Same old Arsenal?
The clock had barely passed the 70-minute mark when he retorted, “We might be losing but I have never enjoyed Arsenal better“. The comments of a random Arsenal fan.
For opposition fans, it was another moment of banter. His fellow Gunners? Not so funny. It was one of reflection.
One was quick to point that he scoffed after making the statement, another totally indifferent to the comment. Then came that odd silence, as though there was an elephant in the room, one which was drowned by cheers of approval as Sergio Aguero was subbed off for Gabriel Jesus.
Football is a game of perceptions, perspectives and what have you. We can interpret the outcome of a game in a thousand ways.
Take for instance, this season’s predictions see majority fans claiming Liverpool must win the title simply because they have gone out and spent. Some strongly opine that the Reds biggest acid tests will be against the smaller teams in their small stadiums with deep defences, too much thoughts for one team eh?
They aren’t alone in this; Man United have divided opinion more than any other team this season due to their decision not to spend big. Purists see them as title contenders irrespective of that, fanatics? They are worried. We don’t have some good players in a few key positions they say and the board’s failure to back Jose will hunt us.
In short, it applies everywhere and Arsenal are no different.
It would be myopic and unintelligible to judge Unai Emery’s team on one game against one of the greatest Premier League teams there is. Many have said it is the same old Arsenal with the same old problems.
Others, even more scathing; with some describing the side as being light years from challenging for the top 4.
That’s a joke!
The real issue here is the band of Arsenal fans that have refused to see the reality. That Wenger is gone doesn’t mean the team style will change overnight. It doesn’t guarantee a total overhaul in mentality. Besides, every sincere football fan knew Emery was up against it after the fixture list was released.
It is testament to how fickle the human mind is; that after encouraging pre-season performances, fans were expecting the team to fire on all cylinders.
Quite the right eh? But how about this for a dose of reality?
Arsenal looked quite good a times against Manchester City in a way they never looked in Wenger’s latter years. There are quite the instances.
Sokratis late block on Aguero when he was clean through was reminiscent of tough Arsenal defenders like Adams and Campbell, Guendouzi’s all action midfield style brought faint comparisons with Patrick Vieira has he chased everything in midfield(mind you, he is only 19).
Torreira was great on his cameo and will be an asset. Lichsteiner is an upgrade on Bellerin and is already showing the Spirit that made him a 6-time Serie A champion.
All players mentioned above, were Emery’s signings. How did Wenger’s boys fare? Bellerin was inconsistently good in the game, same as Mustafi, who after making one good clearance was turned inside out before Sterling scored. Xhaka was a waste of space.
Ozil and Mkhitaryan were largely absent while Aubameyang lacked service and didn’t touch the ball until the 38th minute. If at all, one must commend that the players kept going until the end. It was a trait not seen in the latter days of Wenger.
Simply put, the ghost and shadows of Arsene Wenger cannot just vanish from Arsenal in a fortnight, neither will the Gunners become genuine Premier League title contenders in one season. However, one must consider that for a first game and a baptism of fire, it would be purely naive to say Arsenal are the same old team.
What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with me? Leave me your comments and share your thoughts with me.