Fight Club

My apologies for the delay in this weeks’ blog post. Between the first week back at work coupled with the imminent arrival of a child into my wife and I’s lives. Our house is currently looks like a Mothercare lite, which is why there’s been a delay this week.

After a nervy win over the weekend followed by a few results that helped us and a few that didn’t, left us 2 points clear at the top of the league. It was a win whilst not playing so well and I’ll whole heartedly take that from time to time but our squad is seemingly running on empty, which means that the FA Cup tie vs Sunderland has actually come at a good time. The fact it’s a home game gives us an opportunity to rotate a big part of the squad, as Sunderland are reportedly looking to do the same, and in addition it also gives us a chance to get some minutes under the belt of Alexis Sanchez. It’s a good chance for him to get at least an hour of game time along with the likes of Calum Chambers, David Ospina, Kieran Gibbs and the like to also get involved. We need to give the likes of Mesut Ozil, Olivier Giroud, Theo Walcott, the back four, Aaron Ramsey and even Joel Campbell a rest. They’ve been working their socks off and are in serious need of some r&r before big games away to Liverpool and Stoke. It seems a bad idea to play Alexis in the cup followed by two grueling away games, but the man needs minutes to get back to his best so it may be a bit risky but seems the only way we can inject some life back into a tiring squad. It looks rosy for now but there’s a lot of work to be done, something that could be helped with a couple of the right signings (cough cough*). Elneny looks close, however I saw a tweet from Sporting Witness that put all transfer activity brilliantly stating that people plan for the window all month long and get a deal in place only for it to drag and drag well into the window forever promising to learn from their mistakes. It’s a familiar story with us and transfers but I sure hope we get this one over the line before Sunderland as that will also give an opportunity for minutes to the new man in, there’s nothing like game time to get you up to speed with the way we play. There are also whispers of a bid for Aubameyang, however I’m not getting the slightest bit excited for this one. Benzema burned me and I’m loathe to get so heavily emotionally invested in another transfer saga. Whatever will be will be.

All that considered I want to discuss the back and forth between fan groups this week. It’s something we do love when things are going well, something we loathe when things aren’t but sometimes the indoctrination of something really does fascinate when considering the actual meaning it carries, the relevance to ones life it actually has. What struck me this week is coming across a fair few Man Utd and Chelsea fans this week directing swathes of abuse toward Arsenal’s position at the very top. Statements pertaining to: “this won’t last”, “what is all this negative football!?” “the latte firm think they have won the league already!” and one Chelsea fan even fathomed to say “if Arsenal win the league it will degrade the value of the competition itself”. I mean who are these people? The success or failure of others determining their actual happiness is bordering on insane. I get that it’s fun to see your rivals fail while you succeed but let’s take into consideration of the state of the aforementioned clubs. We have Utd who are struggling for an identity and who seem to be in a state of flux and who are waiting for the right manager to come in. LVG doesn’t seem to be that man, the fans know it, he knows it and the players themselves seem to have realised it. There is an overhaul required and they are a club big enough to go and do that. Yet their fans can’t quite let go of the Keane vs Vieria days, the Wenger v Ferguson days. It’s not as it once was. I can see the complex that these fans have, however they seem to not quite understand the size of clubs across the globe. Man Utd are a global brand who are one of the biggest in existence so far as football clubs go. Only Real Madrid and Barcelona can boast a larger revenue globally. Fans seem to think that we are all on a level playing field. We are most definitely not, and that’s no one clubs fault it’s just the way it is. Of the top 10 richest football clubs there are a couple in the list who are there because of their ownership, namely Chelsea and Man City, which covers a big part of their net worth. The remaining list comprises of teams that have, largely, built their brand over the course of time with growing their fan base. It’s clear to see, when a team wins something, the difference between fans in terms of turnout for things like an end of season trophy parade. I believe the two years we won the FA Cup we’ve had around or above 250,000 fans turn up to celebrate, more when we won the league back in 2004. United had even more than those figures for their last trophy win in 2013 simply because they are a larger club. Then you look at Chelsea who had around 60,000 for when they won the Champions League. Arguably the biggest trophy going. It’s again nothing to do with ‘the best club’ it’s simply to do with the clubs’ size. Yet I constantly hear things like we don’t make the signings we should or that we aren’t in the same league as United as well as the fact that Wenger will never win trophies again. The last statement has swiftly changed to “you’ll never win the league again under Wenger”. Undoubtably that will change to the Champions League if we somehow manage to win the league this season. Hindsight is so often and lazily confused with foresight.

Statements such as “latte firm” and “degrading the value of the league” from Chelsea fans is beyond ridiculous for two reasons. The words pot, kettle and black come to mind. Affluence is far more affiliated with the area of Chelsea than North London but that’s none of my business unless of course it’s the money rolling through the club that has a larger influence on attracting fans from all over the UK. Oh wait…

That brings me to the next more laughable point – “if Arsenal win it the competition will be degraded”. Nothing at all is required to refute such a statement, the funny thing is that there are people out there that genuinely believe this. I’ve talked many times about the standard of the league dropping over the last 6 years or so and that’s not reflective of any one club. It’s the whole league. Once again it’s proven that social media, a platform for both good and bad, has provided a platform for morons en mass to invade our lives. It’s not to say there are any clubs who lack these people, you only have to look so far as the ‘Mertesacker dance’ to feel genuinely sick but it’s a testament to the times we live in. Social media is dead, long live social media!

We’ve got a big 2 weeks coming up, safe passage through to the next round of the cup and 7 points would be brilliant, although you know we never do things the simple way.

Have a great week folks.

Follow me on Twitter @MiteshLakhani1.

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