Week Sixteen – Believe…
Remember when we feared the dreaded November? As far as Novembers go, this one didn’t turn out that bad did it? Another week, another two important wins, another clean sheet. Happy days.
One of the most interesting things for me when writing this diary during the week is watching how things change during the week, especially between games.
As I write this now, we sit on top of the league, four points ahead of the Russian club, and everything is right with the world.
In between though, there were a few little gripes and niggles here and there, nothing unusual there though.
Here’s how this week went down for me.
Arsenal 2 Marseille 0 – Jack’s the Lad
A very professional performance, and we never really looked in any danger after Jack Wilshere put us ahead within seconds of the game kicking off. A great goal it was too.
It could have been more comfortable before Jack’s second goal sealed the win, after the overrated Mesut Özil missed a penalty.
Yes, you read that right. I did see people say that Mesut Özil is overrated. Granted, he didn’t have his best game, and perhaps he hasn’t hit the heights he no doubt will do eventually.It’s perfectly reasonable to say that Özil hasn’t performed to the standards we might have expected so far.
I’ll even let you off for not using your brain enough to consider the settling-in period dozens of world class players have gone through when making the transition to Premier League football in the past. But overrated? Sorry, but that is clearly not true.
Auto erotic asphyxiation, Harry Potter, Facebook, stupid wanky flavours of cider, New Years Eve – these are all things that are actually overrated.
Aaron Ramsey has proved this season that letting one’s mouth run away with oneself can cause Twitter archaeologists to dig up all kinds of crap.
Imagine if social networking had been a thing during Thierry Henry’s first few games for the club? There would be some serious deactivating going on in Gooners Town, Twittersville.
Don’t give me all the “uber fan” shit if I take issue with someone criticising a player unjustly either. I’ve been an Arsenal fan for a long time and I’ve hammered many a legend, believe me. I’ve just learned to be a bit smarter about it.
The biggest lesson was maybe learned during the legendary ’88/’89 season, when I spent the final month of the season banging on about how crap Michael Thomas was. I believe I said to someone on the eve of the game something about us having no chance of winning if he was playing.
Imagine if I’d Tweeted that?
I would have had to deactivate my fucking life let alone my Twitter account…
Anyway, I think I’ve gone off on one again there, the point I was originally going to make at the start of this is that the influence and effect the umlauted one has had on this team and this club can be measured by more than his performances on the pitch alone.
Remember the buzz when we signed him? I believe that buzz went around the whole club, players and supporters alike. Imagine being Ramsey, beginning to feel more confident as a player than you have for years, with the thought of playing alongside one of the world’s best players.
Imagine you’re Olivier Giroud, feeling more comfortable with the English game than you did on a debut season where you scored 17 goals, with the prospect of an assist machine like Özil behind you.
I bet even Gladys the tea lady has upped her game a bit since then.
Nobody can say that the Özil effect is the reason we are where at the moment, in my opinion that’s not true anyway, but I think we seem to have a belief and swagger about us this season that this could only have helped.
Another thing (there always has to be a “thing” doesn’t there?) that cropped up again was Sleevegate. Fucking Sleevegate.
As far as I’m concerned here is the long and the short of it:
I understand that people are concerned that upholding tradition is part of the very fabric of the club. I get both points of view, but I personally see little arm in it, and it’s not worth getting too shirty about.
Seriously though, if it means Arsenal winning something, Mathieu Flamini can play every game for the rest of the season wearing a mankini and a gimp mask as far as I’m concerned. There is the question of whether he is disrespecting the captain or indeed the manager (now, who on earth would ever do that?!), I get that, but it really shouldn’t be too much of an issue…
Things That Need Debating More Than Flamini’s Sleeves
Why, on the telly, do people sign off their text message with their name, even though the person they are texting has their number?
Why, in horror films, does it make a thunder sound when there is a flash of lightning?
What absolute cunt invented the corned beef tin?
Why is Emmanuel Adebayor?
Is Jose Mourinho really Jose Mourinho, or a looky likey from the “Lookalikes on Smack” agency?
Why have I got so many odd socks?
On the subject of this being a sign of disrespect to the club or the manager, some people out there need to have a look at themselves before getting on their high horse in that respect.
Anyway, I don’t want to preach about it, this is just my opinion on it.
Of course, we have to have something to talk about between football matches don’t we?
Cardiff 0 Arsenal 3 – Title-winning form
There, I said it. I’m trying desperately not to get carried away here, but why the hell not enjoy it?
At the moment we are the best team in the country.
Ramsey is at the moment, in my opinion, the best player in the Premier League. Another two goals on Saturday, the first of which was a really fantastic header, made to look easy.
Wojciech Szczesny is the best goalkeeper in the Premier League right now too. The save he made when it was still 1-0 was extremely important, not for the first time this season either, and he is a very important part of our defensive improvement.
Speaking of the defence, if there is a better central defensive partnership in Europe than Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny, then I would be very surprised.
The BFG especially is right up there with Ramsey and Szczesny as our most important players this season so far.
Then there is Özil. He had a relatively quiet game, but provided assists for Ramsey’s first goal and Mathieu Flamini’s late, nerve-settling goal. Overrated, eh? Pfft…
The pass he put through for Flamini was so perfectly weighted the Frenchman didn’t have to break his stride. He made the pass look simple too, and once he settles and gets into his stride there is going to be a lot more to come. Of that you can be sure.
We still have Lukas Podolski to come back, and Theo Walcott could be hugely important this coming month.
So, can Arsenal win the league?
If we are still top of the league, 15 points clear, with two games to go, the absolute cock wombles on Match of the Day will still more than likely be doubting whether we can.
I’ve talked about these clowns before on here, but for fucks sake it’s getting tedious now.
“They haven’t played the big boys, and when they did they lost to Manchester United…” Fuck off.
“They might struggle if Giroud gets injured” Fuck off.
What is all this “big boys” crap anyway? I would say it seems like someone at the BBC has got a thing about big boys, but…
So, who was asked their opinion on Arsenal’s title credentials this week then?
Les Ferdinand and Danny Murphy.
Yes. Danny fucking Murphy. I think that tells you all you need to know, really.
So, here we are then, top of the league at the end of the dreaded November. Who would have though it?
This month sees us face Manchester City away and Chelsea at home, the two teams who at the moment look most likely to challenge us for the title. I don’t see any reason to fear this month, they would prefer to be in our position right now.
If we are still top of the league at the end of December, I think even the most sceptical of us might start to believe.
Who knows, perhaps maybe we’ll even get the approval of the legendary Danny Murphy.
Two more very winnable home games this week.
Islington born and bred, Arsenal through and through. Supported the Gunners for all of my 46 years (so far!) through thick and thin.
Clickbait: Life as a Modern Football Fan – released 2019
Currently working on my next book – Over Land and Sea (and Lockdown), Arsenal 20/21 – A Diary of a Season – due for release Summer 2021.
I will back the club I have in my blood to the hilt and I don’t care what you think about that. UTA.
AGAINST MODERN FOOTBALL.