Sunday, 10 April 2011

There has been no Arsenal collapse. It is a complete myth.

Frankly, I'm a little bored of reading about Arsenal at the moment.

Bored of reading about the supposed lack of mental strength and character, but more than that, reading about how Arsenal have collapsed, out of three trophies in two weeks, and with a League challenge which is floundering. And reading about how the only team Arsenal have beaten in ages and ages is Leyton Orient.

And I'm not bored because I don't want to hear it - I'm bored because it's irrelevant.

Take, for example, the argument that Arsenal have gone from chasing a quadruple to chasing nothing. Perhaps I'm a little optimistic in saying the League title is still alive, but it's rather irrelevant.

If we'd been knocked out of the League Cup in September, the Champions League in December, and the FA Cup in February, would that somehow have been a better result?

The fact is, we were knocked out of the League Cup by a freak incident coupled with a man-of-the-match display by the opposition goalkeeper; we were knocked out of the Champions League largely due to one of the worst refereeing decisions in the history of football; and we were knocked out of the FA Cup by another man-of-the-match goalkeeping display.

In two of those competitions, we had the hardest draw possible. That is not a collapse.

Those matches aside, we were unfortunate not to beat Sunderland, with two refereeing decisions going against us, and we probably were a little disappointing against West Brom and Blackburn, but that's part and parcel of every football season.

It's easy to forget that the greatest season in the history of English football - Man United's treble - could easily have ended trophyless. But for a poor offside decision in the penultimate game of the season, Arsenal would have won the League on goal difference; but for Dennis Bergkamp missing a last-minute penalty in the FA Cup semi-final, they'd have been out of that too. And they were two minutes away from losing the Champions League final.

These are the fine margins Arsenal have been missing out on. A freak last-minute goalkeeping mistake, rather than a winner; Bendtner's heavy first-touch in the Camp Nou with the tie at his mercy.

And results cluster together in football. The recent results have been disappointing, but the negative momentum is largely not our fault.

And we certainly haven't been helped by the referees: compare the manifold poor decisions, with everything going for United - as Pete Gill put it:
"It is a startling truth - and depressing disparagement of the league's credibility - that each of United's five away league victories this term have hinged on an unfathomable error by officialdom: Gary Neville's escapes at Stoke and West Brom, Rafael's non-penalty at Blackpool, Wayne Rooney's hug at Wigan and Mason's various nonsenses this weekend".

There is, clearly, something very fishy going on. I've been saying it for a long time, and while its hard to prove unequivocally, the sheer number of decisions going their way is remarkable.

We now need to gee the team up for the rest of the season - for one, second is not a bad achievement, but there's a League title to fight for, and we are The Arsenal so we should fight for it.

Keep the faith.


Anonymous said...


In Arsene I trust said...

Stop reading about the matches and actually go and see it for your own eyes, in the stadium. We have been hard done all season, largely due to referring decisions going against us in our games.

This alone would have put us well clear in the title race, but as mentioned in the article, Manchester United have had an abundance of decisions go their way when it clearly should not, this also would have put us in the lead for the title. Both put together and the title race would have already been over.

I hate to say it but its as if we are not supposed to win. Don't know who to blame, but definately not Arsene Wenger or the players as many Arsenal supporters already do.

Arsenal are one of the most capable teams in the world of football. It is an achievement of what has been accomplished by them with the resources spent. I am highly in favour of Arsene's method.

There isn't a team in England that can outplay Arsenal. There only option is to defend for the whole game and use route one football tactics. This is the case for all teams playing Arsenal home or away. There is only a matter of time before they win. Once they do, it wont stop for a while...