I’m not referring to the song by Beverley Knight, as good as it is, I’m talking about football fans and right now, Arsenal fans in particular.
Adam got me thinking with his article yesterday which included the amount of negativity there is around the club these days. Well, for quite a while really. Like he, you, all of us really, I want the good times back. Trophies would be a bonus but to just be in the mix for a Premier League title come March/April each year would be a start. But it’s not that easy I’m sure otherwise we wouldn’t be seeing the same old clubs in and around the top few places each season. It’s not as simple as just throwing money around either, after all, I read that Everton have spent just over £500 million on players since Alisher Usmanov’s old chum decided to get involved up there.
There seems to be three kinds of football fans on the Internet. Those who regardless of what goes on on the pitch, there’s dislike, hatred almost for the current manager. On the opposite side, there are those who have complete and utter faith in what the manager does, regardless of results or level of performance, and somewhere in the middle sits the rational, objective and do I dare say ‘fair’ fans. Those who perhaps see the football rather than the face of the man who manages the team/squad. Those who want to see the club succeed rather than see the manager fail if it means he’ll be sacked.
I’ve always been sceptical over the appointment of Mikel Arteta but not because of him, his playing days at the club, or any other reason. Only his lack of experience made me think he possibly wasn’t, or still isn’t the right manager for the club but do I want him to prove me and all his other doubters wrong? Of course I do because that would mean Arsenal are on the right track. Whether I think he will or not is irrelevant really because that decision isn’t mine to make but as I’ve suggested before, logic alone suggests he’s going nowhere anytime soon. Unless of course, we’re still stuck in the relegation places come Christmas.
Whilst ‘we’ and I use that word loosely, sit at home, typing out who ‘shoulda, woulda, coulda’ done a better job on the pitch than the players Mikel Arteta selected did, it’s easy to forget that it’s not our job on line when it comes to the way Arsenal play. After another loss, it’s often suggested that ‘player X’ would have done better than ‘player Y’ and yet ‘player Y’ might have started and had an absolute stinker of a game. I’m guilty of having done that before, many times too. As Adam said yesterday, the team selection before a game, or the tactics Mikel Arteta should deploy is something else which can be seen a lot over the Arsenal blogosphere, yet a player, maybe two might just wake up on a match-day feeling out of sorts so he’s left out of the squad. Not every little symptom a players suffers has to be broadcast to the media.
A manager can spend all week on the training pitch, planning for the next opposition with the players he’s going to include not only in the first eleven but the substitutes too but then the night before, or even on the day, those plans are wrecked because of sickness, injury, or something else. Not a problem if it’s Pep, Ole, Tuchel etc because they have deep squads but for Mikel Arteta, lose Aubameyang and Lacazette and he’s snookered. Losing Thomas Partey in pre-season was a huge blow too. It’s easy for us to say, go and sign someone else, but I’ve no idea how much money the club had to spend in the summer, have you?
I have to hold my hands up as during the summer I thought we didn’t need a right-back, not with Chambers, Cedric and AMN in the squad but three games in, both Cedric and Chambers have failed to impress and AMN remains on the sidelines. So yes, I’m pleased we signed Takehiro Tomiyasu because he joined the club with very good reviews. I didn’t think we needed Ben White because William Saliba is already an Arsenal player but I’ve no idea what Frenchman’s personality is like, or his attitude towards the club so the only choice is to trust the management and I’ve already said, is their job on the line if decisions they make backfire in a big way.
Just like it’s they who’ll deserve praise if Ben White, along with the other summer signings, excel in an Arsenal shirt over the weeks and months to come. And yes, I hope they do. Just as I Hope Granit Xhaka is pushed to the sidelines now that Thomas Partey is back fit. Sambi and Thomas have to be the way forwards surely? There, I’ve done it again yet the reality is, Arsene Wenger, Unai Emery and now Mikel Arteta believe in our Swiss international.
Of course the ‘shoulda, woulda, coulda’ comments will continue because it’s what we football fans do but it doesn’t mean we’re right or that the players we wanted to see would have worked any better. There will always be the glaringly obvious as a game plays out, like continually watching an area of the pitch be exploited by the opposition and that’s where I think Mikel’s inexperience shows. His in game management which had he managed a club or two prior to being appointed Arsenal manager, he might be better at. That’s just my opinion and I’m entitled to that.
Anyway, the domestic season returns this weekend and we should all be right behind the manager and players as they take on Norwich. After all, we want Arsenal to win don’t we?
See you in the comments.