Are us fans too well informed? I went to the recent game against Hull City. To give you a picture, I’m the sort of fan that goes to occasional home games – sometimes when you don’t go to see Arsenal live weekly you can often see things more clearly. It’s like when you don’t see a child relative for ages and when you do it’s more apparent how they have grown!
I love it – Back down the Arsenal, into the steaming hot Tollington. Plastic glasses. over-priced lager. I just have to be there. Walk into the Armoury. Queues around the block. Money being spent at an incredible rate. Arsenal are a big club supported by fans who really spend their money and know their football.
Into my seat – Arsenal start bright. This looks easy. You listen to the chat around you and I hear some very smart fans who were not fooled by our inter-play. They can see, like I can, we are open, we are weak physically. We look small in stature, not relishing the side of the game without the ball, eventually Hull will realise ‘are they that good? – why not have a go?!’
Hull wake up, Arsenal do their mini collapse and then we scramble using maximum effort (nearly suffering a Jack Wilshere calamity do it to yourself injury) to get a draw and in the end we could of won.
A normal Arsenal Saturday. I chose the example of Hull but I could have chosen Everton, Anderlecht, Leicester, Spurs and Manchester City to a lesser extent.
This is ‘The Arsenal’ 2014 version.
What I noticed around me was a level of boredom. It was a repeat scenario no one was surprised by. We saw it again against Anderlecht this week.
The ability to go from a massive high to a massive low in one match. The mistakes so obvious we no longer are surprised.
Are fans too well informed? Are fans bored:
- Bored of always being two players short
- Bored of making do defensively
- Bored of seeing another season potentially written off
- Bored of waiting for a new Patrick Vieira and Emmanuel Petit
- Bored of Ivan Gazidis telling us how rich we are
- Bored of topping the injury league
- Bored of Chelsea ticking all the boxes and dominating us
- Bored of the ‘jam tomorrow’ platitudes
- Bored of Arsene Wenger
There was a feeling of apathy around me, not anger.
A feeling born from knowing the team and its intricacies of pattern of play. Knowing what a team should look like – what a squad should look like. Knowing Arsenal are short. It’s no longer a Twitter debate – We all know what the team lacks.
Is it taking away the suspense, the surprise? I myself over-analyse every game, every substitution, every player who falls below standards. I have expectations if not met I immediately quietly get a touch negative.
My unfairly marked target this week is Aaron Ramsey.
Now before you start, I like Ramsey. He has great non-British technique on the ball. Takes the ball on both feet plays with his head up and has a marathon man level of stamina. Also in the last third his shot and pass selection and execution is efficient.
That’s a profile of an in-form Ramsey.
This season we have seen him look less fit. A little heavy, a little slower. We have seen a new hairstyle and modelling shoots. We have seen him dwell on the ball. We have seen his running look laboured, his shooting technique has gone. He is wrapping his leg and shooting around the ball not through the ball. He passes a step later. He is trying too hard. He needs his manager to help him We call see it. Why does it take so long to fix?
His game is gone. Such a shame. I’m a fan of that ‘go to’ midfielder and last season Ramsey is the closest I’ve seen at Arsenal since Vieira left to being the man in the middle. The one we rely on to control games and outplay his opponent. But this season Ramsey is measuring himself on goals.
Wenger has given Ramsey the team – He ignored Cesc Fabregas and said ‘Aaron, this is your team’.
Ramsey wants to be a Frank Lampard when this Arsenal team needs Ramsey to play like Toni Kroos. We have forwards who can score and we don’t need him or Jack Wilshere running past them into the box we need them behind the ball controlling games like Kroos and Luka Modric.
Barney Ronay captures my thoughts exactly:
When I Tweeted this link thinking it was the eureka moment, I realised that many fans feel this way and it’s not something that no one is aware of even Wenger.
So why does it take so long to fix these issues.
All Chelsea have done better than Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United and Manchester City is fix their issues.
- CFC needed a striker so the bought one – Diego Costa and a backup Loic Remy/Didier Drogba
- CFC needed to control games more so the bought Cesc
- Ashley Cole left – They bought Filipe Luis
- David Luiz left – They had Kurt Zouma
- Juan Mata was not a hard worker – They sold him
- Luiz was erratic – they sold him
- Petr Cech was creaking – They replaced him with Thibaut Courtois
All they have done is do their job, properly. Their team is balanced not that exciting just functional, focused, serious and ready for the season. They are beatable but not while the rest of us are slow unprofessional and less serious about being professional in our squad building.
Manchester United have no defenders, Arsenal have no defenders and defensive midfielders, Liverpool have no forwards fit or at the level of Luis Suarez who papered over their cracks. City have too many ego’s and although talented have a shocking mentality.
All fans know this – Is it taking away from our enjoyment?
Are we too well informed and football now has to try harder to lift us?
Let’s be honest – the players can’t be bothered now even in the Champions League. Not just ours but if Liverpool put out a weakened team to play Real Madrid then we know football is now all about the Premier League and three points.
During the last 20 minutes against Anderlecht I saw a stressed out Wenger again. One that left us after Wembley and winning a trophy. We seemed to have managed somehow to turn a day that should have given us momentum into a moment that feels distant and bears no relation to the team we watch.
We confused the system and players to a point where the foundation built on winning confidence has withered. We now look inward with all the old fears and trepidation.
But we are fans and we always have the next game. Swansea – I fancy us – I always do.
I bet Ramsey turns up in Wales – scores – then we move on to the next trauma – together!
AFC fan of 35 years. Grew up in Luton wishing I grew up in Upper Street and could just not get enough of AFC and the area.
I was a child influenced by Charlie George but it got serious for me was in the Liam Brady, Graham Rix and Paul Davis era’s.
Home and Away fan in times gone by – More selective on games today due to prices and middle age.
Priorities – I now watch my 12 year old son play Academy football which gives me a more holistic view of the coaching aspect of the game. I study players the profile of players in relation to squad and team building. I want Arsenal to be as big as we are.
My Hero – Vieira
Happiest Day – Copenhagen v Parma
Saddest Day – Paris 06 & Cfc in the CL quarter Finals 2004
Biggest wish – Wenger to win again and for the gap between the fans and the club to narrow.
The best days are ahead.