A few months ago, I discovered Nick Hornby’s blog. If you don’t know who he is, just do a Google search, you’ll no doubt recognize some of his work. The point is, he’s a Gooner, and an old school Gooner at that. He’s a guy who lived through the largely trophyless 1970s and 1980s and he’s still a Gooner. It was a time when an Arsenal supporter’s only joy was winning one over Spurs.
One of the only certainties of that period was that Arsenal fans always had something to complain about and Nick writes about these fans in his book Fever Pitch. Given that even in these days and times when Arsenal are a perennial threat to win and fans still complain I have to wonder if a certain type of person falls in love with Arsenal; like some kind of Myers-Briggs personality test where the last question is “do you support Arsenal?” Oh yeah? Oh forget the rest of the test, you’re a Never Satisfied Constant Whiner.
It’s the only thing that makes any sense! Arsenal fans from all over the world are like this. A win is never good enough. The unbeaten season? They should have won the Champions League and the FA cup. And, of course, yesterday’s win is a clear indication that Arsenal should sign 4 players; a striker, a midfielder, a defender and a keeper. Clearly, a 1-0 win over W.B.A. is evidence that the wheels have come off the team, right?
Wrong. W.B.A. is a good team. They play good football. They aren’t some team of shiat-kickers who lump and crunch, they actually showed some good movement, some decent defense, and a reasonable attack. Besides which, on any day any Premiership team can beat any other Premiership team. Add in that Arsenal are missing 8 players due to injury or internationals; Diaby, Eduardo, Rosicky, Bischoff, Fabregas, Senderos, Song, and Toure is just now recovering full fitness after battling malaria. And maybe, just maybe a 1-0 win is looking pretty good.
But more to the point, Toure had Malaria for Christ’s sake. When you say “we need a new center half” are you suggesting that Toure doesn’t cut the mustard? The only reason he didn’t start is BECAUSE HE HAD MALARIA.
Or Senderos? I know that a lot of people like to whip Senderos, but this kid is easily as good Squirtle, Vidic, or just about any of the second choice top center halfs in the Premier League. You can argue that he isn’t, that he makes mistakes, but I’ve seen them all make mistakes. I’ve even seen them all make big mistakes in big matches.
And what if I were to conceed that in some areas the team lacks quality? What then? Should Arsenal “open the coffers” and buy? How? By borrowing money like Man U? To the tune of nearly a £1bn in debt? Or maybe they should just have some oligarch pretend to spend money on the team while secretly loading up the books with bonds payable to him? Or perhaps, Arsenal could overspend every season, drop to 12th place and win the Carling Cup (as Wenger suggested would define “success” so cheekily yesterday)? Sorry, but money doesn’t buy trophies, ask Chelsea. Money doesn’t buy quality, ask Spuds. And borrowed money might get you temporary success, but the hangover is a bitch.
Nope, I like this squad and I have to agree with Wenger that at most this team needs one more player. No need to panic, no need to crack open the checkbook and over spend, let’s just see what this team can do. It’s not like they got a pitiful 1-1 draw against a hapless team of misfits like Newcastle. They WON! And like I always say, why hangover when you can hang on?