This week’s Season Diary is brought to you by the letters
Are you sick to the back teeth of the letters “D” and “M” yet?
I swear if you scroll through twitter really quick then close your eyes, all you can see is this
DM DM CB DM DM DM DM DM DM
CB DM DM DM DM DM DM DM DM
DM DM DM DM DM DM DM DM DM
DM DM CB DM DM DM DM DM DM
CB DM DM DM DM DM DM DM DM
Week two of the transfer window is a dangerous place.
Other than those letters, the twitter timeline consists of names plucked from the air that might fit the sort of player that Arsenal need, and we are desperate to believe there is some truth in the news from @TotalFootyTransferWankOff, an account based on a small island just off of the east coast of erm, somewhere far away, that *insert players name here* didn’t train with his club this morning, or something.
These names are joined by those that you don’t want but you are sure Arsenal must be after them because that would be typical of Arsenal.
“For God’s sake, I can’t believe we’re not going for Schneiderlin but we are interested in Aleksander Legov from the Polish non-league! He’s only played 5 times since his leg fell off!”
All this is despite the fact that there is usually no reason whatsoever for these players to be linked with us other than the fact they might be able to play in a position that we need filling.
The thing is, deep down, you know this, we all do.
But as a football fan there is something inside all of us that believes anything can happen.
I mean, it’s a similar reason to why once a season some daft twat does an interview with the Evening Standard proclaiming that this is the year Tottenham will wrestle fourth place from Arsenal?
(Which one of them was it this year, I couldn’t be arsed to pay much attention?)
Anyway, there was football this week too, starting with a 3-0 win at home against our old friends from Stoke.
Always nice to beat those horrible, dirty bastards (well, we beat them at home anyway) and a comfortable win it was too.
I was impressed with how we got at them, with Santi, Alexis and Tomas Rosicky in particular defending from the front as well as driving us forward.
Those three were the pick for me but there were good performances from Giroud and Coquelin, and I also thought Monreal had a decent game.
Stoke were shit, but I think that was down to us making them look shit, and to top it off their trains were delayed, possibly forcing some of them to try and sleep with someone else’s sister for a change.
Obviously with Stoke being Stoke there was bound to be something other than football going on, and the shove on Debuchy, causing him to go down and dislocate his shoulder pretty much sums them up.
This was followed later in the week with the inevitable news that Debuchy will need his arm surgically reattached and will be out for three months.
This news was made even worse by the fact it emerged at the same time as the news that Mikel Arteta will keep him company in the treatment room for that time. I’m sure that’s a relief for both of them, as now our injuries are clearing up most of that time would be spent listening to Abou Diaby list his own ailments past and present.
You know what I mean, I bet he’s one of those people that whatever you’ve had, he’s had worse.
“Dislocated shoulder? Pfffft….that’s nothing, mate. I’ve had 800 operations in the last two years…..oh and did I mention I’ve got one leg shorter than the other? They said that’s the only reason I’ll not have a statue one day…..”
“Mikel! Over here! Sorry Abou, me and Mikel have to go and do….erm….remember that thing we were supposed to do, Mikel….Mikel? Oh shit…..he’s showing him his scars…..”
As well as that actual news, in the build up to the City game you’ll probably have mostly been seeing this:
Lists of players that Arsenal have been linked with.
These often contain a few names Arsenal haven’t actually been linked with;
Stats comparisons of a number of DM’s.
Often comparing them to current Arsenal players. Can be swung either way to make Francis Coquelin look like either Claude Makele or Claude off of Arsenal Fan TV;
“At least he’s better than Flamini….”
“At least Man City are getting things done”
“*insert players name here* ain’t a DM….”
“He can play there though…”
Rough translation here being that nobody has a fucking clue what a DM is any more. The fabled DM role has become little more than an acronym.
“Such and such are interested in so and so, which could mean that whatsisname could be going to….”
No it don’t. Especially as such and such probably ain’t interested in so and so.
Come Friday and the reaction to Arsenal signing a 17 year old Polish midfielder is met with an interesting reaction, especially the standard, shouty, angry, transfer window man.
“FFS WHY ARE WE SIGNING KIDS WHEN WE NEED A DM NOW??!!! #WENGEROUT”
Now, a transfer window is a time of the season that you are allowed to sign players. There’s no reason whatsoever why signing a young player for the future means you can’t sign players for the present.
Arsene indicated that the young lad would be part of the first team squad, which was of course met with a similar overreaction to the above.
He’s going into the first team squad, that’s not to say he’s walking straight into the first team. Chill your tits, people.
Anyway, on to the City game, and after every result possible went against us before that, and our dismal record playing the top teams away from home we were in for another torrid afternoon.
Man City 0 Arsenal 2
Come on, be honest, were you confident before the game? Looking on Twitter the day of the game it seemed people were either cautiously optimistic or resigned to another loss against a big team, same old story, etc, etc.
Personally I was one of the former, but then again anyone that knows me will tell you, I go into pretty much every game thinking we’ll win, I just can’t do football any other way.
I’m a lot older but no wiser than the kid that used to argue in the primary school playground in the early 80’s with the Liverpool fans that Arsenal were better than Liverpool. Which we were clearly not.
What a performance and what a result this was.
We set ourselves out perfectly from the off, not allowing the champions to play at all, and played with a discipline and shape that surprised a lot of people. Even me.
Going in 1-0 up at the break after Santi’s penalty, awarded after the hilariously bloaty headed gimp Kompany brought down Nacho Monreal, was no more than our performance deserved, and all we needed to do, I felt, was come out and do more of the same in the second half.
So obviously we came out and did the complete opposite, and opened the game up for City to come at us, and it was only a matter of time before they equalised, then went on to win, and Arsenal once again failed to beat a top side, and all that we had to look forward to on Monday was……………….
DM DM DM DM DM DM DM DM DM DM DM DM DM DM DM DM DM DM DM DM DM DM DM DM DM DM DM DM DM DM DM DM DM DM DM…………
But…..lo and behold Olivier Giroud doubled our lead, we regained our shape, focus and discipline, and out-battled City for what could be a massively significant result going forward.
There were outstanding performances all over the pitch, with Santi the pick of the bunch once more. Alexis may not have had one of his stand out games but he ran his bollocks off to great effect, and if this game was the “test” for Francis Coquelin, then he fared a lot better than some were expecting.
Yes, it was only one game, but we are a team that thrives on confidence, and hopefully with that result out of the way the psychological effect can help us kick on in a season where there is still a lot to play for.
Who knows, it might even take our minds off the transfer window for five minutes.
Up The Arsenal
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.