The Beautiful Game

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After suggesting the cup final will be contested between the best two footballing sides in the country, Cap’n Pat has added, “Maybe they [Chelski]don’t play the best football”.

Yes, I think that, on our day, we are a fantastic footballing side, the best I have ever seen at Highbury, and I don’t think we’ve had a bad season at all – far from it. But how well have we really played this year? We kicked the season off in style, taking the unbeaten record to 49 games, and we’re looking very good again now, but we spent several months playing without much fluency at all, and we’ve once again flattered to deceive in Europe. West Brom at home, Palace and Bolton away – how good was that? I know injuries had much to do with this, but there’s no getting round the fact it took us yonks to get over our first league defeat.

It’s funny though how things have spun round. From being a side roundly derided for being ‘boring’ in the 1970s and 1980s, we’re now holding a torch for attractive football. We always took a perverse pride in the stodgy nature of our football under George Graham. Not any more.

Perhaps that’s Arsene’s greatest legacy (apart from a new training ground, new stadium, new fitness regimes, and restructuring the club from the bottom up) – the fact that, as fans, we now only accept beautiful football.


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

This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. Withnail and Ian Ure

    It is no coincidence that the addition of Senderos and Gilberto have led to our late season form. Gilberto can’t pass or tackle but his positional sense and height are invaluable. This allows the forwards to play the way Arsenal, and all other, fans want the game to be played.
    If the Chavs lost Terry, Lampard and Makelele for as long as we had lost Campbell, Viera and Gilberto then their defence would not be so wonderful either.
    Oh another thing. Is Cech a bit over-rated? Looks a good keeper but nothing more than that. Made quite a few errors over the last two months but not picked up by the media. Is it because most other keepers these days appear poor that he looks good?

  2. halfNice

    I’d take Cech over Lehmann any day – and I like Lehmann a lot.

    We’ve been called every thing – from arrogant, to bad losers, to petulant. But the fact remains that we play the most attractive football in Britain (and possibly Europe?). That’s why we didn’t make as many enemies when we were on top as Chelsea have. Because PV is right – they’re often boring to watch.

    But still he shouldn’t have said what he said. It’ll look like sour grapes.

  3. Withnail and Ian Ure

    Agreed. Bit like complaing of poor pitches and tiredness.
    Just get on with it for crying out loud.

  4. Nick

    I wouldn’t say we only accept beautifull football, we just know we can do it and better than we’ve seen already, and for me i just want to show everyone that we’re the best, bar none!

  5. vivb

    I think everyone here would be happy if we bored the pants off everyone to a European Cup success.

    Mourinho doesn’t care how his side play as long as they win. AW has a different philosophy; that football is entertainment and should be played in an attractive way. Hence we never really kill off sides and often struggle to find a Plan B if Plan A isn’t working.

  6. icky

    In England football is entertainment. Don’t thow that away by embracing Mourinho’s cynicism. (At the same time I agree: Arsenal have got to defend better in Europe, somehow.)

    Re cech, he is doing what Tim Howard did last year, hopefully, although Cech is way better than Howard. In the states it’s called a sophmore slump: The adrenaline of a new club, a new manager, on a great run, all this keeps the concentration high. The second season is usually not so great. Cech can’t go on like this forever. The question is how low will his standards fall next season. As with Carvalho, Ferreira and even Robben as well. Perhaps even Mourinho. Esp. as this year the media honeymoon didn’t end until Arsenal had already thrown away the title with a dodgy november, and most of the stories steered clear of on-field weanesses. Next year the knives will be out. I have even noticed the Times taking a pro-arsenal position lately (in the wake of the Blackburn semifinal), completely out of character for a Murdoch media outlet. There’s a bit of optimism for ya.

  7. Tony Attwood

    If you want to see the future of beautiful football take a look at Ryan Smith in the reserves. He is the future, and he has everything – pace, style, ability, attitude, grace, power. He is, I think 18, and quite honestly could probably claim a place now in the under 21s. Anyone who took the trouble to follow the reserves to Hinckley to watch them against Leicester would have been amazed at all he can do.

  8. Geeman

    The amount of respect and praise that chelsea are getting with minimal achievements is making me sick. The media seems to be all up chelsea’s arse this year, even though they break rules and are arrogant from manager through to chairman. The media seems to be given them an easy ride. when we won the season unbeaten the media began to question the strength of the premiership and whether it was competitive enough. Chelsea have won nothing but the coca cola cup but already we are meant to believe that they are now the best thing since sliced bread. I mean they cannot beat arsenal, spent excessive millions to secure the title and do well in the champs league, pay over the odds for player and wages there are questions about their gamesmanship (colegate, barcelona) and still the media gives them an easy ride. while at arsenal we are supposed to be in crisis cause we didnt spend excessive millions on players and wages,apparently rely on just henry for success and have got rookies(v. talented youngsters) instead of established pro’s. Not many in the media have taken the time out to see that at a fraction of the cost that chelsea spend we can still compete. And that speaks volumes for the players in the team (who could leave and probably earn more elsewhere), the team wenger has created and the management of resources by the board. Makes me proud to be an arsenal fan

  9. halfNice

    I don’t much like Chelsea, but let’s be fair to them. They’ve done well this season. And, to be honest, I don’t think the media have given them an easy ride – at least none of my chelsea friends think so. They think the media are too hard on them. Just the way we think they’re too hard on us.

    Truth is, some journos like Chelsea and write positively about them and others don’t. Just like some like us and some don’t. No one gets special treatment.

    But lets see what’ll happen next season. I think all we really need (especially now that we’ve got Senderos) is another goal-scorer (maybe van Persie) to assist Henry. Then we’ll show Chelsea what real football is – and to hell with what the journalists think.

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