
    not? If Arsenal is due all this attack, why not Tottenham?

    OK they may have won some things (I haven’t really noticed). But if
    that is the case it is only because of the way the media has framed the
    question. Why is winning anything the issue? Why not “winning the
    league” or “winning the league without losing a match”.

    We also have the Emirates, which I think is a brilliant stadium. We
    are not like the clubs who have yet to develop a new stadium (rather
    like Tottenham, Everton and Liverpool). We didn’t have to get the state
    to build the stadium for us (as did Man City, and presumably as WHU are
    getting).

    And we don’t have huge debts or a benefactor, just at the time when
    financial regulations are moving in a direction that benefits us.

    Of course I would like us to be higher up the league, to have beaten
    Bradford and Blackburn, and not to be behind Tottenham. Of course.

    But not at the cost of the spending of Manchester City or Chelsea and
    giving ourselves up to a benefactor who changes manager when he feels
    like it.

    And so what I want to know is why the press corps let Roberto Mancini
    say that he has been the best manager in England over the last 15
    months or so, without anyone who was at the press conferences having a
    bash at him, rather than bashing Arsene Wenger.

    That is not to say that I want to attack Mancini, any more than I
    particularly cared about the fact that Sir Alex wouldn’t talk to the BBC
    for quite a while (actually I quite enjoyed that) but it really all
    does seem one rule for Arsenal, one rule for the rest.

    Where was the criticism of the failure of Man City and Chelsea in the
    Champs League this year? Sure there was some, but it only lasted a
    little time. And I don’t mean to compare that with Arsenal who will
    probably go out to Bayern after the next game. I simply mean, judged by
    their resources and expectations, surely they were due some criticism.
    And yes they got some – but nothing like the stuff thrown at Arsenal by
    the press day after day after day after day after day.

    For me the worst possible outcome of this media and AAA
    hysteria would be not that Mr Wenger would leave (although that would
    be bad enough) but rather that he would leave and go and manage at
    Manchester City. Because with the endless resources there he would walk
    off with the Double. And the Champions League. Worse we would get one
    of the other supposedly top managers like Benitez. Now that would be a
    test of my endless loyalty.

    But of course we don’t know who will go where or when, and we can
    only marvel at how Liverpool FC has managed to sink as low as it has,
    and to screw up its transfers as much as it has, without getting 5% of
    the negative comment Arsenal gets every day, every month.

    I wonder also about the summer to come. If Luis Suarez is tempted
    out of Liverpool and Gareth Bale out of Tottenham, just as Cesc and RVP
    were tempted out of Arsenal, what then? Will they both find
    replacements that continue to keep them where they are (striving for a
    top four in Tottenham’s case, playing catch up in Liverpool’s).

    But let’s try it backwards. What if Arsenal had not been the force
    it has been. Supposing we had continued with Rioch – would we have
    stood in the way of endless domination by Man U? I doubt it. Instead I
    rather think the league would have been closer to the situation in
    Scotland in their top league (and come to that in their third division).

    Under Rioch I can’t see us having kept pace with Liverpool, let alone
    Chelsea. I rather suspect that we would be more interested in keeping
    up with the clubs at the foot of the league, rather than having created
    the only Unbeaten Season in either the 20th or 21st centuries. No
    doubles, just a mid-table job with occasional trips into the
    Championship – just like Man U, Man C and Tottenham before us.
    (Actually I am sure Chelsea went down as well sometime, but I just can’t
    remember when it was).

    We have had a wonderful time, seen wonderful football, are still up
    with the elite, who spend so much more than us, and are ready to take
    advantage of our new money, and the new FFP regulations. Of course if
    you demand that Arsenal win the league all the time, that’s not enough.
    But perhaps I still remember being bottom of the league under Bertie
    Mee, and that’s why I am willing to wait a while longer. – See more at: http://blog.emiratesstadium.info/archives/27549#sthash.fKLMA7Rb.dpuf

  • worldofarsenal

    Hey All… the blog is not dead!! Don’t you worry!

    It’s coming back in April.

    It’s been put on hold as I’ve had two deaths in the family and have got engaged too… (meaning I was away for 3 weeks!)

    We’re revamping the format and re-starting it in April.

    Stay tuned!

  • 55

    Arsene Wenger’s
    contract at Arsenal runs out next summer and although people are saying
    it may be time to replace him I think that would be the wrong move.

    He’s been with
    Arsenal for a zillion years and sometimes change can be good to freshen
    things up but I genuinely believe that Arsene has it in him to end his
    days here on a high.

    Wenger does an
    awful lot for a manager. He pretty much runs the whole club from top to
    bottom and I think if he could just focus on the football side of things
    and get some help then we can compete for titles again.

    The board need to
    help him a bit more because the likes of Stan Kroenke are about as
    useful as a chocolate teapot at the moment.

    They need to take
    the pressure of the clubs finances away from the gaffer and let him get
    on with the playing side of things again.

    We all know that
    Wenger is incredibly stubborn. In fact I’ve seen mule’s gaze at him in
    awe. But if he can get some guys with the clubs best interests at heart
    alongside him then it can only be good right?

    I’m sure the likes
    of Keown, Parlour, Henry and Bergkamp would love the chance to work at
    the Arsenal again. They hold the clubs values to this day and Wenger can
    trust them.

    And it may put a
    few noses out of joint but maybe the bullet could be bitten and David
    Dein, or a man Arsene can work with, could be brought in because that
    would benefit the club.

    What’s most
    important here is Arsenal Football Club. We all want to win things and
    need the right man to lead us back to those days.

    In my view Arsene Wenger can be that man again. Give him a new deal but with less responsibility.

    Take the finances away from him. Let him run the footballing side of things and get people in to help. People that he trusts.

  • finn

    I’m not making this up and it’s not the usual cocksure bravado that
    you get from the average sports fan but if I’m completely honest, I’m
    not nervous about Sunday.

    Yes, Arsenal are facing the form team of the Premier League, with the
    form player, playing at the highest level of his career. A player who
    has just this year unleashed a Ronaldo-esque toe-punch from set pieces. A
    toe-punch that is, I might add, getting him goals from dead ball
    situations. Dead ball situations that Mark Clattenburg will gladly award any time anyone gets anywhere near Gareth Bale and he falls over like he loves to do.

    And we all know that Gareth Bale is the darling of the Lickspittles
    on Fleet Street because he’s a player who admits that he dives and who
    (like Rooney before him) gets a pass in the press. I’m not exactly sure
    why he gets a pass, maybe he needs to dive for Wales against England, in
    a World Cup match or something before he will get the royal treatment.
    But the marked difference between the way that the Daily Mail basically
    hung Eduardo in effigy and have instead made excuses for Bale’s diving is, well… marked.

    And still I’m not worried about Sunday.

    I even know that it’s a big game, probably the biggest of the season.
    How could I not know that Tottenham are above Arsenal in the table and
    that this one game could go a long way toward solidifying them as
    finishing above Arsenal for the first time since 1995? And how could I
    have missed the fact that this game could very well determine what type
    of European football Arsenal play next year? I couldn’t and I didn’t.

    I also know that Arsenal have an error prone defense. One which is
    setting ignominious records for allowing slapstick goals. I know that
    Arsenal’s captain, and chief of the defense, is not in his best form,
    that the team’s most experienced right back is out injured and in his
    stead Arsenal will start a very raw Carl Jenkinson, and that the team
    has a new left back who has never experienced a North London Derby. Both
    fullbacks will be tested by the aforementioned Bale, who will be making
    every effort to get the ball on his left foot and fire in wicked shots
    that will test Arsenal’s shaky keeper.

    This should be the kind of game that I’m very worried about, but I’m not.

    My quiescence comes not from a sense of bravado about the fact that
    we have beaten Tottenham 5-2 in two consecutive matches, that Arsenal
    have the better head to head record over the entire career of Arsene
    Wenger, and that they have a long history as the little bottlers who
    couldn’t. I was in London last year when Spurs were overturned from a
    2-0 lead. I sat on the train my last night in London last year and
    watched as a Spurs supporter openly wept because Tottenham had just lost
    3-1 to Man U and he knew that the bottling of their season had begun.
    That fact should have leave me feeling confident but it’s not the reason
    why I feel the way I do.

    No, this Spurs team look like a strong team who will give Arsenal a
    real challenge. And Arsenal are starting to look like the team who tend
    to disappear from matches. Arsenal are a team who can go into a big game
    and not even bother to show up until the opposition have already won.
    Arsenal can stumble through the first half like a blind drunk and wait
    until the second half to even bother start playing, time and again.

    And yes, this is the biggest game that Arsenal will face for the rest
    of the season. If every season is a story, then this game is the
    climax. From Sunday at about 10am local time, the season will start to
    be resolved. There will be more matches and naturally there will be some
    more drama but nothing will compare to this game and the events which
    unfold in this game will almost certainly determine the path that
    Arsenal take for the next few months, if not even longer.

    Missing out on Champions League football would set in front of this
    Arsenal board and Arsene Wenger a choice: double-down on the policy
    which has gotten the team to where we are now or change directions and
    rebuild.

    And yet, I’m not worried.

    I’m not worried because I’m anchored by the history of the Arsenal.
    I’m anchored by the 13 league titles. The 16 consecutive years of
    Champions League football. The Invincibles. The players who have come
    and gone and the players who are enshrined outside of the Emirates.
    Players like Henry, Adams, and Dennis Bergkamp who now have a granite reminder outside our gleaming new stadium that form is temporary but class is permanent.

    It’s that class that Arsenal exudes in everything we do that is the
    difference and what gives us, as a club, a leg up over Tottenham. It’s
    not the back to back 5-2 wins over them, it’s the fact that we didn’t
    need to make a DVD to celebrate those wins. It’s the fact that we have
    millions of fans from all over the globe. Fans like me who are going to
    Munich to support the Arsenal come what may.

    And maybe I’m “frying chickens in the barnyard” crazy but come what
    may on Sunday, I will always be an Arsenal supporter. And that means I
    will always be one better than Spurs.