One is obvious – we won and it was a thoroughly enjoyable evening. Pires was given the regard and respect that he should have – he was a significant part of the success that Henry got, through an overwhelming and perfect understanding between the two (apart from that time they mucked about doing a penalty between them at the clock end).
There was noise, the new Red Action flag was great, and everyone played well. Including our made up back five.
Second, it is amusing to see what the people who described us as hopeless and shot through are now saying. Remember the Gooner with its “Meltdown” issue? Or the blogs that said after the Fulham defeat, “This is exactly what I feared…”
At least this blog, and all the readers who support it, and our good colleagues at Highbury High with their “moan free zone” have stayed consistent and loyal to Cause Wenger.
Of course some are still backtracking. “Arsenal haven’t won anything yet” is the new catchword, as if that matters. It will be joyful if we win something this year, but if we don’t that does not affect what is going on, for the third reason to be cheerful…
Third, the future. Our future is magnifico. We have a brilliant young squad who next year will be better than this. While our competitors have aging teams ours is nowhere near maturity. Just think how far Alex Song and Denilson have come this year. Six months ago many if not most Arsenal supporters would have said, “get rid of them and buy in someone new”.
Better, because of the trials and tribulations of the injuries we have slowly found that this squad is a squad – that you can take out the whole midfield and we can still grind out results. You can take out the whole defence except Kolo and we can still get through to the semi final of the Euro cup.
And every year more youngsters come through who can add to that buzz and fizz. We haven’t even seen Jack Wilshere and Fran Merida yet, and Eduardo just sat on the bench last night. And the snips we get of Ramsey show another extraordinary talent.
Fourth (ok I said three reasons but I am getting the hang of this) we are not bankrupt. Liverpool’s owner is at the very edge of collapse, Manchester are in even more debt than before, and KGB Fulham’s owner does not look to me to be the centre of financial well-being. Better still, the mega rich clubs like Manchester Arab and Queens Park Stranglers can’t seem to buy a win.
Just as with the end of capitalism, the collapse of football teams (as with Leeds) comes quickly, and it will happen soon. True, Liverpool and Manchester Bankrupt will be rescued by Arabs, but I am not sure they quite get the difference between camel racing and football in the north west. (Although come to think of it, maybe there isn’t one).
Fifth, Wenger was right. He had a vision, and it was not just self-centred stubbornness, as many blog writers said. It was a great idea, and it is working, and the football is wonderful. If you had the luck, as I thankfully did, of watching much of the Unbeaten Season, you will know what it was like – and we are starting to see it again. If you didn’t see the 49 I just can’t describe the joy of it. Starting with that 6-1 win against Southampton – Pires hatrick. Remember that final goal with the chip into the goal in front of the north bank?
Sixth, and I’ll make this the last one, Hleb and Flamini. Because of those two, the threat of the great walk out to Italy and Spain is declining. All this stuff about everyone leaving, Theo and VP refusing new contracts, etc etc – it is all disappearing into dust. Partly because it was never true, partly because we are on the edge of another bout of history making wonderment, and partly because Hleb and Flamini wandered off into the night, expecting great things, only to find themsleves on the bench or worse.
I thought of them particularly in watching Bentley in the reserves for the Tinies. There is a talent there, but it needed nurturing and bringing to fruition, but instead he went to Blackburn and Tottenham, ending up among the deadmen. Serves him right.
Of course someone will be stupid and think “oh it won’t happen to me, my agent says so”, but all the insider talk is that there is a queue going half way around the world of young players who would give their souls to be in Arsenal’s fourth team.
This is a truly wonderful time – and it will be that even if we don’t win a trophy. This is the vindication of the faith that some of us had from the day the Invincibles started to be broken up and replaced by younger players. This is the day for getting up and screaming: “I am Arsenal”.
(c) What-me-go-over-the-top? Never. 2009.
- Arsenal v Leicester footnote: bad runs and past games
- Arsenal v Leicester; the injuries, the team, recent games, ludicrous predictions
- Arsenal v Leicester: comparing the form, and the goalscorers
- Arsenal v Leicester: how will the ref handle Leicester’s multiple tackling?
- What sort of referee is Darren England? The statistics reveal some odd facts.