A week is a long time in football…dont Arsenal fans know it
The return of another cliché but one that is certainly valid. What a difference a week makes. Arsenal’s victory over Tottenham at the weekend was needed more than ever and serves to appease Arsene Wenger’s judgement in the media that his Gunners side remain ‘alive’ amidst questions of their long-term staying power over the course of a campaign.
Rose tinted spectacles are all the range again for the red half of North London as bragging rights were secured on Sunday; Harry Redknapp admitted Spurs might be looking over their shoulder, Lukas Podolski reportedly ‘agreed’ a move to the club and Robin Van Persie came through unscathed against England at Wembley.
All hunky dory, no? As we all know, a week is a long time in football, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that with a win, breeds new confidence, not only in the fan base but in the squad of personnel and managerial team itself. We examine, was it ever as bad as first feared at Arsenal in recent months? Are things not that bad after all?
Indeed, Arsenal always appear to be that one game away from oblivion. At 2-0 down to Tottenham and indeed to arch-nemesis Emmanuel Adebayor in particularly, all Gunners fans wondered just when their nightmare was exactly going to end. Thankfully for all connected on Sunday, their players dug deep and produced one of the most stunning comebacks in recent Premier League history.
What was most frustrating for the watching football world was that the performance echoed the Gunners of old with slick passing, deadly accuracy in the finishing and swift link up play between the midfield and forward ranks. Something, which has been far too rare this season, failing the one-man exploits of one Dutch striker. It led everyone to question, just why can’t Arsenal produce such a performance on a regular basis and when it mattered in the recent games with Milan and Sunderland.
It was almost the fact that Arsenal daren’t lose to their biggest rivals but it was okay to go through the motions against previous opposition. Whilst we would be foolish to surmise players don’t go out and give their all in every game (do they?), Arsenal reminded us all that they aren’t quite ‘has been’s’ just yet and haven’t subscribed to the countless editorials and cuttings writing them off for good.
But to look through the eyes of an optimist, following the announcement of a £49.5 million profit recently, Arsenal have indeed navigated the recent months with some relative success.
Still well in the hunt for fourth place and Champions League qualification next term and likely to be without the prospect of balancing two games a week, the Gunners possess a more realistic shot than their rivals at going all out to secure a European berth for the remainder of the campaign.
But in reality, Arsenal personify the most frustrating of teams to support as whilst responsible ownership and careful strategic guidance represent stability at the club in the eyes of a businessman, the clubs former on-field glories mean the club and its expectant supporters will always maintain their stance that winning trophies must be paramount in terms of what can be deemed true success.
Whilst a number of Arsenal fans may be content with finishing fourth this season under a squad described by some as the worst during Wenger’s tenure, the majority of Arsenal fans see the excruciating defeats to Milan and Sunderland as the root to the clubs underachievement, in that the club still isn’t mature and mentally strong enough to deliver consistently when it matters.
But with reports this week claiming Lukas Podolski could be the first big name to arrive in North London this summer, Arsenal fans are enjoying one of the more happier, if not happiest seven-day periods of the season thus far. Gunners fans will just hope that the possible arrival of the prolific German striker isn’t a direct replacement for Van Persie who himself is still willing to listen to the clubs latest contract offer.
But what is sure is that Arsenal have turned a corner in terms of belief. They can produce the much-celebrated football that they have been capable of for a number of years and can give us some reason to justify that things aren’t as bad at the club after all.
Would Arsenal fans be naïve to think they have turned the corner just yet or is there some hope for the remainder of the season? Follow me @ http://twitter.com/Taylor_Will1989