On Saturday night, the latest series of Forbrydelsen came to a close. It was a series that has been, in turn, delightful, hilarious, scary and, at times, totally confusing. But enough about the adventures of Sarah Lund. Tonight, 6 days after the Bradford nightmare, the Gooner Nation will reconvene in Berkshire. And they will reconvene for the latest installment of a season that isn’t so delightful or hilarious, but has contained large amounts of scares and almost total confusion.
I guess that’s what Football365′s Mediawatch page would refer to as a “tortured intro” and, you know what? It took me about ten minutes to get it together, so I guess they’d be right. But, having spent ten minutes on it, I’m disinclined to leave it out. So there. It’s fair to say that Arsène Wenger has never been under as much pressure- from the Arsenal support and the media, at least- as he is now. It’s also fair to say that one win, however convincing, against Reading is not likely to change that. Reading around the internet, listening to podcasts, it feels as though anyone with a voice is resigned to our fate. If not “our” fate, then certainly Arsène Wenger’s. But tonight marks the start of a run of games that will take us into 2013- all are winnable. And, okay, the last time Arsenal put a sequence of 5 wins together was February/ March this year- but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen now. And if it was to happen, then we will go into January surely feeling a little bit happier about things than we all do now. And then, hopefully, the boss can look to strengthen a bit- rather than just firefight.
I’m not sure I want to dwell on the consequences of following up last week’s cup exit with defeat to a team bottom of the league and with one league win all season, so I won’t. I don’t expect it to happen either, Arsène has had a week to get the players up, rebuild some shattered egos and I expect a reaction. In some way, perhaps last week was- in an indirect way- a good thing. I mean, how can it get any worse than that? I would like to think that the guys now know the level of performance they need to produce on a regular basis if we are to improve. Yes, I totally agree that it shouldn’t take losing to Bradford to experience such a revelation, but, hey… we are where we are.
One thing I feel certain to help our cause tonight is that Olivier Giroud is available to lead the attack again. Not the greatest striker in the world, unlike a certain Dane, but far from being as useless as Gervinho is. We will also welcome back contract rebel Theo Walcott. I wonder how much longer we’ll be able to say that. As with every public declaration of commitment to Arsenal- the club that has tried and tried to develop him as a footballer- he has edged ever nearer to the exit door. And in typically Arsenal stylee, it happens just when we’re starting to see the light at the end of what has been a looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong tunnel. If he wants to go to Chelsea, and that’s the latest rumour coming down the pipe, then good luck to him. I’m not sure how he thinks he’s going to replace one of the greatest centre forwards Chelsea have ever had, or displace the likes of Mata, Hazard and co, but who ever said footballers were realistic?
On the flip side of the coin, we have Jack Wilshere. A player who could, in all probability, write his own cheque at any football club he chose and yet is prepared to commit his future to Arsenal. Ok, he is going to be paid handsomely to do so, but at a time when it feels as if the whole world is against us, I think such commitment from Jack can only be seen as good news. And there I go again, placing all my faith in a kid… Aaron Ramsey is also said to be close to a new deal. The news of which broke the day after his latest failure on the wing. For some reason, there’s a little less excitement around this news. I can’t think why. I just wrote a couple of sentences defending this deal, but it does seem as if we could, possibly, maybe, commit resources elsewhere and get a little more bang for our buck. But it would be totally unfair to write a central midfielder off based on his performances as a winger.
Thierry Henry’s mooted return on loan has been cast into doubt by Gerard Houlier. At first, I was wondering why Houlier was getting involved in this- turns out he’s the NY Red Bulls General Manager. I’m gonna stick my neck out and say that I won’t be sorry if it doesn’t happen- yes Thierry probably still has more class in his right book than exists in the majority of our forward line. But, much as I enjoyed last winter’s brief sojourn, I don’t think he’s the guy to lift us out of our malaise this time around. We need fresh blood, not a pale imitation of former glories. You know, if you’re missing Thierry that much, there’s always the statue.
Enjoy the game, wherever you are.
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