Below is a collection of fairly obvious and only semi-insightful contemplations. But their obviousness is what makes them so hard to recall when the going gets tough. I do not expect to light the world on fire with these opinions (although I am sure some of them will light fires in others) but I do hope to restore some calm to those that are capable of it.
Given my inability to talk to anyone on Saturday afternoon this is as much for my sake as for anyone else’s. I simply had to write down the balanced viewpoint that was lurking behind my rage so I could realise that I agreed with it and accept it. I hope you will do the same. We are not out of the title race. We are two points off top spot. We were effectively a third goal away from topping the table right now and being ‘outstanding’. Therefore we are not terrible, we are merely inconsistent. There is a huge difference. Talented players can learn to be consistent, consistent players cannot learn to be talented.
Sp*rs are a good team. Leave your pride and Gooner sense of hierarchy on the shelf and look at the facts. Yes we have a ridiculous record against them in the last ten or twenty years but those were different Arsenal teams against different Sp*rs teams. This is a different era and you cannot compare past results or call up records because those are in the past and not the present. They are in the Champions League and doing well, they have quality throughout the pitch and they have strength in depth, arguably more so than Chelsea or Man U (despite their first team being weaker). Like for like our squad contains more talent than theirs and if we were both 100% consistent for an entire league season we would finish ahead of them. But if we make mistakes they are easily good enough to punish us just as we will are able to punish them for the same in the future.
Chelsea and Man U are weaker than they have been for a long time. We lost to Sp*rs this weekend but Chelsea lost to Birmingham. Man U have not lost a game but yet are only two points clear of us. We can beat both of them and if we do that in December we stand a very good chance of being top of the league. That’s the truth of it.
The difference between Premier League sides is decreasing. Anyone can beat anyone. A win against a smaller team means as much as a win against a big team because that big team may well lose against that smaller team the next time they play. You cannot take any game for granted but at the same time you should be extra proud of any victory. And - in the same vein - a loss is a loss against any team. The Sp*rs game was a game like any other and only more important in terms of pride. In terms of points - whoever you play - a loss is worth 0, a draw is worth 1 and a win is worth 3 in case
anybody forgot. In the title race the loss at Sp*rs is the same as the loss to Newcastle or Chelsea and we came back from those so we can do it again.
The season will be won and lost on the number of victories a team can achieve. The last three games our record is WWL. That run consisted of two hard fought away victories which are the reason we are where we are in the league. Had we drawn both of those and beaten Sp*rs we would probably be less disappointed than we are now. But we would also be one point further away from the top. It’s better to go for the win and risk a loss than to play for a draw. That is why Man U are unbeaten and yet only two points above us and why Chelsea have lost three of the last four and yet top the table:
Chelsea W9 D1 L4
Man U W7 D7 L0
Arsenal W8 D2 L4
The wins column is the most important and it is almost always better to win one and lose one than to draw two. When Man U beat Liverpool to the league two seasons ago it was because they had more win and less draws rather than less losses:
Man U W28 D6 L4
Liverpool W25 D11 L2
At the moment we have won the second highest number of games which is actually a very good record to have. We do have to learn to close games out but it is better to have a lot of wins than a lot of draws. If you look at any complete league table the wins column is by far the most accurate indicator of finishing position. Relative wins are crucial and if we can keep winning games we can win the league this season.
Arsenal f*cking rule. Even with a pride-battering losses to Chelsea and Sp*rs, bouts of frustrating incompetence and a trophy cabinet full of air I count my lucky stars every time it dawns on me that I could have been supporting another team if life had been different.
Arsenal at their best are arguably the most beautiful team to watch in the world and even at 90%, 80% or 70% they are still a class above most. We have come to a new stadium and stayed competitive. We are run with both the present and the future in mind. We have talent coming out of our ears and a manager who, despite his faults, teams like Barcelona and Real would still employ without hesitation should the opportunity arise. There is a reason why Wenger is so respected and so hated. He is a rare thing in football – a man of principle. He sees out contracts and rewards loyalty and he loves Arsenal. He wants to win and so do we and we will get there I am sure.
Would you really rather support Sp*rs, Man U, City or Chelsea? Thought not. You’ve got it f*cking good so start believing in this team. We were still in all four competitions the last time I checked so how we can despair when all is considered is beyond me.
We’re called supporters for a reason and it’s time we lived up to that title so that Arsenal can win theirs.
Mean Lean's Response
Spot on Will, I would echo your thoughts 100%.
I don't think many Gooners are able to think rationally at the moment and that is understandable. We have just lost to our enemies in the worst circumstances possible and when we have a history of throwing away games, I can understand the frustration. But there is absolutely no reason to lose a sense of perspective.
I would bet that if you asked many Gooners who want Wenger out if it would be a good idea to sack a manager in Italy for example who was second in the league, spent less than his competitions and has built a long lasting squad full of players who played the best football in Italy, they would turn to you and slap you for asking the question.
Unless we are winning every game, every time we play, we are going to get unhappy Gooners, it is part and parcel of the 2010 supporter I am afraid.
I would rather be an Arsenal fan and not win a trophy ever again than be a Chelsea fan and win the league every year. The squad have got issues to sort out and either they or the manager need to fix but you cannot ignore the talent and quality we have.
Those who think Wenger does not care should read his latest comments.