By Walter Broeckx
After a few matches in which we didn’t play that well we managed to get back to winning ways with the 3-1 win over Bournemouth. One would think that everyone would be happy and satisfied in Arsenal circles.
But after having had enough sleep I went on the internet and searched for reactions from Gooners worldwide. Of course most people showed happiness and delight over the win. And being happy not just about beating the tough Bournemouth players but also a ref that made some strange decisions.
With Arsenal winning and staying unbeaten since the opening day in the PL the moaners are feeling a bit uncomfortable. We can see this in the comment section. Since a few weeks we hardly get the comments we all have seen in the past. Moaning about Wenger who has lost it, who is useless, who has no clue anymore. Now every now and then we have a desperate moaner who will start his moan when we even don’t lose but have a draw.
Now I do admit that getting 3 draws in a row was a bit frustrating. Winning one of those matches and we would have been level on points with Manchester City and Liverpool! . But in those 3 draws we didn’t play at our best and certainly the match at Manchester United was a bit of a let off. We played below par in that match. The reason some players didn’t reach their level is one of those strange things you get from time to time. Having one of your top performers travelling for hours on a plane just in time to have a Friday training and then go with the rest of the team to Manchester will not have helped him perform. But with the whole team looking slow one can wonder if there is something bad in the air of the dressing room that Arsenal have to sit in. The smell of the Old Toilet maybe?
But whatever the reason, we didn’t perform like we can. That is beyond doubt. Against Bournemouth we started very well and then had the first setback to see Debuchy having to come off hardly 12 minutes after having started a game for the first time since….. Stoke almost two years ago. It broke my heart a bit as he was doing rather well after such a long time and looked strong going forward and defending. I even thought to myself: Hector, you will have to be at your best when you come back. And then Debuchy broke down again. This must have been terrible for him.
The next setback was when the referee and his assistant completely ignored a blatant foul on Özil and then punished a possible small foul in the penalty area to give Bournemouth a penalty. We had to overcome another big hurdle. But for me the team showed resielence when they were having a bad time. Just as they did against Manchester United and PSG. And after having found their balance again they went on to win the match. Not the best performance but a performance that showed determination and a big fighting spirit to not only beat the opponent but also whatever the ref had in mind.
And now I see comment such as: It’s only Bournemouth and we struggled to beat them. Yes we struggled to beat them when maybe we shouldn’t have struggled if a ref had done his job in a decent way.
People call it a lucky win. Maybe for the Monreal handball that wasn’t given. But it was us who hit the crossbar and it was Bournemouth who got a very, very soft penalty that never should have happened if the ref had done his job. So I really find it hard to understand when people call us lucky. Maybe they are just parotting what was said in the TV studios?
Maybe people should understand that in each season even when you win the league you have periods when you play bad. Nowadays it seems hard to understand but even the invincibles had their bad spells during the invincible season. In fact we weren top of the league from the first match till the last match of the season. It took us a while before we were top of the league. Nowadays with our memory forgetting the bad things it is remembered as one happy walk from win to win. Believe me there have been drab draws in that season when we even maybe didn’t deserve the draw. But the invincble managed to avoid defeat in those matches. Just like our current team has done since the 2nd day of the season.
This is not something to moan about. For me it is something to be happy about. Because character is what makes a team big. And we have plenty of character now in the squad. For me it is a sign of character to play badly but not allow yourself to lose the match. Even when you look terrible for 88 minutes, we still fight in minute 89 to get a point. And I will not moan for that. Form is a strange thing. Then you got it and you win game after game after game. And suddenly without a reason you hit the wall and nothing works for a while.
At such a time it is not about moaning. It is about supporting. I’m sure the way the crowd reacted during the first half it was the rigth direction. The stadium let the ref know what they thought about him and felt one with the players. That was the right way to react. The only moaning in the ground I heard was about the ref. And that is how it should be. We got behind our players and even with their confidence not high because of the previous results we both got going again. And won the match.
It was good to see that even without playing at our best we managed to win this match in such circumstances. Maybe having to overcome the hurdles made it even more enjoyable for the players to get back to winning ways.