Now is the time to support our team

By Walter Broeckx

Losing to United is not a pleasant thing. I don’t like it. Losing to Barcelona, and certainly the way the ref threw a shadow over the second game is very frustrating. I don’t like it at all. But do we have to throw all and everyone over board? Let me just give you a few thoughts on why things are not as bad as some may think.

Let us look at what has been going on since the end of December. We have played 22 games in 76 days. One game each 3,5 days.  2 games a week. And all this since 27 December when we started this round of fixtures. In the same period United has played 18 games in 77 days. So they had for each game one day extra rest compared to Arsenal. So one could imagine that our legs are a bit heavier than most of Uniteds legs. But still we had a lot of possession, more shots than United.  The big difference is that they were sharper in front of goal.

Also United had a free midweek after their game last weekend. And we had to go to Barcelona and face a very tiring game playing more than half an hour with 10 men. So we had to cover a lot of ground and had to live with the frustration of not being able to continue the game plan and face our exit in the champions league.  So with all the travelling and the game itself most of our players could have been a bit more tired than United players.  But still we had a game in which we dominated for large spells of the game.

Even my match commentator mentioned the fact that just before United scored from what was almost their first real chance the crowd was showing some frustration because United was totally dominated at Old Trafford by Arsenal.  Like our match commentator said: one has to do it to go to Old Trafford and dominate United like that.  But then they scored and after that we just missed our chances and once again good old Van Der Sar was named man of the match against Arsenal.  A bad habit we are growing it seems.

So far this season we scored a lot of goals. In fact we are the second best goal scoring team  in the league so far. So in general one could say that we don’t have that much trouble with scoring goals. But the last weeks (be it sometimes for reasons not down to our own play – refs…) we have a bit of troubles to score. Not just the keepers of the opposing teams shine but our players have a bit of problems in just hitting the net.

As a great striker once said: the fresher you are as a striker the better you can finish. So again I have to look at the many fixtures we have been facing and think that maybe this could be the reason for our strikers to have some difficulties in scoring goals for the moment. After such a long spell without rest it could be that our players just need a bit of rest. And well for the first time in months it looks as if we will have some rest for our players.

So maybe the fact that we now only play one game a week from now till the end of the season could help us a lot. It could mean that our players can have a rest after each game and then can work their way back to fitness for the next game. Little injuries get some time to heal. Players who are tired after a game can relax a bit more and be given time to recover more.

But unfortunately we have another problem coming back. Over the last month our players are falling down and don’t stand up anymore. The only exception is Van Persie in fact. Supposed to be out for a few weeks but he came back to everyone surprise, including mine. But if he really is 100%, I’m not that sure.  But the others are out and stay out. Or come back but not really, like Cesc.

So one more game before another international break comes along. One game in which we will have to do it with some important players missing. I think Cesc, Song, Vermaelen, Djourou, Walcott are certainly out for this game.  And the minor fact almost all our goalkeepers are out apart from Almunia. So all in all a list that is far too long. But a list that one can expect after such a long and tiring run of games.

So it will be absolutely vital to get 3 points at West Bromwich next weekend. It doesn’t matter how. It doesn’t has to be with nice football but would be nice if it could. But a goal that comes in from a defender after hitting six players in a row would be nice for me. Or a goalkeeper that doesn’t win the man of the match award would be a nice change.

And then after that game I hope for a lot of little injuries. You know the one week injuries. Or a little virus spreading in the team which makes all the players stay in London. You know a little bit of flu. It can spread that easy. Just imagine if we could have a rest of two weeks between the WBA game and our next game.  This could be enough to recover most of the injured players and also could mean that the rest of our players can recharge their batteries for the final 9 games of the season.

So despite two lost games and trophies there still is a lot to play for.  And a lot for us fans to support the team. And I think the best away supporters in the world will do their part next Saturday. As our match commentator said at the end of the game we lost at Old Trafford that he could only hear the Arsenal supporters singing and supporting their team.  Despite the fact we were losing the game they made us proud.

And this is how we all should be acting from now on till the end of the season. We just should get behind the team till the final minute of the final game. And then we will see what the result of our joint efforts has brought us.  We have it all to play for. And those who do not believe may walk out the room and come back next season. Or never again. Now is the time to support. So support I will do. Support is what we all must do.  Even those who have lost the faith.

If you call yourself a Gooner just get behind the team now. And if it doesn’t work out like we hoped then you cannot blame yourself for being a bad supporter. And then you can moan about the team during the summer. But now there is too much at stake to just give up.  And real gooners don’t give up that easy. 3 points behind, one game in hand. So much to play for.

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If you think things are up and down now, try the world in 1910, when Arsenal went bust and then arose from the ashes to form the modern club.  Making the Arsenal.  Details here.

28 Replies to “Now is the time to support our team”

  1. Whatever happens between now and the end of the season (and there’s no reason to think that we won’t finish at least second) I’m not sure that I’ve witnessed a season when so many young players have emerged/re-emerged (after injury) to look like they are going to be top class first-teamers. All of them could be in our team in five, ten or, in one case as long as 15 years time. And, if reports are correct, we’ve got at least a couple of top class kids out on loan at the moment.
    With UEFA aimimg to stiffle the ‘sugar daddy’ influence over the next few years I’m not sure I’ve ever been so optimistic about my clubs future.

  2. Off topic:

    If the rumours are true and they are in the press in Germany and Belgium then our crazy German is back at Arsenal.

    Wow if needed just put him in the field. AFter all in 1997 he was the first goalkeeper to score in open play in the Bundesliga. 😉 Game between Schalke and Borussia Dortmund.

  3. Walter, a really excellent article and a timely warning to ALL true Arsenal supporters to stop whining and carping at all and sundry and get behind the team 100%. Even if changes are necessary, nothing can be done until the Summer, so why rock the boat now. Incidentally, the fans attending the remaining games at the Emirates could well learn from their “away” comrades, whose support for the team is unparalleled.

  4. i am one who hasnt lost the faith, i predicted arsenal would win the pl title this season and im not changing, they can do it, with the fans right there supporting them every match, every kick of the ball, every goal scored, urging them on, not yelling abuse at individual players, but shouting `come on you can do it’ and sing their names out loud. be proud to be supporters of THE ARSENAL! i am.

  5. After reading through some of the other Arsenal sites it appears that the anti Wenger mob are around in ever increasing numbers. This upsets and depresses me more than the recent disappointing results. I would not blame Arsene for walking away, I do not know how he tolerates all these unappreciative idiots.

  6. Far too many “fans” appear get their opinions direct from rubbish TV / radio sports pundits & journalists & simply regurgitate drivel that’s intended to raise the blood pressure rather than inform. After a couple of defeats by 2 of the most successful clubs in world football (against whom we were not expected to win), we’re suddenly crap & “same old, same old”…etc. Sorry, but I for one don’t buy that.

    Man U, on the other hand, appear to be on track & imperious after suffered defeats against 2 teams in which they were favourites to win (Wolves & Chelsea) & played out one of the most boring nil all draws in the Champions league against a Marseilles team that they were also expected to beat.

    A little more perspective is needed.

  7. Good article, all us real fans need to stick together and make our voice heard supporting the team and wenger and maybe we might win something

  8. If Wenger walks away there will be civil war on the terraces.

    We will either self-combust instantly, or implode over a season or two as the slow reality dawns…

    Either way, the real blame game will come to town.

    If you don’t support Arsenal, catch the bus to Manchester.

  9. Well said, Walter. With all this constant media harping on about a “trophy drought,” it’s easy to forget how successful Arsenal really is, and how much they give to their fans. Seriously, has any other club in the EPL this season given their fans as many hours of good football as Arsenal has? That shouldn’t be taken for granted.

    The truth is that Arsenal is FAR AND AWAY the best club in the EPL. They just are. In terms of talent and quality, no one can really touch them. And I say that as someone who first entered this debate as a neutral observer. It’s my honest, objective opinion. And when you play that level of football, the trophies will come. It’s inevitable. It’s just that winning the titles takes more than good football. You have to play good football, AND wait for everything to fall into place in the right way at the right time. It’s only that last part where Arsenal is lacking right now.

    I was watching a documentary called “Xavi 550” the other day, and one part of it that really stood out for me was when they were talking about Barcelona’s 5-year trophy drought from 2000-2005. It was like having deja vu, because everything that Barcelona experienced at the time was so similar to what Arsenal is experiencing now. And now, a few years later, they’re “the best team in the history of football,” blah blah etc. You guys might find some of the players’ comments about those times interesting, as it relates to Arsenal now:

    XAVI: Eliminations from the Champions League, the King’s Cup, had unfortunately screwed us over…those times we went through when the stadium was never full, not even half way..those times, ‘passing through the desert,’ as it were. Puyi going 5 years without winning anything, that, that’s hard.

    PUYOL: Those were a complicated, very difficult 5 years

    XAVI: You go onto the pitch and see that people don’t trust you, they whistle at you. At the end of the match the stadium’s empty in 2 seconds, that’s all so hard to deal with, so hard.

    PUYOL: And that’s when we value what we’re experiencing right now more, right? Because it seems easy to win matches, and even titles and we know it really isn’t, so we value that.

    XAVI: Aside from the Cule feelings I have, you’re inside the club. You’re in there, hoping that everything goes well, and things are turning out the opposite. Everything’s the opposite. You get the feeling that when you win a match, people aren’t happy about it. I mean, you get the feeling that people want everything to crash and burn, you know? That people want everything to go so badly that everything just crashes and burns, which is so bad, you know.

    TXEMI TRAS: I remember a match against Valladolid, I think it was in Van Gaal’s 2nd season, in which the manager was doubted constantly, and that match was practically decisive for the manager’s future. And Xavi scored the goal that gave the team a victory. In that moment, back then, with all the tension surrounding the club, that goal wasn’t at all accepted by certain sectors of the club.

    XAVI: There have been a few times I’ve said, and occasionally to the media, that I feel like the people sometimes don’t want Barca to win. And unfortunately I feel like that a lot with this club, and it’s a real shame.

    MARIA MERCE (Xavi’s mother): I’ve heard things being said on the radio that I, I thought, How can people think like this? A boy who was 24 at the time was being considered “a cancer at Barca”…I heard that on one station, I was cooking supper, and I was just like, Good grief, come on!And I just felt that maybe it wasn’t the greatest decision, telling him not to leave, you know? Maybe he would have been happier at the time.

    ALEX HERNANDEZ (Xavi’s brother): But well, in a time when he’s not winning titles, a player begins to be criticized. And everyone’s criticized. And especially home grown players. That’s the issue…and now thank God that the club has entered into a period with more titles, which has helped a lot.

  10. the difference though is that Barca and Real Madrid have made a monopoly on tv rights etc., making competition unfair…while Wenger has created a team that is young and extremely talented, with spending less money than Liverpool, Newcastle, Man City, Chelsea, definitely Man Utd., Tottenham etc., while having a new stadium and new training ground…this in addition to playing the best football in the league…who remembers Graham’s last days and Rioch…we have seen the change…that being said I love the competition coming up in the Premier League, and I don’t mind it because I truly believe Wenger is about to create history in terms of the dimensions of quality in the football and team…just if the satellite system for training could have taken to effect earlier so we could avoid all of those injuries

  11. the only reason why I am desperate to get a trophy this year, is because I am afraid Wenger will give up on his plan now that it reaches the end of the 5 years intended for its success…I think we are on the brink of the greatest team in Arsenals history, that is why the only thing I am scared of if we loose out on the title, is Wenger giving up on his plan

  12. @Walter,

    I know! That’s why I posted it. I thought it might give some perspective on Arsenal’s current situation. If you think that, when Xavi was the same age that most of Arsenal’s players are now, he was being criticised in the media as “a cancer at Barca.” It just goes to show how quickly this kind of situation can turn around. And I’m pretty confident that Arsenal, like Barca, will end up having the last laugh on this 🙂

  13. Anne – thanks for that post. Xavi being called a cancer at Barca – amazing. Seems fans everywhere are impatient and too quick to write off players.

  14. @sebjob,

    Yeah, I know, the same fear has actually occurred to me. But I’m also inclined to think that, if Wenger was going to give it up, he would have done it before now. And we would also be seeing signs of it in terms of activity in the transfer market. If Wenger is still spending his money to bring in 15-year-old Barca youth players, that would seem to me to be a pretty good indication of where he wants to take the club in the future.

  15. Great post Anne, and Critic, that article is telling -admitting this project has made mistakes and miscalculations but providing perspective as to what is going on at the same time.
    I believe Wenger will see this through – he has his much derided stubborness to fall back on – some see as stubborness, others see as leadership and strength of character. Seem to remember Churchill had a stubborn streak.
    Do not listen too much to the media – they have had an agenda against Wenger from day 1. Many reporters and pundits are fans of clubs threatened by what Arsenal are now doing. The bitterness in many Spurs fans, the insecurity of many mouthy, abusive Mancs is telling- they know it will not last.Utd are not finished yet but have serious problems and need all the help from officialdom they are currently getting.
    Some of the crap the media have been spouting about Wenger this weekend – if a fraction were true – how come we are second in the league and their darling team and manager is so many points behind us? How come we get to the knockout stages of the CL each year if Wenger is such a fool / gone senile / lost the plot etc?
    According to some, Dragan Stojkovic may eventually replace Wenger but not for a while yet

  16. Excellent article Walter and very interesting from Anne. I had wondered about the baren years for Barca and the reaction the players had to it at the time. It saddens me to think that our players now are in a similar place, they must know of the now massive split in the Arsenal support as ridiculous as it is, and i worry that if we dont win the title this year or anything next season that the mindless few will run our best players out of the club. This club deserves trophys of course but the whole perspective of some fans is just unreal. A barren run is something true and certainley more mature Arsenal fans know alot about. We are on the cusp of something massive ok we’ve arguably been on the cusp for 3 years now, but its so blatent to see what an awesome team we are becoming. Some ins and outs this summer and more promotions from within and we will begin to dominate. Its all set up for it. Wenger for all his faults?? has put us in the strongest postion finacially and player wise out of the whole premiership. I know plenty of other fans from other prem teams who would love Wenger to be their manager.
    This last few weeks has been hard but being a football fan, you gotta take the rough with the smooth. This small baren run will be over soon and then in 6,7,8 seasons time we will look back as Barcalona fans are now and feel so amazingly good and happy, becouse we will know what it was like to be sad.

  17. Great read Walter and wonderful perspective Anne> I remember reading something similar about Phil Jackson’s Chicago Bulls barren spell before they became the greatest basket ball-playing team of all time. Sport is like that. What Wenger must do now is trust the kids! Play Miguel at CB. Recall some of the kids from their loans. Throw them in the team. George Graham did it and created Arsenal legends…SAF did it and dominated the EPL for over a decade. The kids have no fear. They have been schooled in the Arsenal way – like Jack Wilshire has – since the age of nine. They all have his tenacity and his skill. In all the areas that we now have problems we have young players that can come in. Arsene just needs to be bold…players like Denilson and Diaby are too afraid of failure. They are under too much pressure and don’t want to make mistakes and each mistake is so crucial these days. The kids don;t have that kind of limitation.

  18. Here’s another article on the same subject that actually appeared on the BBC website, of all places. Go figure…

    The boring ‘no trophy for 5 years’ debate..

    I did an erasmus year in Spain a couple of years ago and naturally I met alot of avid Catalan Barca supporters. Anyway I like to think I am dignified in victory so I caught up with a few of them on the phone to talk about the game on Wednesday night.

    Anyway after we had finished my friends were talking about how suprised they were that we hadn’t won a trophy for a while. And then they told me about the time between 1999-2005 when Barca had not won a single trophy. And the similarities between us and them are striking!

    They were talking about the relentless pressure from fans and the media that they had not won a trophy. The reasons they gave for not winning a trophy? Youth was being blooded. The press were talking about players such as Xavi and Iniesta who looked good but were not good enough to play at the top level. When Laporta arrived in 2003 the fans were after blood! But Laporta was keen to keep the philosophy of blooding the products of La Masia whilst supplementing them with a few quality purchases. The purchases being Ronaldinho etc.

    The fans were naturally wanting some of the Real Madrid approach of spending 40 odd million on players. But Barca were looking long term rather than short term and boy did it pay off.

    I explained the situation at Arsenal to these friends and they were as adament as I am that a trophy is coming. And as they said…it will mean so much more to the team, the coach and the fans as we did it our way.

  19. still got a chance this year, and I believe the players have really fought hard to get it and keep belief. I am a bit confused about Wengers long term plan, anyone able to clear up the confusion? In the article the Critic linked to it was a ten year plan (great article!), but in a couple of Wengers press conferences he has mentioned that his time limit for regarding the team as a success or not is 2011, same repeated by Keown…anyone got a clue?

  20. Whatever happens going forwrad, Arsenal have certainly exceeded my expectations for the season. They have certainly done better than the media said they would do.

    Winning the EPL will be the icing on the cake. ManU will be playing their game with us sandwiched by CL games (against a really tough opponent I hope)… We have everything to look ofrward to.

  21. Yes Shard, as far as I have written in the media in my country Djourou thinks he can escape an operation for now and just play on. And then maybe at the end of the season get an operation to fix it permantly?

    Well I would like it and take the gamble.

  22. Another nice post Walter – slow and steady will get us the rewards we richly deserve .We are all in for the long haul and will not deviate from playing the game the way it was meant to be.Arsene knows best.
    Anne’s comments cheered me up ,knowing we are almost there and the little stumbles we now encounter will finally take us on the right path of success.
    We have done well so far and it was the little things that eventually cost us the games.A poor pass ;a poor tackle here ;a bad back pass there ;a lapse in concentration ,etc.
    It reminds me of the old English saying -” For the want of a shoe the horse is lost,for the want of a horse the kingdom is lost”.
    And Walter, just noticed your picture above and now able to put a face to the writer we have come to enjoy reading.
    Cheers !


    Barca went only 5 years without a Trophy, Arsenal have now gone six and one doesn’t look like it’s gonna be won anytime soon. This season is our best chance to win the league. A chance we are not going to have for a long time again.

    This summer Chelsea, Man United, Man City and maybe even Tottenham and Liverpool are going to spend big money to bring in the world’s best players and managers. Where will Arsenal be? Stuck with Almunia, Fabianski, Diaby, Denilson, Bendtner, Rosicky, Eboue, Gibbs.

    Barcelona are successful through a mix of their La Maisa academy and big money quality signings. End of.

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