Silent Stan has been making the headlines.
But what’s excited me about The Arsenal this week has been the noise.
The noise of Arsenal players getting their heads in the game.
First: the noise of Robin van Persie bawling out Abou Diaby at half time versus Blackpool for getting himself a stupid yellow card.
Second: the noise of Jens Lehmann shouting at the players like a deranged sergeant major (or maybe that should be a deranged oberleutnant).
It is my bold contention that no quiet team has ever won a football league title. If there was such a thing as a Trappist Monks Eleven they would be dead certs for relegation. Their only chance of any points would come in the annual grudge match against the Mute Society.
But despite this self-evident fact, you can’t deny that Arsenal have been a quiet team in recent years.
Lots of skill, to be sure, but not much sound and fury. Cesc may well be a leader, but he is not an obviously vocal leader – you seldom see him yelling at his team mates and pumping his fists.
Sometimes professional footballers need support. Sometimes they need reassurance – an arm round the shoulder and a word in their shell-like that it’s OK, we all make mistakes.
BUT SOMETIMES THEY NEED AN ALMIGHTY KICK UP THE ARRIS.
I have it on good authority that Arsene Wenger instinctively prefers the shoulder to the arris, despite what the troglodytes of Old Toilet might chant on occasion. And, by bringing through a team largely made up of young players, he has produced a group in his own image.
They care, I’m sure, but they don’t show their passion in a way that was once the norm at Arsenal.
In the days of Adams, Keown and Vieira you could guarantee that any player doing something stupid would be given a severe telling off by his senior colleagues.
This would have two effects: one, it would make everyone acutely aware of their responsibilities to the team as whole; and two, it would raise the temperature among the players, firing them up to lift their game and take out their frustrations on the opposition.
So to hear that Robin tore into Abou for his silly yellow (particularly given the same player’s red card for retaliation against Newcastle earlier in the season) is greatly heartening.
It shows that Robin really cares.
It’s also the only occasion I can remember in recent times of a story getting out about one of our players chastising another for letting the side down.
Coupled with Mad Jens giving a masterclass in shouting, organising, shoving, jostling and cajoling, it gave a distinctly different flavour to our performance at Blackpool.
I noticed that even Eboue – a man who laughs more than Stuart Hall on helium – had caught the seriousness bug. When he belted our second goal into the ‘Pool net he didn’t react with his usual grinning imitation of Donny Osmond at the dentist’s. Instead he remained grim-faced and determined.
I really hope it betokens a change of attitude among our squad. Possibly, in the wake of the public criticism Arsene dished out to the team after the limp-wristed draw against Blackburn Rovers a week earlier, they have out their heads together and decided to come out fighting.
And if that means more shouting at each other, more holding of team mates to account, then I’m all for it.
Let’s bollock our way to being champions of England.
I know Rocky won’t mind me tagging this amazing charity event onto the end of his post. Our CarlitoII is taking part in this, so please support him if you can, read on ………………………
On 11 June 2011, Freedom in the Air (FITA) is holding its first skydive Freedom Freefall day. Supporters from across the country will join us at Peterborough Sibson airfield drop zone to take part in this amazing challenge and raise money for FITA. Carl Roberton is one of the 25 freefallers.
The charity is run and inspired by Gautam Lewis <http://vimeo.com/freedomintheair> .
Gautam is a pretty inspiring chap as you’ll see from reading the press cuttings and watching the video on this page:
You can watch Carl’s video here:
For more info on the event and aims of the event:
The paypal sponsorship link is: