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Fighting the fight

The Christmas gift for the fan with (almost) everything

By Walter Broeckx

How the season will end? Nobody knows. I think not even Wenger knows. Well he might have a pretty good idea on how it could end but for us mortal souls we just have no idea.

The season started in a real mess. Two of our best players went away. A third one got a bad injury. We had to play qualifiers for the CL which cost a lot of energy. You remember we had to play Udinese. Once we won against them both games the media and some part of the fans said that it was only Udinese. A team of nobodies. Well incidentally this Udinese team is standing second in the Serie A for the moment only 1 point behind leader Juventus. So beating them twice was in fact a great achievement.

But this achievement cost a lot. It was the prelude for some injured players and so we suffered a heavy defeat at Old Trafford. The fact that we had to dig deep to win at Udinese was easily forgotten as the cry for Wenger out was the flavour of the day by some part of the fans. So we lost 3 points and a bit of pride on the day. We will have lost some fans maybe that day. The sort we should be glad to lose. Supporting a football team is in the good days, but even more in the bad days.

But since then things have gradually gone better. We bought a few players at the end of the transfer window. Wenger has been very careful with the players who came from another country to not burn them from the first minute. Much to the annoyance of some part of the fans who were saying that Park, not to name him, probable was going to be the worst Arsenal player ever.

Meanwhile Wenger was working with Park on the training field. Helping him to adjust to a new country, a new club, new team mates, another league and trying to speak with him so they could understand each other. And the first game Park played in he was still adjusting to this new world. But in our game against Bolton he showed what he can bring to this team. He played very high up the field and was caught a few times being offside. But it were always very close calls from the assistants and waiting a split second to start his run could have been the difference between going one on one with the keeper some 5 or 6 times and not just the one time now.

And that one time was… well a great finish. We mustn’t get carried away immediately but how many times did we see Thierry Henry in such a position and scoring like that? Park also coming from Monaco (as did Henry at first) so will he also follow him in his footsteps for the rest. Was it any coincidence that Wenger in his pre match interview referred to Pires and Henry when pointing at having patience with Park?

I think Wenger knew all too well what Park when fully adapted can bring to Arsenal. He surely is not afraid to shoot on goal, he can head a ball and win some battles in the air. And he works hard. Always trying to close the defenders down when he could. So a very high work rate also. So after all maybe we have found another Wenger buy who will deliver when he is completely ready and integrated in the Arsenal team.

7 wins in our last 8 games. Apart from Manchester City and United maybe no other team can say they did it. And what pleased me most in those wins was not the beautiful game we played. Because losing Cesc, Nasri and Wilshere (who will be back later this season)  is still visible in the way we play. But what pleased me more was the fact that the team has shown a lot of determination. When things didn’t go to plan they dug deeper in their resources. Even Arshavin has been seen fighting and making tackles when playing. Not that all the players played great but most of the players fought for the cause when on the pitch. Each with their own way of fighting but they showed us that when the beautiful game is absent for obvious reasons the Gunners know that they have to run faster, jump higher, fight harder to win a game. And that is exactly what they did in those last 7 games.

With more players coming back like Vermaelen and Diaby the squad gets even bigger. More rotation will be possible. More players will get some rest when needed. Who knows what will happen in the next months? I don’t know but I feel that if we keep on fighting like we do we will get even better results.

In fact the only thing that I really am sure of is the fact that I enjoy what my Gunners are doing. Not as pretty as last seasons for the moment but that will come back. But my God we do have a bunch of players willing to fight and work for each others. And as football is a team sport this is the basic foundation for any successful team.   And remember: the stronger the foundation, the stronger the fort.

PS: For those who have seen the speech Wenger gave at the AGM: this article was written the day before the AGM

With over 2000 followers: Untold Arsenal on Twitter @UntoldArsenal

11 comments to Fighting the fight

  • Anne

    @Walter:

    This is a funny coincidence. I actually just finished transcribing Arsene’s speech at the AGM and submitting it to Tony as an article. I thought it was a great speech, overall, and decided that it was worthy of article status. And as I was reading this article, I was thinking how well the two would compliment each other, and was wondering if you had been inspired to write this by the speech.

    But now you’re telling me that you actually wrote this the day BEFORE the speech? You must be channeling Arsene’s brainwaves 🙂

  • RedGooner

    Walter I actualy thought Parks goal reminded me more of some of carlos velas goals than Henry.
    If he turns out to be somewhere in the middle that will do fine.

  • Robbie

    I hope Park will be ready to fill the boots of RvP when the medical staff takes him for a couple of months. Chamakh doesn’t look the part so I think most Gooners, me included, are hoping Park is the guy that can deliver the goods. The squad feels stronger this season so I think we’ll do better in the later stages of the season than we have done in the past few years. I hope we can make up for the bad start by taking more points at the end and hopefully reaching that CL spot. Let’s keep the run going by beating Chelski on saturday. Come on you gunners!

  • WalterBroeckx

    Anne,

    yeah
    I was preparing the article to publish it and while doing it had the Wenger speech playing in another window. And well it felt as if he said what I had in my mind when I wrote this article yesterday afternoon…

    It felt really strange to hear Wenger saying what I had in my mind…. Maybe he will say : it felt really strange reading what I had in my mind…

    Big minds think a like or how goes the idiom…? 🙂 😉 Okay forget that last one 😉

  • Anne

    @Walter:

    It’s ok. If I realized that I had been thinking like Arsene Wenger, I think I would be tempted to take some pride in it 🙂

  • RedGooner

    Here is a question for you.

    How has/will the ManCity v ManUtd result effect the way how Arsenal is viewed by the media and fans alike.

    Will they finaly wake up and see that even ManUtd now are been effected by big spending and that no team is immune to the knock on effects of big spenders like Chelsea and Utd.

    So many fans and media were against how the club was run after the early season results and quick to point fingers, now that Utd got spanked by City will Wenger finaly get the credit he deserves for keeping us in touch with these clubs with better resources while building a new stadium.

  • RedGooner

    Meant to say big spenders like chelsea and city appologies.

  • Gooner Gal

    @ Walter, I was at the Udinese game and I said afterwards, that I thought that they were a very good side. And so I was shocked to read the negativity about the players and the dismissal of the achievement by the team who all did extremely well as they had hardly played together previously. Theo showed up and scored the only goal, Frimpong made defence splitting runs into their box, Chamakh worked hard holding up the ball for others, Ramsey never gave up and he made a few brave tackles too, but since then the short memories has meant that these players have come under sustained attack from supposed supporters. It is embarassing really.
    .

    The away fans that I used to always commend (before the fulham game) returned and for me were a ray of light on a very dark day, 8-2 is a humilating loss but the way they sang and cheered the players on, made me really happy. The media will of course continually refer to this drubbing at every opportunity, whilst conveniently omitting that we didn’t have many experienced players that day. In contrast to Man U’s 1 – 6 drubbing where they had most of their senior squad to choose from, but the media have excuse at every opportunity.
    .

    For me the most disappointing thing last season was the attitude and lack of fight to the end a game. I love the difference in this new squad and the fact that they want to play for the Gunners and even think it an honour to wear the cannons on their chest. I think it shows in the way they play as they really care. The fans we lost at the start of the season and after the Man U game has been a strange blessing, as I said previously the Emirates atmosphere has been excellent and I think it has even helped spur the players on in recent matches. Of course this will continue to go unreported because it doesn’t fit the broad negative story that been created.

  • Evil

    What I really love about Wengers speech is that it’s not someting he is reading. He got no notes or anything.

  • Isaac

    spending big doesn’t guarantee trophies as the so called experts will have you believe.The truth is the only marquee players ever signed by Wenger was Overmars and Arshavin, the rest were unknown(vieira,pettit,anelka,ljunberg), middle of the road(pires,lauren) on the fringes(nasri reyes) developing(fabregas) or on the way down(Henry,after moving to Juventus) I leave Campbell out because he was free. Arsenal had finished 12th in the league the previous season if memory serves me right so any player was good in our eyes when Wenger took over(remember Helder? A Graham signing? and he has the audacity to question Arshavin’s signing) we as fans backed the team to the hilt and the rest as they say is history. We at the time thought Wright was irreplaceable but… We are in a similar situation now with even better backup all we need to do is support and some empties who only became fans after 2004 are questioning his policy. Anelka was 19 Vieira 21 Henry 23. Were they not kids then? Fab 17. The press ironically accuse him of being Myopic. I wonder if they even understand the word. Full support goons rain or shine. Now compare all those players worth to any of the top 4 players at the time and you will see spending for the sake of it doesn’t guarantee titles just ask Liverpool and the spuds .

  • C4

    Spending big is the lazy way to compete. We actually WORK for our success.
    I notice they’re not really showing the form table nowadays after EPL matches. They were doing that a LOT at the end of last season…