Prawn sandwich fan / Hip Hip Hooray

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Admission: Tuesday came and went and passed me by entirely. For me, it’s a rarety for me not to follow a game in some way. I go to most home games, and watch or listen to most of the others. Those matches I can’t go to, see or hear I will follow via Twitter etc, as many of us do. But on Tuesday, as the match kicked off, I was out meeting football-agnostic friends (they do exist, it seems) in a pub with pleasant steak and kidney pies but no telly, and although I briefly toyed with the time-honoured gadget switch-off so I could play the match as live when I got in, I knew my resolve wouldn’t last and sure enough, it didn’t. Having found out we’d lost 1-0, I opted against pursuing the venture any further when I got home. Fickle? Guilty as charged.

I did sniff round the reaction though, and the goodwill to a) a weakened team and b) a loss was widespread. Partly because we seem to have acquitted ourselves very well, and partly, perhaps, with one eye on last February’s Wembley final, which was the catalyst for a sensational collapse.

Wenger said in his L’Equipe interview that last season, “to try to catch one [trophy], we ran after all the hares”, and that contributed to the dismal season end, but that this year, rather than change approach, “I’ll do the same thing”.

I think he approached it right given the obvious fatigue on Saturday, and while the hunt for a trophy is as important as ever, I get the feeling that things don’t seem to hinge so much on the winning of a cup this year. Maybe expectations are a little bit lower and maybe, after the start we had, this season became as much about turning an underperforming team around – which is happening – as it was about having a genuine tilt at a trophy.

Either way, I don’t see too many – any – dissenters saying we should have played the Persies and the Ramseys and the Walcotts of this world on Tuesday. Chasing four trophies puts an impossible burden on any squad, especially one still scraping off the mud of an early season quagmire. We performed well and as has been pointed out elsewhere in numerous places, it was an opportunity seized for some of our players – Coquelin, Frimpong, Oxlade-Chamberlain in particular.


I wasn’t aware of the exact date, but today is apparently the 125th anniversary of the club. How time flies – I vaguely remember the celebrations around the 100th anniversary and here we are again for another milestone. It feels like a long time but when I worked out I had followed Arsenal for almost 25% of its existence, and that time has disappeared into the ether like a flash, it feels a bit less so.

In those 125 years, Arsenal have won the First Division / Premier League title 13 times. Unlucky for some, but equally, 11 times more than others. That averages out as one title every 9.6 years, which puts our barren trophy run into some perspective and, as I mentioned on Twitter, raises the interesting prospect of our next title coming in 2014 (if stats can be relied on – no comment).

I can’t imagine too many of us would find that too long a wait. I’ll just drop a call to the club and check they’ve booked Islington Town Hall.

Best to be well prepared for these things.


Arsenal since about 1979. Thick, thin and all that.

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Jeff

    I was startled by Park and Chamakh.  They both have to be (should be) feeling down about their performances.  It just looked like too big of a gap between their ability and the other 9 Arsenal players (including Fabianski).  That would have been the low point for both of them, though, I would think, unless there is some serious underlying psychological stress (marital disputes, home sickness, ailing relatives, depression) that can’t be resolved. They obviously showed enough in training to earn starts, but I can already hear Arsene answering questions about why neither of them has made the squad for several matches, something about muscle fatigue, or a slight niggle, perhaps a “complaint” of some sort. Theo has to be the backup for Van Persie.

    Remember Arshavin having a run of games up front a few seasons ago?  He did well in one of them, I seem to recall, before a string of performances that looked like a a form of protest.

    It is bloody hard work to assemble a good squad.  You take an experienced player, captain of his national team (Park), but the minute you sign him, he has a collapse of form. You sign a striker who has been performing well season after season, scoring more headers than anyone in Europe, but a few months into his stay, he becomes too distracted to be bothered.

    I was obviously troubled watching the Chamakh – Park pairing.

  2. East Lower

    I agree – notwithstanding their lack of games (which cannot help). For me, Wenger cannot allow all his good work since Blackburn away to be undone by a striker crisis. A goalscorer would be just the tonic in January. No room for sentimentality.

  3. Anonymous

    Jeff,believe me you are not alone. Chamakh was poor. Park was even worse. Much worse arguably. You go that far beyond poor & it’s hard to find a word to describe his performance without being offensive. It really is terrifying how much in trouble we are if RvP gets injured.A striker in Jan is a must.  (and please not Podolski – that rumour has got to be nonsense)
    I hadn’t seem much of Park before we signed him so can’t really comment but Chamakh is the most mystifying thing I have ever seen at Arsenal. I have never seen a player disimprove so much. It’s incredible.

    On the other hand the youngsters all did well. Miquel,Frimpong,Ox & especially Coquelin for me….
    If Song gets injured/suspended Wenger’s got to take a chance on Coquelin rather than take the lazy option of giving Diaby yet another chance to let us down again….

  4. Jeff

    It’s psychological. Chamakh is complicated, I agree.  Park just needs to relax and play football – if he ever plays for Arsenal again. He just looked a guy with very little experience playing football, which is absurd because he’s a professional player.  

    He’s on contract through the end of next season, right?  Maybe he would be ready for next year’s Carling Cup, but it’s hard to imagine him playing much more than that, in his current state.

    When players get older, they sometimes have a Chamakh-style collapse in form. Thierry Henry completely lost his form for France, culminating in the desperation handball against Ireland. He wasn’t physically able to play in the way he knew how to play (and the France manager at the time was too incompetent to select someone in form). For me, Chamakh is in that pattern, and I don’t see his collapse as unprecedented.  He maybe had a little muscle strain, and his body couldn’t heal/adpat, and he just lost all semblance of form.

  5. Sajit Kunnumkal

    We cannot buy anyone without offloading someone because we have maxed out the squad in terms of the 25 man rule. Nobody would be foolish enough to buy Chamakh or Almunia…

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