*a 5 minute read*
When you support Arsenal football club, you handle everything in your life a little differently. You handle heartbreak like it’s your regular morning coffee. You handle setbacks like drinking water every day. And you handle letting your best players leave the club and getting minimal to nothing in return, like a morning shower. These simple regular occurrences mentioned above, don’t faze people like us. We generate a neutral response because of what we have experienced over the years. There is no reason to be shocked, devastated, or act out when things don’t go our way because we are simply – just used to this.
It wasn’t always this way though. We had our time of glory, fame & “Wengerball” where we all drew closer to the TV to marvel at the beauty of attacking and possession football we played with. A typical outcry you would hear is “what a finish by Thierry Henry!” bringing a smile and tear across all of our eyes.
The club’s history is illustrious, our former stadium Highbury (which we played at for 93 years) was one of the greatest places to play football in the world and we established a style of football that was enjoyable and entertaining to watch by many. We moved to a new stadium in 2006, hoping to continue our tradition of winning trophies and attracting the best players around the world to come and play for the Gunners. We can say the progress since then has been… rather stale.
Let’s be honest. Some of the lineups were beyond shocking (check the photo below), players brought into the club were levels below Arsenal quality and we had far too many players that were played out of position. Arshavin, Podolski, even bloody Mesut Ozil are just a few examples of players who were played in a position that did not fit our system to the best of its ability.
You bought the players because of what they can produce in their natural positions. Why are you forcing a pure attacking midfielder to convert into a winger? The questions never got answered and the results showed it. We became crap and signing Yaya Sanogo was the biggest slap in the face Wenger has done to us. We deserved better and P.S Theo Walcott should have been a striker from the beginning (don’t @ me)… you know he was wasted on the wing.
One of the greatest managers ever, Arsene Wenger, helped create a legacy that all football fans will be grateful for. Changing the view of football entirely, realizing how to make absolutely shocking players such as Marouane Chamakh and Andre Santos work within a system, and making the top four qualification spot consistently every year was a testament to his greatness. But as time grew on, it wasn’t good enough. Everyone knew we were severely lacking in quality and the backbone of our team was fading away like Inestia’s hairline.
The signings of Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez, Santi Carzola, Alexandre Lacazette, and Pierre Emmerick Aubameyang were designed to change the club for the better. The big boy names who were here to take us back to the glory days such as the invincibles premier league season or back to the days where teams feared playing against Arsenal Football Club. All the players mentioned have played their part in the renaissance of Arsenal and we appreciate the contributions they have made in pushing the club forward (Laca is on thin ice though).
But a man who goes by the name of “good ebening” took us 10 steps back with nothing to show for it but a failed Europa league final and further banter from all social media apps everywhere.
The False Prophet
Unai Emery had me convinced. He’s got the look of a mobster. He’s a man who has tasted success at respectable clubs (PSG & Sevilla). The signing seemed like the perfect fit. I truly believed he was the guy who was going to take us back into the promised land of trophies and clowning Spurs fans all over again (you Spurs fan still suck though, that will never change). Winning the Europa League three years in a row, you would think he knew exactly what he was doing as a manager. But no, we were lied to, and we sunk further down into the sunken place with almost no chance of returning.
We were messy (not the good kind like Lionel) with no real structure to our team. We were completely unorganized. The coaching was questionable with constant lineup changes, playing players out of position, and a lack of cojones (word of the day, look it up you will laugh) from our overall team. I do have to admit there were some bright moments, such as going 22 games unbeaten and signing Kieran Tierney & Nico Pepe (highly influential players).
But we still didn’t have our Arsenal back and although it was going to take time, Good ebening was not the answer we all had hoped for. Thankfully, the false prophet Unai was sacked after one season at the club. And we moved on to find the one who can drag us out of the sunken place and into a somewhat respectable stature for the times.
The Chosen One
Enter Mikel Arteta. My namesake. My brother in Arsenal blood. Coming to save our club from the ashes of mediocrity and shameful banter from social media and barbershops everywhere. With minimal time to shift things up, a squad with bright and prosperous youngsters (Saka, Nketiah, Martinelli), overpaid “once upon a time players” (Mkhitaryan and Ozil, I love you Ozil but your time is up) and our savior with the number 14 on his back (Monsieur Pierre), Arteta is taking us into the right direction.
Somehow, someway, Mikel has reintroduced the Arsenal way back into the club. From the way we play on the pitch, to the way we handle egos from the players (Guendouzi, fix up) and our bounce-back mentality of never giving up, Arsenal is rejuvenated once again. You can see the difference. You can feel the difference. And slowly (extremely slow, like I am talking turtle speed), we are moving towards a respectable position in world football.
Don’t get me wrong. We are still awful. I have acknowledged that we will suck for at least a few more years. I know Arsenal have a lot of work to do. The deadweight at the club needs to go (Mikhi, Ozil), we need to establish how we want to utilize our youngsters (do we keep Smith-Rowe? Guendouzi?) and we need to bring in some heavy hitters to make our squad much stronger and powerful (examples include Partey, Sarr, Upamecano).
We also have to play better against smaller teams and stop playing down to our opponents, because losing to teams such as Brighton and Aston Villa? Unacceptable behaviour. This can’t continue if you want to save our team from looking like a global meme and attracting stars to play for the badge.
The funds and wage situations is a discussion for another day, but the groundwork is building at a rate that is acceptable right now for Arsenal. The players look refreshed, the system is working accordingly and the club is moving in the right direction. All thanks to Mikel Arteta, our former captain who has come back to start our new journey into the promised land. We will standby for a hopeful FA Cup final win against Chelsea to complete this mockery of a season.
More On The Way
What did you think of the diary entry? This will be a regular feature on the blog as Arsenal hold a special place in my heart. You can expect some banter, throwbacks and comparisons with players, serious takes on the club, and suggestions on how we can win the league in 10 years. Thanks for reading, share with a friend, and answer the question below!
What are you most excited about for the future of Arsenal Football Club?