There’s only one place to start really, Leicester City. What an incredible achievement and what a lovely way for it to happen. Two teams that aren’t our favourites let’s be honest, went toe to toe, drew the game and fouled the shit out of each other. There were handbags, fisty cuffs and Sp*rs visibly losing the plot. No better way really as far as we’re concerned. A Chelsea winner would have topped it and given us a sniff at 2nd, which I think might be beyond our reach now. I’m not sure how Sp*rs will react in their next home game, beating us to 2nd will be a motivator but dejection and a flatter atmosphere are likely, so there’s no telling which way it could go. A lot to play for still but it’s just unbelievable to say this; Leicester are Champions of England. Well done to them, in a moment where a lot of teams will be feeling that this ‘should be us’ we have to face the scant fact that, it’s not. It’s them. It’s their moment and good luck to them in the Champions League next year. What a fantastic achievement.
As far as Arsenal are concerned it’s not quite as exciting as a title challenge, but more of a damp squib in the ‘protests’ that took place on Saturday. Watching on Sky Sports I was curious to see how the media would build up to it and it seemed to be quite hilarious. There weren’t sure what the 12th minute was and considered both the 12th and 13th minute to be the 12th minute. The fans protesting did the same thing. Some had no idea and spanning around the ground there was a distinct age of protestor. Not to say they were all young hoodlums by any stretch but I didn’t see too many, let’s call them adults, with the banners. That was the first thing I noticed. The second thing, which has been evident for a long time now, is that no matter what your stance is on wanting ‘change’ there were only a handful of people that took part in the banner raising. The Twittersphere is in no way representative of the entire fan base and thank the sweet Lord for that as there are some monumental dick heads that exist behind a keyboard alone. The interesting thing on this front was how certain media ‘moguls’ made it out. Stan Collymore professed to say that “lots of Arsenal fans protest against Wenger” followed by a tweet saying “One Arsene Wenger now pipes up from a section”. Now is be remiss to simply refute that because I don’t agree with what I could see but rather than just doing that I’ll give you another example. Miguel Delaney, a journalist who has openly said that it is time for Wenger to go, was also at the game and said the protests fell flat on their face. “Less than 10% holding he banners” and “protest mostly booed” along with “most of the crowd singing Arsene we love you”. Two quite different opinions and on slightly more objective than the other. Unbelievably Wenger is right about the media having an agenda. Collymore clearly needs to fuel the call ins – absolutely no dignity in his messaging at all. Piers Morgan-esque. Even he chimed in with a picture looking to overtly display the need for change when really it was around 20 fans in a rather large section of thousands holding up the banners. What’s clear is that there is a large portion of the Twittesphere that exists only online and behind a keyboard that would hold up a crappy little bit of A4. The ones at the ground that might want change still had too much respect for the manager to hold up any banner and that’s the measure of our club. It’s always been about doing things the right way and the best form of protest was the fact that fans didn’t want to pay £50-60 to go and watch us play Norwich. Astronomical prices for the same year in year out is what has grated the fans and is why there have been so many empty seats over the last few weeks.
Plenty of opposition fans have jumped on this by saying we never fill our ground anyway and that they turn up every week regardless. That’s what Social Media has now created. A forum to easily castigate a team with little basis. Stamford Bridge was a fairly empty ground before the days of Roman, as was (and regularly still is!) the Etihad. There should be a signpost for fans like this really, BM (before money) and AM (after money). What I mean to say is that a lot of the opposition fans that lambast this, are in fact the keyboard warriors ad infinitum. They don’t quite know what it was like 10/15 years ago and it’s because of this that the Twittersphere has become a slanted view of reality. It’s in no way representative of the whole fan base and nor does it really matter in the grand scheme of things. The main thing to take from it all was that as frustrated as we all are not everyone on Twitter goes to games. The main thing this weekend was, for once, all of the results went our way. 3 points for us with Utd drawing, City losing and Sp*rs being held we actually took advantage by winning. Albeit only just. Our performance doesn’t need much analysis. We played ok and could have scored more. Equally we could have seen them nick a point or three if it weren’t for Petr Cech. Three points was the pre requisite and three points was achieved. Job done.
Next I want to talk about contracts. Now I don’t know what Joel Campbell has done to Arsene Wenger, but he must have pissed him off in some way. What does he have to do to get some game time? He’s not even getting in squads that have come in over the last few weeks and you have to think why? It’s got me wondering whether there are certain players *cough Walcott cough* who have it in their contracts that when fit they have to be in the squad and certain players who have no such conditions. The only reason I mention this is the way that Theo has negotiated his contracts the last couple of times has been completely about himself as a player rather than viewing his career path. It was only about him as a player rather than Arsenal as a team, now that is the way the majority of players think however their motives usually go hand in hand with the team. And this should have been something that was realised, however his development has been so stagnant that it hasn’t gone hand in hand. Joel Campbell has now become the fall guy for this (if true of course…I’m just trying to piece our very messy jigsaw of a season together).
This brings me to my next and final point, now this is full on conspiracy talk that I feel less confident on since hearing Danny Welbeck’s interview post Norwich. I thought or had a musing if you will, about whether the only reason that Giroud was playing ahead of a fully fit Welbeck was because he’s the most likely man to lead the line for France. Will the continued playing of him play him into some for for the Euros? Now I thought this as Welbeck had been fully fit in my head for a few weeks, however it was pretty much quashed when Welbeck said that he “was blowing after only playing 30 minutes” and that “he’s glad to be building up his fitness again”. That put paid to my ludicrous conspiracy theory of Wenger thinking “Vive Le France!” and that’s a really important point here. No matter what we think we know, we actually know nothing and can easily concoct the most absurd scenarios in our minds to justify the behaviour of the manager. People might say why doesn’t Wenger just say he’s not 100%? But then why would you give your opposition that information? Why would you give them ammunition to suggest that one big tackle might throw him off his game? All that has happened is that the player has been protected and protected well by the manager, and for that we can’t be angry. In hindsight of course. At the time it’s purely frustration but that’s because a lack of trust of the manager has grown. He’s got one season left and I hope he can get that trust back by brining home some silverware next season.
I know our season isn’t quite completely over yet but this really has been the weirdest season in my experience as a fan. Reminiscent of Blackburn Rovers to a degree but without all the investment. All I can muster is a massive congratulations to Leicester City. The only downside is the notion of having to see Gary Lineker in his underpants on MOTD next season.
3 points behind with 2 to play. Come on you Gunners!
Have a great week folks.
Follow me on Twitter @MiteshLakhani1.