You see this guy on the right?
I was like him on sunday. The only addition was that I had a peg of Jack Daniels beside me…
Every Arsenal fan has an expectation bar related to the club. If you consider the last few years, the season’s have been quite heart-wrenching. I personally know 2 of my friends who are fellow Gooners who take annual pledges (may start from October or even December) not to watch Arsenal games for a given time period, and post that “having the option” to watch them based on how the team is performing. They don’t do this because they are plastic fans. These guys have been supporting Arsenal for well over a decade, but sometimes it’s more important to look out for yourself over giving a shit about what the world thinks…
In the financial world, we use a term called “hedging” (it’s basically protecting your money from any financial harm) – well, in football and especially relevant to this context that is what Arsenal fans do. They hedge, by staying clear – against the heartbreak, the frustration, the repetitiveness, by moving themselves out of the equation.
A perfectly acceptable coping mechanism.
You will notice that I have not used the words “disappointment” while describing the typical Gooners sentiment to Arsenal. That is because it’s absolutely fine to be disappointed or embarrassed by a performance. This is football and its quite probable that if you face a world-class team, you can get thrashed OR you could be tactically outclassed or even wrongfully set up to ship in goals.
But there is a fine difference between getting disappointed and getting frustrated. The latter is toxic because it implies that the reason to get frustrated has occurred more than once over a given period of time.
Most Arsenal fans are frustrated since we have expectations at the club. For eg. 2 years ago when Leicester won the league, we expected Arsenal to challenge and win the league.
Did we come close to having our expectation fulfilled?
No. We finished 10 points of Leicester at 71 and 1 point ahead of Spurs.
Is it wrong to expect from your team ? Especially when you have a team that is worth in terms of transfer fees 335 million pounds (approximately) – I don’t think so.
As this season progresses, I cannot help but get a feeling that we have a long way to go ahead. We are in 4 competitions this year. But we are actually challenging for 2 and hoping for a top 4 finish. Thus, I have set up my expectations for Arsenal from the 2017-18 season.
The old me would say :
Win the premier league | Win the Europa League | Win the FA Cup.
But now, it’s slightly different. For starters, I am not drunk. Hence, my revised expectations are:
Top 4 finish | Europa League – semi-final | Win the FA Cup
We have the Europa League, we have the premier league and we have the FA Cup. 3 competitions we are focusing and fighting for – The premier league has 38 games, add to that 14 in the Europa League (if we reach the final) and another 6 games or so in the FA Cup. That’s about 58 games. I have not included the Carabao Cup because I don’t even consider it as a cup, but if you do, it’s safe to add another 5 games.
We are not secure defensively and we have not found our goal scoring form yet. Our last game vs Watford was a superb spectacle of my point above. Tak about holding it together for a bit and free-falling like a pack of cards. After Deeney put his spot-kick away one couldn’t help but feel Tom Petty’s free-falling playing in the background as this pathetic team sang to its tune. There are the 2 Manchester clubs which are looking better and better as each game progresses and the more time we lose in finding our rhythm the more likely we are to fall behind.
There are the 2 Manchester clubs which are looking better and better as each game progresses and the more time we lose in finding our rhythm the more likely we are to fall behind. United have conceded 2 goals in their first 8 games and City just shipped 7 past Stoke. Arsenal, on the other hand, can’t seem to get a grip on things.
A few weeks back we came off a world-class performance at Stamford Bridge and then Doncaster did an “Arsenal” on us as we struggled to ship in goals in a match where your first scoreline to bet would be 3-0 to the home side. Then we win a few games against sides which are playing shit themselves (no offence, we still needed to get the job done) – but these teams did not challenge Arsenal at all – West Brom, BATE and Brighton. 2 weeks later, we lose again.
It really is difficult for someone to assess how Arsenal is going to fare this season. But certain things are very clear – players are on the edge. There is no leader on the field that can communicate to these players to close the game, the manager is what he is and when shit hits the fan the players play like headless chickens i.e we have no clue how to react to adversity.
A true mark of champions.
Before I finish this post, I just want to add what Wenger said after the Watford game :
‘Everybody’s shocked in the dressing room,’
no Shit Sherlock…
Add the word “world” instead of “dressing room” to that sentence and you would still be right…