By Tony Attwood, still in Australia.
Of course they would have to wait until I was in Australia to get back to form, but I’d settle for a fine win against a Milan team that has improved greatly of late, even if I was on the outer moon of Pluto – which incidentally I am not.
But the big problem we have is the contemporary NOW NOW NOW attitude. Of course I feel a whole lot better with Arsenal having stopped the run of defeats, even though I won’t be able to see the return game at Arsenal – I’ll still be down under, but I guess there is a bit of compensation if I can sell my seat…
It is only £24 (I think) for a front row seat in the East Upper facing the 18 yard line that Arsenal attack in the second half. Block 110 Row 1.
Because I have made it a habit to come to Australia each year about this time to see my daughter I always miss some games, and sod’s law is that I shall miss the good ones, but that’s how it goes. My ticket for Watford has gone – and maybe by the time this is published the AC Milan game will be sold too. But at least I know it goes to someone who supports the club enough to be at least a Red Member. One of the basic signs of being a supporter in my book.
Anyway the media managed to be quite reasonable for a change. The Telegraph said in its opening paragraph, “Arsene Wenger’s career has been far too long, and far too successful, for a round-of-16 match in Europe’s secondary competition to rank among his greatest nights. And yet the pure satisfaction he will derive from this result, this taming of a buoyant AC Milan side in a packed-out San Siro, will surely compare to anything else he has experienced in these turbulent recent years.” I think that’s fair enough.
They also said a little further down…
“Henrikh Mkhitaryan showed why his manager thought he was a worthy replacement for Alexis Sanchez, and Mesut Ozil demonstrated why he merits wages of £350,000 a week. ”
So at last a trifle amount of perspective. The annulment (at least until the next game) of the notion that you are only as good as your last game, or indeed your last dozen games. No player is perfect in every match, and every player can have an off period. Even Henry. Even Bergkamp.
That is not to say that this team compares with the 2004 team, but it is nowhere near as bad as some have wanted to make out. It is, to my mind (and of course this is just my opinion because I am not on the training ground and can’t read what goes on in people’s heads – unlike many Untold correspondents claim to be able to do), a team that has had a major change around which needed a settling in period – itself disrupted by the injury to Lacazette – and which has been hugely exacerbated by a surge of attacks upon the team the likes of which I don’t think I have ever seen in my 2000 years of supporting the club.
OK, not quite that long, but I am old enough to remember Manchester United being incredibly well supported but so bad they were relegated, and they never suffered the treatment we have had either from the media or the so-called fans.
Indeed “so-called fans” isn’t bad enough. They are the reverse of fans. SNAF in fact (reverse of “fans” – geddit?). We’ve had to put up with the aaa for years and years, but of late this has been utterly ridiculous. And I have no doubt even from the other side of the globe that the slightest hiccup in the next game will mean that they are all back – along with their allies in the national media.
What the SNAF (I quite like that – mind you I am always guilty of laughing at my own rubbish jokes) will never accept is that they have the power to make poor situations worse, and that the scumbags in the national media just love what they do in order to justify their outrageous attacks on the manager and the team.
As I tried to show recently in a long post, knocking Arsenal is the starting point for the commentaries of most football commentators no matter what the medium, and they have been doing it to undermine the club since the club was created by the workers for the workers. It seems to be part of the deal.
So we can’t change that, but we can refuse to give in to it. If Mr Wenger thinks that Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Mesut Özil can be of value together in the team I’m willing to believe him, and give the experiment time to work, and work last night I think it did.
On the other side, if Arsenal failed to re-sign Alexis I am not prepared to believe that it was totally their fault. Likewise I am not going to believe yet all the reports that say that Alexis is being disruptive in Manchester United’s team, although most reports seem to suggest that he is not exactly performing at 100% so maybe there is something in that. How amusing if it turned out to be true.
But I am delighted not just by the result yesterday but by the performance of Jack Wilshere. I really do hope he stays.
The aaa and the SNAF will continue to be in total denial, claiming that their aggressive stance against the club is somehow helpful, but I really don’t think that can ever be true. Arsenal always have my support, and as a result I can share in last night’s victory, even though I had nothing to do with it, even though I am on the other side of the world.
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- Men’s football returns at last: Arsenal in action this afternoon
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