Guest Post: The Good Ol’ Days

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Another post from Alex Anderson this morning….

Not that long ago you could look at the list of upcoming fixtures and make a reasonably accurate prediction about how many points Arsenal would pick up. Identifying potential trouble spots was equally simple. Bolton away was always going to be difficult. Manchester United, Liverpool and Spurs would usually set the heart to racing a bit as all had the potential to unsettle the nerves. The rest…the rest were usually just three points waiting to be picked up – injuries or the odd underperformance notwithstanding. Indeed, when the likes of Arsenal or Man United came to town several managers trotted out their second string, preferring to rest their best players for the following week’s relegation fight against FC-WE-ALSO-SUCK.

The old adage about any team being able to beat any other team on any given day was only true until you got the betting parlour. Once through the doors at the odds maker’s the better team was always going to pick up the points and usually could be counted on to do so.

Don’t you miss those days?

To say that this is no longer the case is the height of understatement.

What’s even worse: FC-WE-USED-TO-SUCK hasn’t become more competitive with the likes of Arsenal by kicking lumps out of them and parking the bus the way Fat Sam likes to do. They are playing football! Football has become flush with TV money, money that now reaches throughout the division making it possible for Swansea, Norwich and QPR to bring in quality talent from overseas. Michu can actually play the game and he’s being allowed to by his manager!

This is the evolution of the EPL.

It wasn’t really that long ago that Arsenal were so different from the usual EPL fare that pundits had to go to Catalonia to find something comparable. Arsenal and Barca shared a football philosophy based on possession, a sophisticated ground game and skill. While such comparisons drew derision from some observers who claimed the Gunners would never be the equal of the Catalans. In reality the comparison was less about Arsenal and Barcelona than it was about Arsenal and the rest of teams in the Premiership, most of which played a more industrial brand of football. While the Gunners enjoyed possession, accurate passes and guile the rest doggedly parked the team bus across the face of goal and kicked lumps out of Titi and Dennis while going Route One every chance they got.

That was The Wenger Revolution. Class and guile rather than up and unders and what the rest of the world calls English style football in mocking tones.

Today a lot more teams are trying to play Wengerball, not the least of which is Laudrup’s Swansea.

One wouldn’t have thought that such parity stretched as far down the leagues as Bradford, and it doesn’t. Bradford will be thanking the Football Gods for their League Cup shoot out result. Before the game they said they were hoping for penalties and they got their. Their keeper, Duke was brilliant, he got help from the frame of the goal and a lot more help from dubious play from certain Gunners. Ninety-nine times out of 100 the Gunners beat them by five goals. Sadly, the one that counted knocked Arsenal out of a cup.

Time now to turn towards what’s coming next. Five critical games in the Premiership loom over the festive season. We have Reading and Wigan away, followed by Fat Sam’s Hammers and Newcastle at Emirates and Southampton away before we break for the FA Cup and Swansea in Wales.

Once upon a time we would have looked at this fixture list, shrugged and been very confident of winning four of them. The only concern would have been the Hammers because Sam has always seemed to know how to get a result from Arsenal. We would tune in, or arrive at the stadium, and comfortably sit back while the lads won 3-0. For 49 games we were invincible! No one could touch us.

Now it seems that every game is approached with trepidation. There are no sure things. Parity in the EPL is a reality. That’s not to say that cream won’t rise. Some teams have a lot of expensive cream and the Gunners have their share – they really do, despite recent form and results. But they are underperforming, making that parity even more prevalent through their own problems (I refuse to say “through their own ineptitude” even though I really want to in the wake of the Bradford game.)

One may hope that they break out of the funk they are in soon. Five games loom over the holidays from which the Gunners really need at least 12 points, if not all 15. Once upon a time we would have looked at the schedule and thanked the league for what looks like an easy holiday period. But then, those were the good old days.

Laters.

436 thoughts on “Guest Post: The Good Ol’ Days

  1. I met wrighty once, when I was a junior gunner and my mate was a mascot. Top bloke had all the time in the world.

  2. George @ 7:22

    True

    What happened that season in 10/11 still bugs me more then it should. I was frustrated with the whole defense thing before but the way we finished that season and the summer that followed is when I decided the whole culture in our club had gone wrong.

  3. Duke ,Legend was not what I called him And not what he was upset about .
    I am glad he is passed at me .He is a cock.

  4. I will still never forget that match against Man City at home that year Bill. It ended as a 0-0 draw, but we so thoroughly outplayed them, and some of the passing and movement was insane. I know I shouldn’t necessarily reminisce about a draw, but to me it was memorable.

    Here’s to hoping Arteta, Santi, Jack and the rest of the boys can replicate that kind of beautiful football again.

  5. Is bendtner not at Inter?Meaning if they buy Huntelaar they dont only get the player we want, they also make us take back Bendtner hehe… thats great buiness for them and horrid for us..lol

  6. Vice

    I remember that match too. City was truly scared of us. That match could have brought real confidence but the result just was another in a series of frustrations. Hopefully the performances can be replicated but not that result.

    Everything about the last 1/2 of that season was a nightmare IMO. The players totally choked. They needed our management to make some real positive statements that following summer to take away the focus from what had happened. Oh well.

  7. also i dont get how we can sell Arsharvin, Chamakh,Theo, Squillachi, Johan Djorou and all the rest of our so called “deadwood” without replacing them with better players.

    Ok they are deadwood but atlest they are there and can step in if others gets injured ore are out for a while.
    They need to be replaced by better players, if not we might aswell keep them.
    No point swapping chamakh and squillachi for a new chamakh and squillachi…
    No point imo swapping Theo with Nani. Theo can be more infuential for us this season imo. the salary will be around the same or more for nani.

    I think that will be the most important thing that happens. not selling them but actually replacing them with somehting that FITS US better.

    PL is survival of the fittest and then i dont mean the strongest and leanest, but the ones that can adapt best and slot in best in our system.
    they got to make arsenal tic, simple as…

  8. Good luck signing a better player than Arshavin Poodle
    Duke,Its banter,or so you say.

  9. George, serious question….do you think you know more about football then Ian wright? You know what with it being his profession and him devoting his life to it and experiencing first hand dressing rooms,finals,team talks, etc etc… …

  10. Bendtner is at Juventus Poodle – he was carried off last night and the prediction is a 2-3 month lay off

    Huntelaar would be an interesting one – target man and sharp finisher

    Can’t hurt to have another weapon available

  11. No Duke ,but does he know more than Dennis and Henry?
    He is a bit thick ,they are smart .
    Still if you want the opinion of a think footballer to count then apparently your boy Theo has no football brain.Do you see how stupid your Ian Wright “knows” statement is now?
    Glad to help.

  12. Bit difficult to know whether footballers really do know much about the game when I listen to the drivel Lawrenson comes out with week in week out season after season

    Add in Shearer – Jamie Redknapp

    And of course the fountain of knowledge that is Merson

    Some know far more than I do or probably ever will – Souness – Neville – but not many

    In my opinion

  13. I’d say people like you George and Anicoll are more literate. More academic maybe. But how can one know more about one’s profession without having experienced said profession at a professional level.

  14. Duke I used to manage and coach two professional snooker players.
    They could both easily beat me .Yet they were both thick as two short planks ,and had no idea why they could play and could certainly not teach someone else.
    Ian Wright could play,but I suspect he had no idea why.

  15. I don’t know of any other serious Arsenal blog where the main topic of discourse is just to put someone else’s opinion down.

  16. Fair point Dukey but simply because a person performs their occupation/ profession does not invariably mean they are interested in it or make much effort to find out about it beyond their own track that allows them to do their job.

    I am not wildly interested in my occupation – do you know a lot of people who are ? I am quite good at it however (ahem)

    If some fool at a TV station in years to come asked me to be a pundit in years to come I hope I would take the Neville approach

  17. No. The tone here has been off for some time. Nothing to do with the current ‘argument’ about ‘faith’.

    There are posters here who like the put down more than the debate.

    Abuse has been currency here for as long as I have been posting. It has been tolerated and even respected. I’ve been part of it, maybe it had it’s time. Past it’s sell by date now.

    Yes, Ateeb is the obvious target. Easy, isn’t he? Think about others who have been as abusive, as so damning of others.

    Who would tolerate that in their own lives at home, in the pub or with friends?

    Goodnight.

  18. ZimPaul – tremendous comments today Bud, thanks for sharing those thoughts and sentiments.

    And Bob, interesting and thoughtful as ever.

  19. People only need to look at Alan Shearer to know that just because you played football at the top level it doesn’t necessarily mean you know anything or have any insight.

  20. Just popped in and read most but not all of the comments. I think Bob is right, the offhand way some posters are abusing each other and fellow poster simply stating their opinion (the whole reason for the blog comment section in the first place) has gotten out of hand. Banter is and hopefully always will be a part of football. But in recent times on ACLF it has taken on a life of its own. YW himself has issued numerous warnings and several posters have been summarily banned for continuing to abuse others. However I think a fair few, because of their longevity on the blog, have and are getting away with it on a regular basis. We are all Arsenal fans here, some for many many years, some more recent. But a fan is a fan, no matter where they are or how long they have been supporting for.

    Several posters of note have stopped posting because the ‘banter’ started to get more personal and abusive. It is a real shame as their input is greatly missed in my opinion. Times may not be exactly glorious for The Arsenal and the supporters alike but I think it may be time to take a breather and try and curtail the harsher elements of our banter.

    Just my opinion. Now off to the bar for some ciders and some *ahem* banter 🙂

  21. I am not sure about Huntelaar. We have Podolski and Giroud who are good target men. Upfront we need someone with good ball skills. More importantly we need a midfielder like Diaby.

  22. Its interesting that a number of former players have been critical of Wenger including, Merson, Wright, Dixon, Petit, Winterburn, Adams, Parlor, Bergkamp, Viera etc.. often most of their comments are not personal, they all want Arsenal to do well again. They are probably hurting more than most of us!

  23. I’ve enjoyed commenting these last few days, missed it actually, although it’s impossibly busy here. But I commented only because I was getting upset by this tidal wave of negation of what Arsenal had achieved, despite the evident failures. It feeds itself.

    Here’s one for record books. I almost agree with Bill’s sentiments (in response to mine), and in certain ways, ahem, Ateeb. I take the point anyway. Always agreed with CBob even when disagreeing, because of chairman’s honesty.

    Thing is, look at it as a wonderfully adventurous human drama. The stuff of fiction, only far, far richer. Here’s the premise, a visionary and courageous man whom many a brute detested (for his Frenchyness of all things) engineered an extraordinary era of technical progress in this historic club; his actual ambitions reached further than his football pundit critics could even imagine, and he shook the stodgy side of English football to its roots for a time. But despite being a shrewd judge of player, he was not after all a great football tactician, was he?

    He had advantage in the early period being so far ahead of his peers then; but clubs and managers in this high pressure cauldron learn fast, they caught up with the gist of it. The playing field began to level, and dear Wenger was caught flat-footed by the extraordinary speed and amounts fat-cat clubs were prepared to invest. And so we began to haemorage our top players. Cesc, Nasri, Song, then RvP; what club could lose that quality in quick succession and instantly recover with Jack and Diaby both injured? Hell, he has tried. And as usual we have a fine crop of players, but we are a player, or two, short.

    It strikes me as kind of poignant, and true, that the visonary was not, himself, a great field tactician. Good, but not great. As Bill says he was too often unable to adapt the tactics to the situation.

  24. This is the last comment being posted on this thread today. The comment section will be re-opened with today’s post.

    WARNING:

    Frankly, I am disgusted by the posts which happened whilst I am away. Those bleating about being abused are frequently the abusers. I am not interested in who started it, I know who is responsible. Repeatedly I have seen people – that’s plural – who abuse on here being respectful elsewhere

    This is the warning. You will behave or you will be summarily banned with no recourse to appeal. Once you are gone, you will be gone. Permanently. You may find another way round but I will find you and ban you once more.

    No further warnings will be issued.

    Today’s post can be found at:

    http://www.aclfarsenal.co.uk/?p=10203

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