After scoring 11 goals in 3 games – 2 of them away from home – Arsenal have drawn 2 and lost 1, scoring only 5 goals and conceding 6.
Whilst this is not exactly superb form – especially given that we were 4-2 up last Wednesday with 5 mintues to go – I would not say that it could be described as a “crisis” yet. But the media have already smelt blood and they will not stop before they either make a kill (Wenger sacked or resigns) or they spot some more tasty morsels and run off after that (Arsenal start playing well and they can gush again, or some other team enters a “crisis”).
I was ashamed on Saturday – not because we lost – every team loses from time to time. It was the manner of the loss that got to me. We’re better than Stoke and should be able to exert our authority on any pitch against anyone. Robin Van Persie’s pathetic sending off was the foul tasting cherry on a sick tasting cake.
But the way the media react to these things is ludicrous. We played a weakened team tonight against a team that we thrashed 2 weeks ago. It finished 0-0. Big deal. Now its all talk of crisis and this insane focus on Wenger saying that he thinks Stoke were deliberately trying to injure our players at the weekend.
Whilst I obviously don’t think that Stoke were deliberately trying to injure our players, if anyone can watch the tackle on Theo Walcott and then tell me that that was a genuine attempt to get the ball, I’ll be amazed. Arsene Wenger is suggesting that some of the tackles made by Stoke City’s players were not entirely within the spirit of the game and in this, he is correct.
But of course, this is Arsenal we are talking about and if we’re not abusing Wenger for “seeing something” when sometimes he “didn’t see something” then we must assault him for being a cry baby and tell him to “grow up, its a man’s game”. Of course, the attitude of the media might be slightly different were it to be a reaction to seeing Wayne Rooney or Steven Gerrard being injured by a lunging tackle the week before a crucial England game but for now, its Arsenal so anything is fair game.
Personally, I think it is plainly clear that we have to recruit some physically stronger players to deal with the more “basic” elements of the game. But no-one who watches football for fun and entertainment can say that they prefer to see the skilful players brutally kicked out of the game rather than see a superbly worked team goal.
The media attitude to Arsenal baffles me – years ago, it was “Lucky Arsenal”, then it was “Boring Arsenal”, now its “Moaning Arsenal”. Sometimes we play well, sometimes not. Just like any other team. So why on earth are we treated differently to any other team?
It beats me – the only thing I can think of is that it has almost become a cultural thing, in the same way that phrases such as “Tottenham fans love to see good football” and “The fans in the North East love their strikers” have become such oft repeated terms that they are delivered as regularly and as monotonously as the speaking clock delivers the time.
We have an extremely tough few games coming up – my guess is that, by the end of this month, the media will have manoeuvred themselves and the bulk of the Arsenal fans into believing that Arsene Wenger is “under pressure” (another one of those speaking clock type terms) and that sooner rather than later he should be sacked.
I just hope that the people who run the club don’t fall for it like most of the other club owners do and that they stick by their man for a good year or so at least. If anyone can sort things out, I can’t think of anyone more qualified than Arsene Wenger.