Are you sure you've got the patience to read this? If you have, you're probably not the archetypal modern tech-addict who needs everything instantly with a *ping* to boot. Either that or you're actually still human enough to grasp the concept that certain things taking time. The modern world has become a global network of exponentially increasing amounts of information and this data takes seconds to send from one side of the planet to the other. With the lightening fast pace of the world's interconnectivity comes a social attitude that demands instantaneous results. This craving for quick conclusions and even quicker fixes has inevitably leaked into the world of football. Beyond the obvious example that a managers tenure expectancy has dropped rather dramatically in the modern era, it's the fluctuant expectations of fans and people who comment on the game and the cursory conclusions they draw that are maybe most damaging to the way the game is currently viewed.
Applying this topic of interest to Arsenal was depressingly easy because after the first 45 minutes at Goodison Park last Saturday, many fans had decided that maybe Alexis isn't cut out to be that mobile number 9 that his apparent versatility and key attributes seemed to suggest he could be. I guess that's why football clubs don't do 45 minute trials and probably never, ever will. It's almost as if all the snippets of information, selective quotations and the bombardment of various tactical suggestions shared across the internet had given the impression that Alexis was some sort of virtual simulation of his own potential that could simply slot in seamlessly... Hang on, has anyone played FIFA recently?
Another Arsenal new boy, Calum Chambers, was lucky that he hit the ground running as well as he did in a position he also has limited experience in. I fear that if he hadn't done so, the defensive depth worries that exist at Arsenal would have been made into an even bigger hoo-hah. But that's not to say that people now think that Alexis won't do a job centrally, his quality is generally undoubted, it's just the knee-jerk reaction to a so far fruitless experiment. People want the perfect answer and they want it now.
Furthermore, what has really compounded this feeling of desperate impatience is the fact that Olivier Giroud has had his ankle broken(?) by a football. Now, the lambasted and, to many, inadequate striker is expected to be out of action for quite a while. Ironically, the social media madness that ensued has just highlighted how important a player Giroud is for Arsenal and now everyone wants it to be fixed and yeah, you guessed it, they want it now.
However, reliably informed BBC journalist, David Ornstein, has suggested that a striker still isn't a priority for Arsenal. Uh-oh. The fear and angst amongst the fans is palpable. The prospect of giving Alexis TIME to adapt, or giving Sanogo TIME to develop, or waiting a little more TIME for Walcott to return to full fitness is working up a collective cold sweat. Of course, this is understandable and not for one minute am I suggesting not signing striker cover is a wise move for Arsenal, but the manic scramble that is often affiliated with Arsenal at the end of a window seems to be more synonymous with the fans and media than the club itself.
Even the slow(ish) start to the season is frustrating the modern fan. Although very different circumstances and nothing like taking a point away from Goodison Park, the loss to Aston Villa on the opening day last season was met with a apocalyptic eruption of anger. Even though Arsenal went on a seriously impressive run of form after that and didn’t lose at home for the rest of the season, it still seemed as if they didn’t get going fast enough for some. But as I stated regarding the striker situation, not all of this is unjustified, it’s just simply a pattern that has emerged in the modern day supporting of a football club. And I think it’s definitely fair to say that the higher the expectation of a club, the more justified a want for fast results is.
However, the fact remains that, in football, things can take time. Manchester United, for example, aren’t yet seen as any less of a club just because they haven’t done well over the past year. Why? Because deep down people now that the likelihood is that with time their situation will improve (this is similar to my point re:Alexis not being seen as any less of a player). Yet, there is also the flip-side of the coin. Liverpool, despite their defensive frailties and loss of Suarez, are still considered serious contenders by many people because of one sterling (half) season. Ahem. It’s not black and white like that.
Returning to Arsenal, Gooners, perhaps above all others, should really know what it means for something to take time, even if it’s 9 years. But in part it’s not the fault of fans, it’s the fault of the modern society and the *click* *swipe* *click* *type* world we live in today. If it’s the way it’s going then so be it, but football clubs, managers and players will still take the time needed to get things right. But I won’t keep you any longer, you’ve probably got a time-line to update.