The season has just started, which means that I, no matter how sad it may seem, suddenly have a purpose in life again. The grass of The Emirates has just been mowed with extreme, almost perverse, precision – God, it looked perfect for yesterday’s encounter with newly promoted WBA, Tottenham’s ambitions, however ridiculous they may be, have been utterly smashed into pieces 90 minutes into the new campaign away to some mid-table team (for the 3rd consecutive season, by the way) and the media are expecting Liverpool to overhaul us. They expect them to overhaul us like we never really will challenge for the title, or any other honours for that matter – as if we all have our eyes set on 3rd place and nothing else, because that would be above our reach. What a load of crap. Pardon my French.
It isn’t something that Arsenal fans are dreaming, it’s actually true; the media really hates us. The headlines all over the web today, apart from the ones coming from Gunnerblogs, are “Nasri saves Gunners”. Nasri’s strike was a superb goal with a great, Arsenal-like build up – a goal that even The Soviet Union (the hockey machine) would’ve been proud of – not a lucky goal in the 89th minute following a corner or a desperate cross into the box. But still it is presented that way.
Liverpool, on the other hand, was indeed saved by Torres’ 83rd minute goal. How Torres, who scored just as many goals as Adebayor last season, is constantly considered the better striker of the two is beyond me. You might say his finishing is better considering how many chances Adebayor squandered last season, but the statistics add up to virtually no evidence at all. Adebayor has a better work ethic, he’s stronger and is by far more involved during the games than Torres but there is not much for Adebayor to do – he will always be doomed when it comes to compairing him to the star players of other teams. Mostly because he plays for Arsenal. Now, I’m not saying Torres isn’t good or that he doesn’t deserve the praise, however, I think it (the praise) should be divided more fairly. It seems that the media instantly thinks that you’re a better player if your arrival to the club set the club back 5 years financially. Or if you’re English. But seriously, a 30 goal/season striker for like 4£? How is that not one of the best signings in footballing history?
Poorly distributed praise aside, there is something we as Arsenal fans should thank the press for, and that is their poor knowledge of the sport, inevitably resulting in us being written off – simply because our signings aren’t household names in England. Samir Nasri, for example, is a superstar in his home country, widely considered to be one of the brightest prospects ever to pull on a pair of football shoes. Still I see him being severely doubted. I read in a newspaper (a Swedish one, but I doubt the English are much different) the other day that he wouldn’t succeed in the Premier League – at least not at first – because he was untested, too young and didn’t cost enough money. Okay, they didn’t say that last thing but I know that’s exactly what they were thinking. That really gets me angry, angry and curious. How can you be paid to write about football and not know more of the game and its players? I will spare you a long rant about how great Samir Nasri is, how incredibly great he will become and how he is a better play than Hleb already, but the game yesterday against WBA spoke for itself. And that was only his debut.
And why is that positive? Why is it to our advantage to be written off beforehand? Well, for me personally it’s fantastic simply because I don’t want people to like my club. I don’t want the glory supporters on our side. I’m the same when it comes to music – the less successful a band is the better, they are my own. But I also sincerely believe that Arsenal FC will benefit from being written off in the same way we did last season; the team will become tighter as a group and the feeling that it’s us against the world will enhance. Which is a good thing.
When the signing that is sure to come finally arrives we will be set to take the premiership to where it belongs; The Emirates Stadium. I really can’t wait for the day (should be any day now..) that the new Wenger-signing, along with everything that the prefix “Wenger-” means, is presented on the official site, because you just know it will be another star of the future – even if the one he brings in is someone with “experience”. That is another area that seems to be a blindspot for the majority of the football journalists; Wenger and his little miracles. The public constantly seems to overlook what a quality squad we actually have and instead focus on teams like Liverpool and Tottenham and their signings and then expect them to finish above us. But how can anyone expect Liverpool and Tottenham to overhaul us when they sign the players that they do? Is it because they are very expensive, which, to the untrained eye (the media), is a strong signal of ambition and footballing knowledge – if they splash out so much on a player it has to be a well scouted buy, right? Well, yesterday we saw a very mediocre Tottenham lose, and rightly so, to Middlesborough and we saw a lucky Liverpool survive a 0-0 draw away to Standard Liege. Although Standard has got huge amount of potential in players like Steven Defour and Axel Witsel, but still.
No, we will not be overhauled this season. In fact, I think we’ll win the title this year. I’ve premeditated and reviewed our fellow contenders, and there’s no reason we shouldn’t be able to do it. I believe that our squad has improved in every area except for central midfield, but the final signing Wenger promised us will take care of that. I have no doubt that it will turn out to be a terrific player, and if someone doesn’t show up Wenger is convinced that an existing player within the squad will follow in Flamini’s footsteps, literally in his footsteps all over the Emirates aswell as in terms of development.
Seeing as we only just missed out on the title last season – mostly due to bad calls from referees and unlucky injuries on key players, by the way – we are bound to win it this time. Especially as Chelsea is 1 year older with yet another manager. To them aging is not a positive thing. United is yet to strenghten their squad and Ronaldo, who definitely won’t score 31 Premier League-goals this season, is ruled out for the beginning of the season. Liverpool signed mediocre full backs, a black Peter Crouch from France (you think Wenger would’ve signed him if he were any good) and Robbie Keane for money that wouldn’t even fit in Fort Knox. What did we sign? Oh, right, just 2 of the most promising players around, and Wenger isn’t finished yet. Nasri, Rosicky (when he’s fit, of course) and Fabregas will probably be the best thing we’ve ever seen when it comes to attacking. Alot of flair, creativity and, above all, end product. If we get to keep this squad together, like the aim was for this season, I suspect we might just be looking at another golden-49-games-unbeaten-generation.
All this media speculation might unsettle a Gooner or two, but when you really think about it, what are we so worried about? It’s just the Same Old Story, but this time it’s got a better ending. I suspect we will all be very happy people come May.