Cruel Expectations..

They said they would start at 3:00 pm !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 besides 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…

Chelsea makes us optimistic..a tiny bit..

Chears

It was a cagey start as we kicked off that afternoon in Stamford Bridge.

You have two teams both playing the same formation, very strong in attack and light at the back intending to get at each others neck for 90 odd mins …what do you expect?

A classic school boy’s game indeed.

I have said before I am not a fan of the 3 man defense. I don’t think it’s a piece of cake and for a team to adopt it and implement it well would demand a very high level of structural discipline. But as 90 mins passed by yesterday, I felt for the first time in a long time, that there is a glimpse of discipline, at least defensively in this Arsenal side. 

I do not want to jinx our performance and the reason I write this is majorly due to Wenger forcing my hand to ‘expect the least’ from Arsenal – a measure I have adopted with open arms, in order to protect myself from getting frustrated.

In my preview regarding the key factor(s) in this game, I had cited :

The key, however, will be to defend strongly when Chelsea attack – be it counter-attack or normally. Kante will be hungry to nick the ball of any of our midfielders to start countering so nullifying him will help us immensely. Ozil needs to step up and maybe draw Kante out of his natural position in order to allow Ramsey & co better passage. Xhaka needs to be more aware and another lackluster performance by him can actually see him benched in the future. Players need to maintain their shape, even if they lose the ball. The Barcelona pressing system is something which won’t work very well against Chelsea becuase they prefer to distribute the ball and attack in numbers, so it’s better if we preserve our energy till it’s needed and not run the risk of losing our basic formational structure.

(Wow, I just quoted myself)

Chelsea did not have any response on Sunday. Sure, they had one real chance in the first half with Cech blocking Pedro, but apart from that, we did tame the champions at their own backyard. Are there areas where we could improve?

Definitely, but the performance we displayed could have won us this game if Lacazette had converted his chance because overall, we were the better team – something we have not been against Chelsea for a while (at least at Stamford Bridge, the Wembley victories are debatable)

The back 3 kept their shape and the entire midfield helped out. Xhaka had his periods of clumsiness and making me want to kill myself but apart from that, this was actually the first time Arsenal had a successful complete defensive formation since their win against City in 2015.

In the second half, we should have led but Lacazette missed a sitter. He did not have a good derby, the french-man. We know he can finish and he has a very clean technique of hitting the ball but today his head was someplace else.

Luiz was sent off in the 87th min as the referee showed him a direct red. In my opinion, I feel that the card was fair because Luiz’s attempt to get the ball back was pathetic as he lunged with his studs exposed on Kolasinac’s calf. Yes, Kolasinac was not injured but you can’t wait for players to have their legs snapped in order to lay some foundations with respect to reckless tackling. I will confess, as much as I love Arsenal I have always hated their ineptness in dealing with the top 6 of England.

I will confess, as much as I love Arsenal I have always hated their ineptness in dealing with the top 6 of England.

Sunday has given me some hope and optimism.

We may have not won but fans won’t be too sad. In fact, most Arsenal fans (myself included) did not think we would even get a point today, but not only did we get a point but also we almost beat Chelsea (the true wonder of expecting the least).

Its performances like these, are what I have missed at Arsenal. Until yesterday, I had very little hope that Arsenal would be better defensively – that we would finally be playing as a TEAM against our rivals and have a well-disciplined approach towards the game. Credit to Wenger for communicating this to the players on Sunday. It was a good response to the Liverpool debacle, a very good response indeed.

Can they perform like this consistently over 38 games, is something I hope to see but there is no doubt about the possibility or the potential they can reach if they play according to a game-plan and maintain team discipline.

I think I’ve said enough, expect us to lose at Doncaster this week…

Deadline day bullshit finally hits the fan…

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So deadline day came to an end…and we lost sold Chamberlain. The transfer makes perfect sense.

Arsenal cashing in on AOC for 40 million pounds, instead of letting him go for free. What’s interesting is the fact that Chamberlain chose Liverpool despite almost ending up in Chelsea – the same player who refused a 180,000 pounds/week contract at Arsenal settled for less at Liverpool (I think it was 125,000).

It just goes to show that a players morale, which is crucial for mental balance in professional football is significantly influenced by the position in which they feel the best suited to play/contribute from. It’s not that Chamberlain did not want to play wing back but frankly speaking, it was not his preferred position.

At Chelsea, he would be in a team which is a better Arsenal with the same style of play. At Liverpool, he hopes to be the next Gerrard.

He was a good player and prospect. Majorly hard to assess fairly courtesy of Wenger’s incessant methods of playing him in the wrong position, but when he did put in performances the man was a delight to watch. He goes to a team where the manager shall put him to good use in a system that thrives on his strength i.e playing the ball through the middle and running at defenders with his pace and strength.

Thomas Lemar was scouted till 11 pm on deadline day. Arsenal again left it ‘neither later or early’  based on their deadline day past record, where they snap up deals hours before the window ends. Lemar, however, decided to stay put. Weighing his options he didn’t seem interested in moving to Arsenal – a team challenging for top 4, in the Europa League and prima facie lacking a level of competitiveness that top teams have.
I don’t understand why the decision to leave things so late is so readily accepted by the management at Arsenal. Lemar would have brought about (at best) marginal optimism at the Emirates. This is because Sanchez would then leave. We lose a world class player and gain a very hot prospect – I think my use of the word ‘marginal’ is correct in this analysis. I feel transfers of this nature should be actively pursued early and decisions need to be made. If we are interested in Leymar why should we bid 90+ at 9 pm on deadline day and show we are not interested 2 months (no bids, no talk)

Fans are upset with Wenger and his band of merry men and they have all right to be. Arsenal left it late and this time the plan didn’t work out. But surprise-surprise there is no plan B. Before the window started the objective was standard and simple –

  • Keep the world class talent at Arsenal.
  • Ship out dead-wood and over-valued players
  • Recruit talent for positions where we seem to be short.

Have we done these?

  • Yes. But the way isn’t exactly how we imagined it would be. Sanchez should have been offered the wages he has been demanding because he deserves it. He has been an exceptional leader and his value is significant to us on every level. Now Sanchez is here and is expected to play. All we can do is hope he is mentally present for Arsenal, at least until January 1st.
  • Yes. Lucas Perez, Gibbs and Gabriel were all sold. But idiots like Walcott, Bellerin still sit pretty on the wage bill. Xhaka has been abysmal this season but he needs another 6 months of performing like this to be labeled ‘ a waste of space’ (he’s getting there though)
  • Lacazette was signed. Kolasinac was signed. An attacker and a versatile defender. Fair enough. But the lack of a disciplined tactical approach will make these signings pointless, which I fear will be the case with Wenger.

Both players did not start vs Liverpool in order to be rested for the international break this week. Tactics at its best.

I honestly have accepted that Arsenal will finish 7th this season. Top 4 is now, unfortunately, the real objective and we are in September.

Under Wenger, the situation seems to be neglected all the time. Actual issues like defensive formations and tactics are thrown out the window as we chose to defend like school boys and get humiliated thereafter. The more this is ignored by the manager, Arsenal fans should get used to the 3-0, 4-1 score lines because we will be having that more often than naught this season.

My request to all Arsenal fans…

This season isn’t going to be pretty.

Imagine you’re in school, and for no reason, Timmy (Class clown) thinks it funny to scratch the chalk board with his compass.

That terrible screech. It’s going to be like that. Honestly, it already feels like it.

Anyone remember that joke that never gets old with an Arsenal fan? No, not this one.

Arsenal 4th

The other one.

The one which says that an Arsenal fan is immune to heartbreak because while heartbreak happens to people once in a while, Gooners have their heart broken every single season.

Thus we turn skeptical and sometimes even if people do not want to admit it, a tad bitchy (not to mention, pessimism is bred too!)

Justified ?

Maybe.

If you don’t think so, try and support Arsenal for a decade. As I had written earlier, 4 years 1 month and 24 days ago :

But to see Arsenal is like to see a diver walking the plank and just standing there. Everybody waits in anticipation for the dive, for that lunge forward but it never happens. And it pisses the audience/me off so much….

I am not going to be all goody-goody and say that we should be united and stand behind the club (there are so many other blogs where you get stuff like that). To be honest with you, I actually do feel that even the skeptical ones are behind the club. They support the club and shed their hard earned money to see Arsenal (despite the circus show they pay to see)

This is a fact no doubt, I stand behind Arsenal. 100%.

Behind Wenger?

No.

But as far as the Arsenal is concerned, I am there all 38+ games of the season.

(FYI, before I get all the hate in the world concerning I am not behind Wenger comment, please, I do not care. If I disagree with his tactics, I just disagree. It is what it is, nothing personal.)

I am just going to leave you with this.

Don’t sit idle and watch the Arsenal, if you are not going to be vocal about things which really piss you off. To the fans going to the stadium, please DO shout at the players(especially that bozo Walcott) and go livid if we perform at a level which doesn’t meet your expectations.

You are the backbone of the club and no matter people say, you will always remain the backbone of this great institution. 

Let’s not kid ourselves okay? We know it’s already frustrating us to see Arsenal playing like they were last season. If you have any doubts regarding this, just think about our last game vs Stoke and the lack of ideas. I think things will be clear.

It’s been 180 minutes and this is our state. We have another 3240+ minutes left.

Doesn’t look good, does it?

 

The Deed is done…Sorry for the inconvenience…this was hard for me..

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I have not written a blog post for 3 months and 21 days. To clarify, I am not dead. Also, neither am I less interested nor am I following football any less.

I’ll try to keep this short and simple.

Work has come up and I cannot find the time to write my beloved creation. 

Giving my thoughts and opinions about Wenger and Arsenal was an INTEGRAL part of this blog and views expressed here were solely my own. Also they were done with honesty.

As for now the ARMOURY is closed. And I don’t expect it to open anytime soon.

I wish to thank all my readers for putting up with me, the idiot I am, they have borne a lot and even they deserve a break.

In advance, I wish everybody a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year ahead.

Ciao,

DKD

 

I feel sorry for myself as well as other Arsenal fans…

Polar Bear Face Palm

I post seldom these days. But forgive me for not being so regular when there is nothing actually concrete to talk about. And when I say nothing concrete I mean it with my entire heart (fuck the bottom).

I read other posts pondering what to make out of articles. Irrelevant articles written with no objective or purpose. Its not that these blogs are bad, they are good, but I mean come on, you have to have something to happen for you to  blog about.

At Arsenal, nothing is happening or as we Indians would say : Ghanta ho ra ha he ( It wont make sense if you read it in English, you need a hindi accent !)

The rubbish in the media is something to behold. I mean, normally we classify some reports as ‘jokes’ but sometimes when you read garbage like ‘Suarez to Arsenal, is done in principle’ one feels like telling the author to just go fuck himself.

But lets forget Arsenal for now. (This will be easy as there is nothing to remember in the first place)

Lets go global with the rise of power in France most notably from 2 clubs who quite frankly nobody gave a shit about(actually some people still considered PSG a threat) till last year. AS Monaco have spent roughly 125 million pounds acquiring an arsenal of talent for themselves – Falcao(52.8), Joao Moutinho(22), James Rodriguez(39.6) and Jeremy Toulalan(4.4) most notably apart from Abidal whom they got on a free transfer. The other powerhouse represent Lique 1 champions PSG who have slashed out 55 million for Edison Cavani, 27 million for defender Marquinhos and 13.2 for Lucas Digne.

PSG will pose as the main threat in the champions league and under manager Laurent Blanc they are expected to cause a few upsets having been unluckily eliminated from the champions league last year against Barcelona.

Manchester City having learned from their mistakes last year have gone and spent roughly 100 million pounds acquiring and replacing players. They learnt from the hammering United gave them last year by signing ‘Jesus’ himself, followed by Fernandinho, Negredo and Jovetic, the latter 2 being brought in to replace Balotelli and Carlos Tevez. United on the other hand have responded well by signing Guillermo Varela, a 20 year old Uruguayan fullback.

Liverpool and Arsenal are in the same situation as last summer, the only difference being Arsenal are now doing the dirty business by bidding 40+ for Luis Suarez, the Cannibal. As a player even I would be an idiot to say no to Suarez. He is to Liverpool what Van Persie WAS to Arsenal. But as a person its will be difficult to adjust to defend him. Especially if he comes to Arsenal having said that the reason for him to leave Liverpool is the English media. But I don’t expect this transfer to go through because I don’t see Wenger tabling a 50+ million pound bid for the player.

Wenger has his eye in South America where it has been widely reported that he will pay 21 million to acquire 20 year old midfielder Bernard from Atletico Mineiro. I have never heard of this player, so I will comment on him after I see him play. Correction, I will comment on him IF he EVER plays for Arsenal. And come to think of it, I guess I will be with-holding my opinion on him for EVER.

Chelsea have made some shrewd signings this summer, most notably their manager – Jose Mourinho, who I expect will provide some shape and balance to the team. This is very important because a team without a shape is like a building without pillars. One of the best examples of a team with proper shape and balance last season was Bayern Munich, and looked what they achieved. They also have Lukaku who to be honest is like a surprise package in my opinion. For West Brom last season he was brilliant, now imagine how much he can achieve with the players that surround him currently. Chelsea have also acquired other players such as striker Andre Schurrle, GK Mark Schwarzer and midfielder Marco van Ginkel.

Also in the news, David Moyes  continuously goes on bidding for Fabregas. This transfer seems very unlikely and practically speaking Moyes should go for Fellaini, a man who can actually provide stability to the United midfield. I am not saying Fabregas is bad, all I am saying is that I don’t think he will come especially after his move to Barcelona from Arsenal was compared to a soldier returning home from war !

Speaking of Manchester united, their ex-talisman player Wayne Rooney seems to have taken a stand in wanting to be sold this summer. This is the best time for foreign clubs to capitalise on the situation, and if Rooney does move its probably going to be to Spain. Well, I hope it is, because if he moves to Chelsea as I have heard they have already had an initial 23 million pound bid rejected, then all the clubs in the PL are fucked.

I wont blog often now. I mean, what am I supposed to write on – Arsenal’s possible transfer targets ?  Why Arsenal need this man ? Or should it be why Wenger should do this or that ??

I rather see turtles racing than see Arsenal doing something in the transfer market. The former is so much more interesting as compared to the latter which IS non-existent at the moment.

I have better things to do than waste my time speculating that this and that will happen. And I rather gladly do them.

Ciao

DKD

In response to a fellow Gooner…..

GoonerKam writes :

So the last we spoke was after the torts game and you were ripping into the team and club and AW. We go on a 9 win one draw run and you feel better now. Or maybe feeling like crap for having zero faith. You must be young and don’t know the meaning of support or believing in a cause or principles. Lucky you. I have the perfect person for you to watch and learn from. His name is ARSENE and he bigger balls than any other manger of a major club that I know of. Watch and learn from him loyalty, steadfast belief in his vision and principles, belief in the right way of playing the game and teaching it, strength of character in the face of unbelievable odds and much more. And how to be man and never whining when the going gets tough.

Maybe next year you will grow a mind of your own and not just repeating the media line and falling for the games our opponents plan for the weak of mind.  Maybe then the ARMOURY WOULD BE CONSIDERED A SPECIAL BLOG.

Like the club crest you picked for the site.
I guess that’s something.
UP  THE  GUNNERS OF  ARSENAL!!!!

Response :

Its been a long time, and I completely accept that. But to see Arsenal is like to seeing a diver walking the plank and just standing there. Everybody waits in anticipation for the dive, for that lunge forward but it never happens. And it pisses the audience/me off so much….

You say I have no faith.

I accept that I do not have faith in Arsenal winning the premier league with the current Arsenal team, forget the champions league.

And I know I have not asked every single gooner in the world, but I am pretty sure if you ask them too, majority will agree with me.

Faith is something, and blind faith is something. There is a sharp distinction between them. In simple words, the latter means “I don’t care who or what, I believe in you.” Whereas the former means “You have shown me reason to believe and I do believe in you.” I like to associate myself with the former. The only issue here is that Wenger has pissed me off (and continues to do so) so much that for my own health I need to avoid Arsenal completely.

I don’t agree with your opinions on Wenger. I personally believe that he is not the man who he used to be. I am not saying he has lost it all I am saying is that if he was a lion, now he is the image below(right) :

ImageHe makes stupid decisions, but this is not what worries me. People have bad days in the office, and that happens to everybody…

What actually worries me is that he refuses to learn from them. The season before last, when Van Persie carried the team home, he said he was going to look into the matter. What did he do ? Signed 3 players and sold 2 first team players, one of which was Van Persie himself. We were out of the the title race in both campaigns before New Years.

I believe in principles, but those principles I choose for myself. For instance, I for one don’t consider Arsenal to be the team known for “qualifying for the champions league.” I expect them to REALISTICALLY challenge for trophies every season. They never live up to my expectation, and that is what ticks me off.

Last summer we spend money on Giroud and Podolski as strikers. This time it is Higuain, who apparently has to just sign to make his transfer official.

A friend of mine met him in London, the man says that he loves the place and flies often when he gets a break in Madrid. Surprisingly he also told my friend that “he was the only person who recognised him that day”, and this was at a mall.

I have watched alot of Madrid games, and the problem with Higuain is that he misses chances that ought to be tucked away, and this comes into prominence against top teams like FC Barcelona. I am not saying that he is going to be a flop at Arsenal all I am insinuating is that Arsenal fans should not be content. Just because Wenger WILL break the Arsenal transfer record that does not mean everything will be fine and dandy. Sadly, they will i.e people will be content.

I worry for Higuian. Its not that he can’t finish, I just feel Wenger will burn him off too fast if he clicks. This is the same thing which happened to Fabregas, Van Persie etc. The over-reliance on one player to carry an entire team. Its shocking in terms of how is it allowed to happen. But the transfer window has just opened today, so in respect of that I’ll with-hold my opinion for atleast a few weeks.

Also, Higuian is not the answer to all Arsenal’s problems. The issues are internal, with the defense, with portions of the midfield. Its similar to Barcelona. Barcelona won LaLiga last year, equaling Mourinho’s points tally. But you could see this Barca side was one dimensional, over-reliant on one person and had no defensive shape. This is why they got pummeled against an efficient Bayern Munich and Real Madrid(CopaDel Rey).

Arsenal need a right back, and a centreback. Sagna should be sold and a replacement brought in. I heard a few rumours about Vermaelen on Barcelona’s radar. I know its rubbish, but if Arsenal get a good sum for him, he may be considered to be sold as well. But knowing Wenger, he may keep him on for one more year to give him time. I don’t disagree with Wenger, but if we get 15-18 for him(never going to happen), I rather get the money and re-invest in the squad.

What else will I blog about ? Mourinho’s return, Suarez’ antics or a mouth watering rivalry between Madrid and Barcelona if Bale moves to Spain. There is nothing happening in the Arsenal camp, and everybody is so excited. For what ??? The prospect that the Arsenal transfer record will be broken.

I will be posting more often from now on as it has been a long holiday. But to post on Arsenal is becoming monotonous. Life has to be more interesting with other clubs as well. Looking at the current situation, I might just have to explore that option.

DKD