Arsenal: The fans are caught between hope and fear
On reading the opinion of numerous fans after the Chelsea game, I realise most Gooners are caught between hope and fear. Hope that this team is more of a unit than it was in the past years and fear that familiar shortcomings (defence and finishing) haven’t yet been properly addressed and will haunt the club.
It is a strange situation for any fan because with every game views seem to get more polarized. Results become the only scrutinising factor and the game is brushed aside. In case of a win, Arsenal become title contenders, otherwise it is all doom and gloom. It is like black and white with very little scope of grey.
Since the start of the summer, early signings of Podolski, Giroud and Cazrola brought a sense of euphoria that these additions will propel the team to silverware. But the equally quick departures of RVP and Song got the elated mood deflated. Many felt that it was back to square one and the team had lost serious quality without proper replacements.
There is no denying that replacing RVP, who came to the fore after a strong season, would hamper the attacking abilities of the team, but also losing a first team regular like Song would weaken the team’s battling qualities in the middle of the park.
The start of the season with two consecutive nil-nil draws didn’t do any favour in changing the perception. The jury was out as to whether Wenger and the club management had done enough to compensate for the loss of two seasoned campaigners. Some reasoned the team had a fresh feel to it and also had more experience while others feared the loss of RVP will eventually tell and will be the bane come business end of the season.
However, as we know, the deserved win over Liverpool at Anfield quickly changed the sombre mood and lifted the spirits of the faithful. Then two good performances against Southampton and Manchester City allowed the optimists to claim aloud their views that the team was truly more competitive this year.
Alas no sooner had the bragging become loud, Chelsea came to the Emirates and ground out a lucky win leaving every Gooner disappointed. The naysayers became vocal, blogs pointed out the fault lines leaving even the optimistic weary.
On the merit of the game, I felt at least a draw with Chelsea would have been a fairer outcome but football matches are played over 90 minutes and many factors (both external and internal) determine the result. Some go in favour and some the other way around. Some times the team plays good football only to come out empty handed whereas in other cases the quality of play doesn’t truly reflect the points gained.
Since the season is still early, I remain optimistic. Having seen the performances to date, I think, there is enough strength in the squad to compete and do well in the league and cups. There will be many more challenges ahead and some games will be lost. It will be the same for other big teams as well. So let us Gooners keep the faith and hope that the fat lady remains firmly with us through the season.
I believe there will be opportunities for Arsenal to secure some silverware and pray that happens not just for our style of play but also for the philosophy of building teams while remaining within financial means.
Like many die hard supporters, I would like Wenger to be vindicated for his pragmatic stand and prove his doubters, particularly in the media, wrong. Football teams are made of individuals but operate as collective. So while money is an important factor, it is not a guarantee for success.
So Gooners, for once, step clear of fear and be hopeful. It can be our season.
Calling all Arsenal fans: Do you share Shub's optimism or do you think this will be another season of what might have beens? Whatever your views, we'd love to hear from you.
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