The article I’m currently writing in this very moment was originally spawned a few minutes before the final whistle had gone at that poor, to say the least, away game at Fulham last Saturday, just before one of the worst Arsenal performances I’ve ever been unlucky enough to witness became an ugly fact. I got exactly the reaction I expected, not the one I’d hoped for, from the fans; we’re in big trouble, we’ve never had a squad this weak before and if we don’t buy some experienced, quality players we will be looking at a team in crisis that, at best, can hope for a spot in the top4.
Now, I could’ve written this article back then, but, just in case, I wanted to wait. I didn’t want to look like a complete moron in case we came out with yet another crappy performance against Twente. It may sound like I had my doubts, but the the 2nd Champions League qualifier leg turned out to be exactly what I expected; Arsenal, reinforced by our unpenetrable fort (except for West Ham), Emirates Stadium, utterly picking poor little Twente to pieces in a high-scoring spectacle.
I could’ve written this article back then too, but, still just in case, I wanted to wait. Now, after one of the most enjoyable games in modern times (exaggerations are tricky things) I can, after an entire week of patiently waiting, finally say: Shame on you! Shame on you for doubting Arsene – he always knows what he’s doing. Shame on you for doubting our squad and shame on you for not seeing through the “Arsenal in crisis”-opinions for what they are. Rubbish, is what they are.
After that game away to Fulham I was devastated, frustrated and pissed off. But I took a while to just sit quietly, not really doing anything, and think. It worked. My conclusion? I came to the conclusion that we still, despite how poorly I just witnessed them play, have the best squad in the Premier League. Not the biggest, not with the most depth – but the best. I really do believe that our first choice starting XI is the best in the world. The evidence is right in front of you; no other team could’ve played like we just played. Newcastle wasn’t bad, not bad at all. Still 7-0 would not be an unfair scoreline. I mean, we can all agree that there is no better guarantee of quality in football than hand-picking by Wenger. There have been some misses over the years, that is true, but even the sun has its’ spots. Up untill the start of this season, not counting the pre-season, with the horrible displays of the previous season still burned into my retina, I thought Eboue was one of those mistakes. He was actually good today. Really good. Practically every player in the squad either is a world class player (and I really mean world class, like top 5 in their position) or they probably will be. Song, Diaby, Denilson, Walcott, Vela, Bendtner, Ramsey, Wilshere, Merida – need I say more? I really could double that list. They all have bad games now and then, but who didn’t have a few bad games in the beginning of their careers? Compare that pool of talent to our rivals and you’ll be in for a pleasant surprise.
I wish we wouldn’t get carried away now though and then unmercifully come crashing down on Wenger and the team as soon as we don’t perform as expected. I even understand the angriest of the angry Arsenal fans after the Fulham game. It’s not acceptable for a team of our standard to play like that and the criticism was definitely justified – well, some of it atleast. Every bad thing said about that particular performance was probably 100% true, but the inference’s and the conclusions made about our future were not.
I, for one, expect us to continue playing like this throughout the season and I can’t see why that is not a reasonable expectation considering the squad we have, assuming the vital players remain healthy. Of course I don’t expect us to dissect Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and win by a significant margin the way we did today, but you get my point. I hope. We could do with another addition to the squad, but who needs a defensive midfielder when we play like we did today?
We have the players needed to win the Premier League and to conquer Europe, but our biggest opponents aren’t the other teams, it’s ourselves and our bad habbit of having not scoring when we should. 3-0 today might seem like a satisfactory result. Point-wise it certainly was and the performance in itself was brilliant, but imagine if we would’ve scored as many goals as you’d expect to score when you have like 25 shots on goal. 3-0 is nothing. Bolton can beat people 3-0. A good old mega thrashing á la Prague in the Champions League last season would’ve been absolutely perfect. Increase our efficiency and we’ll be the best.