After a dreadful performance all round against Hull and a typically toothless effort today at Sunderland (albeit sandwiched around a superb win against Porto), it would be easy for me to write the usual criticisms of our current abilities.
The problems remain the same as they have been for 2 or 3 years in the Premier League – no guts, no spine and too many skilful players trying to walk the ball into the net, rather than score. Every single team we play, both home and away, plays the same and yet we never learn how to play against it. That is why we won’t win the league and may even struggle to qualify for next season’s Champions League. Simple as that.
But there’s no point in dwelling on something which has been plainly obvious for such a long time. The problems are there for all to see – its just a question of whether Arsene is able to turn things round.
Rather than moan about Arsenal, allow me a brief complaint about the quality of the football reporting media in this country. I don’t know what its like in foreign climes but the people who laughably call themselves “experts” on our televisions and radios appear to me, bar a few notable exceptions (Lee Dixon and Graham Taylor spring to mind), to be so detached from the real world of being a football fan as to effectively be pointless when it comes to passing comment on the issues which arise from day to day in the game.
Take for example, the current complaints being made by Portsmouth on behalf of Sol Campbell, who was apparently abused horrendously by Tottenham fans at Fratton Park last weekend. Now, don’t get me wrong – if the abuse Sol suffered from the Tiny Totts was of a racist nature, then no-one should accept or encourage that sort of behaviour. No-one deserves to be abused simply because of the colour of their skin.
However if, as I believe is the case, the abuse was simply a general dislike of a man who, having once captained their team, chose to join their most despised rivals down the road, then how can anyone tell the supporters involved not to say what they said? Proper football fans love their team and hate their enemies. For the media to suggest that they shouldn’t shout this kind of thing at someone who had done to them what Sol did is to completely fail to understand what it is like to support a football team. Mark Lawrenson and co on Match Of The Day and Football Focus have become so sanctimonious on this subject, its pathetic. They’ve obviously never felt the feeling that proper football fans feel when they win or lose a big game. It seems that most ex-players and almost all journalists are just not proper football fans.
This morning, they further embarrassed themselves on Football Focus by going over the whole “those fans in the North East deserve much better from their football club than they’re getting right now” crap which the media is duty-bound by law to spout from time to time in order to remind fans from all other parts of the country that they don’t really support their team like Newcastle fans do. A good job too, in my opinion – if Arsenal fans treated their club like the Geordies have treated theirs over the last 5 or 6 years, then we’d have dumped Arsene Wenger ages ago and would be digging down to the likes of Bryan Robson in our managerial desperation by now. In my opinion, Newcastle fans are getting precisely what they deserve from their club at the moment – simply because they seem to think that, by being uncontrollably incandescent with rage whenever their team fails to challenge for the title, despite not having come anywhere near for years will somehow make things better for their club, rather than worse.
Why the pointless overpaid pundits on our TV screens can’t see this is beyond me.