The curtain has fallen on another season of top flight football – and what a season it has been.
As Arsenal fans we’ve been put through the mill more than the wheat stock at Hovis.
The most commonly used metaphor is that it was a “roller coaster” of a season. In which case it must have been this one:
The lowest point came on September 17th.
From the moment Cesc Fabregas answered the call of his yodelling DNA, we started eating the biggest poo sandwich in living Arsenal memory.
Our homesick Catalan was followed out the door by Samir “I want to win things – like an 85 grand a week pay rise” Na$ri, leaving us hardly any time to find replacements.
Before the transfer window closed the appropriately named ManUre added a squirt of diarrhea dressing to our poo sandwich with a humiliating 8-2 thrashing at the Theatre of Screams.
Arsène made a midnight dash in his pyjamas to the Transfer Window counter just as they were pulling down the shutters. After throwing out a bundle of fifty pound notes he scurried home with what appeared to be a random selection of Premier League journeymen and unknown foreigners.
But the low point – the real low, bottoming-out, it doesn’t get much lower than this, deeper than Jan Leeming’s voice, nadir point – was losing away at Blackburn.
Against a p*ss-poor assembly of relegation fodder players we scored three to their two – and still contrived to lose.
Our poo sarnie was suddenly a triple-decker.
At the end of the weekend’s football the Premier League Table made somber reading: Arsenal were sitting at 17th place, one above the relegation positions. The press gleefully informed us it was the worst start to an Arsenal season for 50 years.
But were the Arsenal faithful daunted?
You bet they were. The “Wenger Out” cacophony reached new heights and those who had been pedalling a negative agenda for the previous couple of years were falling over each other to predict failure and disaster. Some – in all seriousness – even warned that we faced relegation.
Certainly all the Wenger critics knew that we had zero chance of making the Top Four.
Well, we all know how it panned out in the end. We fought back, the assortment of new faces turned out to be not all bad and, in the end, we secured third place ahead of our ancient enemies.
They say the Premier League is a marathon not a sprint and, in fairness, we crossed the line like a bloke in a diving suit, but over the full course we had done enough to finish as the best team in England outside of the two Mancs.
But returning to September 17th 2011, the day of the Blackburn Rovers defeat, there was one oasis of perspective and optimism in the desert of desolation.
It was here, in the comments made by regulars on Arsenal Arsenal. So this Post is dedicated to you, my fellow bloggers, who looked into the abyss and saw not the pit of eternal despair, but a long dark tunnel out of which we could dig our way if we worked hard enough.
Here are some of the comments you made in the aftermath of that 3-4 loss:
Gooner in Exile says:
If I was Wenger and Rice right now is about the time I would be tearing a few players new ones for that second half opening.
But also I’d be trying to lift their spirits and praise the way they turned it around at the end because that was a huge change from last year and if I’m not mistaken a bit of a plan B?
Red Arse says:
You won’t want to hear this, but ecstasy and despair are both imposters and are the lot of all football fans.
Remember you cannot have one without the other, and neither emotion lasts. Tomorrow you will start to think of the game next Tuesday, and life will go on.
When we crunch the Spuds, all this will be put into perspective, if not forgotten.
I believe that on another day we would have won this 2:6.
Is this gonna happen after every bad game from now until the end of the season? Loads of people just coming out of the woodwork to take a pop?
It was tough to watch, very tough in fact. And there are big problems at the back, no doubt about it. But if TV was fit that would never have happened today. To come on and say sack the manager and offer zero in the way of an alternative is absurd. So is saying ‘we should have signed Baines’ after watching Santos play one game! I don’t think he played that badly.
We were excellent for 45 minutes, and for 15 minutes at the end. We had an unbelievable 30 minutes where everything that could possibly go wrong went wrong. Who’s to blame? Every single player on the pitch and the management as a whole. So either sack ‘em all or shut up!
The manager and the squad were the right men to take us forward about five hours ago, that cannot change in one 30 minute horror show.
I just hope the side don’t dwell too much on this.
Good people; So a day to test the mettle of Arsenal fans everywhere, no doubt gloom and despondency will come leaping to the fore “ye Gods we have lost another football match, the end of the world is no doubt nigh”. No decent positives to be found anywhere. The manager must be hung drawn and quartered, as the only way the team will ever get more guts is to share his out. What a load of collective unmitigated crap we spout. Lady luck continues to treat us harshly; two own goals, and an offside goal did for us. How many teams would come back from that I wonder? Yet comeback we almost did. Sure our defence got caught out but they are a new unit, our Brazilian fullback kept pushing up to far and we missed a couple of tackles. But where was the capitulation, so many have gone on about since the CC final last year. Who exactly gave up today, besides some disenchanted bloggers? Did you hear our away fans, they wont be blogging premature death notices. They will be at the Ems for our next three matches expecting our luck to turn and looking for a win. How good were some of those crosses we put in. Sod the Rose tinted glasses jibes, they don’t exist we are not that far away. TV and Jack plus the knowledge of playing together will put us back on track. They say that bad decisions even themselves out, well we have had more than our share thus far, so some poor bugger is going to suffer soon. Our next away game is the Spuds – don’t be surprised if the wrath of the football gods sends a traumatised Harry twitching and gibbering C.V. in hand to the England manager recruitment panel.
FGG Well said my friend. Also hurting doesn’t mean you have to let it show. Positives can be found in any circumstance if you have the moral fibre to stand up and face the world with a smile.
We can try and make sense of that game but it was a freak as far as I’m concerned. We had 69% possession, 16 shots on goal. Any other time we would probably have won. It’s just unfortunate that the result has come at a time when we needed it least, but that’s usually how these things work. If we had won our first 4 games and then this happened we would be laughing at it!!!! It was THAT ridiculous.
From Total Arsenal’s match report on Arsenal Arsenal
I still have full confidence in the quality of our squad and Wenger’s desire and ability to change this round. However, this will take time and there is nothing we can do but hope that we will get back to winning ways soon. Losing to Blackburn hurts badly, and it is highly likely that we will get hurt and embarrassed again in the next few months, but now is the time to stand by our club, players and manager to see this period of transition through: we will need to win this battle by battle, game by game. Next game is Shrewsbury, COYRRG!
Big Raddy says:
Talk of relegation is way off the mark. What happens this season, happens.
The team is in transition and I believe that AW is the man to see us through it. He has built 2 great teams already and this will be another.
Andrew Dicomites says:
Let’s back off the manager and the team and provide support to the Arsenal. If we fire the manager now, what are the options? Lets give our manager and the team one last chance to put things right. We owe Arsene Wenger this chance to use the lessons learnt with a newly formed team to address the obvious weaknesses. Good relationships, communication, understanding and structure do NOT happen overnight.
Rob Lucci says:
I expected this season will be a bumpy ride, and oh how it hurt my bump yesterday. But still, most of us enjoyed the first half performance, and it’s the defensive mid who orchestrated both of the goals ffs. What can be more exiting than that?
I believe this season will be just like the 2005/2006 seasons, when we lost Viera and scraped out to fourth place in the last day of the season. Hopefully our run in Champions League this season will be as good as that season’s. There always a way to be optimistic if you want to.
Nice post Total, It’s good to read a sensible take on what happened. It’s easy to forget that it was absolutely lashing it down throughout the game and two of the goals were simply mistakes where a greasy ball just bounced off our guys and into the net. If Gerv had passed to RVP to make it 3-1 it would’ve been game over and we would all be praising the boys instead of running them down. Yesterday was a fluke result pure and simple. In the bigger picture we are in transition, its fair to say that we as a club AND MANAGER have had to make-do with average players for far too long, we now have some new players as well as some promising youngsters plus a world class ‘keeper at last. It will take time but we are I feel on the way back to where we should be.
Super post Total,
Self flagellation has long been the favourite form of punishment for large numbers of Arsenal Fans, So why should we expect it to change in today’s world where instant gratification is also the expectation of so many. Hence the constant barrage of negativity unleashed on the club’
My view; an exciting year lies ahead, as TV and Jack return and our players come to terms with each other.
Enjoy your disenchantment with AW and the board guys, it may well be that as the economy continues to go pear shaped you will have much to thank them for.
Time will tell
I know I am perpetually positive, but we have some great players who can really take us places. It’s still not too late to start getting some good results and restoring the confidence. For me, it’s heart-breaking to see so much negativity about the club I love. In my opinion Arsenal have the ability to be up there with the best teams in the world, Lady Luck wasn’t kind to us yesterday, but we have the personnel to be a great side again. Come on you Gooners!!
This season will be hard, but this new side can’t be judged on the basis of one game. Yes, the defence was appalling in that second half, but it was also excellent against Dortmund a few days earlier. The creative side of our game has lifted with the new signings. Although I’m still worried about our striking options, my real concern is the squad’s psychology. But with a lot of hard work, and just a smidgeon of patience from the fans (ha ha, like that’s going to happen!), this is a side that can compete with a Spurs side that loses 5-1 at home and a Liverpool side that loses 4-0, and maybe even a City side that can’t beat Fulham and a Chelsea side that hasn’t looked too convincing this season.
I cant be doing with some of this wenger bashing, I am retiring from Blogging……..the hindsight brigade drain me……….Yes we have issues, it ain’t perfect, let’s get behind the team and the BOSS and give it till Xmas before we staring writing eulogies…
Fellow AA-ers – including those whose comments I did not have room for here, I salute you.