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How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Arsenal

I’m not making this up and it’s not the usual cocksure bravado that you get from the average sports fan but if I’m completely honest, I’m not nervous about Sunday.

Yes, Arsenal are facing the form team of the Premier League, with the form player, playing at the highest level of his career. A player who has just this year unleashed a Ronaldo-esque toe-punch from set pieces. A toe-punch that is, I might add, getting him goals from dead ball situations. Dead ball situations that Mark Clattenburg will gladly award any time anyone gets anywhere near Gareth Bale and he falls over like he loves to do.

And we all know that Gareth Bale is the darling of the Lickspittles on Fleet Street because he’s a player who admits that he dives and who (like Rooney before him) gets a pass in the press. I’m not exactly sure why he gets a pass, maybe he needs to dive for Wales against England, in a World Cup match or something before he will get the royal treatment. But the marked difference between the way that the Daily Mail basically hung Eduardo in effigy and have instead made excuses for Bale’s diving is, well… marked.

And still I’m not worried about Sunday.

I even know that it’s a big game, probably the biggest of the season. How could I not know that Tottenham are above Arsenal in the table and that this one game could go a long way toward solidifying them as finishing above Arsenal for the first time since 1995? And how could I have missed the fact that this game could very well determine what type of European football Arsenal play next year? I couldn’t and I didn’t.

I also know that Arsenal have an error prone defense. One which is setting ignominious records for allowing slapstick goals. I know that Arsenal’s captain, and chief of the defense, is not in his best form, that the team’s most experienced right back is out injured and in his stead Arsenal will start a very raw Carl Jenkinson, and that the team has a new left back who has never experienced a North London Derby. Both fullbacks will be tested by the aforementioned Bale, who will be making every effort to get the ball on his left foot and fire in wicked shots that will test Arsenal’s shaky keeper.

This should be the kind of game that I’m very worried about, but I’m not.

My quiescence comes not from a sense of bravado about the fact that we have beaten Tottenham 5-2 in two consecutive matches, that Arsenal have the better head to head record over the entire career of Arsene Wenger, and that they have a long history as the little bottlers who couldn’t. I was in London last year when Spurs were overturned from a 2-0 lead. I sat on the train my last night in London last year and watched as a Spurs supporter openly wept because Tottenham had just lost 3-1 to Man U and he knew that the bottling of their season had begun. That fact should have leave me feeling confident but it’s not the reason why I feel the way I do.

No, this Spurs team look like a strong team who will give Arsenal a real challenge. And Arsenal are starting to look like the team who tend to disappear from matches. Arsenal are a team who can go into a big game and not even bother to show up until the opposition have already won. Arsenal can stumble through the first half like a blind drunk and wait until the second half to even bother start playing, time and again.

And yes, this is the biggest game that Arsenal will face for the rest of the season. If every season is a story, then this game is the climax. From Sunday at about 10am local time, the season will start to be resolved. There will be more matches and naturally there will be some more drama but nothing will compare to this game and the events which unfold in this game will almost certainly determine the path that Arsenal take for the next few months, if not even longer.

Missing out on Champions League football would set in front of this Arsenal board and Arsene Wenger a choice: double-down on the policy which has gotten the team to where we are now or change directions and rebuild.

And yet, I’m not worried.

I’m not worried because I’m anchored by the history of the Arsenal. I’m anchored by the 13 league titles. The 16 consecutive years of Champions League football. The Invincibles. The players who have come and gone and the players who are enshrined outside of the Emirates. Players like Henry, Adams, and Dennis Bergkamp who now have a granite reminder outside our gleaming new stadium that form is temporary but class is permanent.

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It’s that class that Arsenal exudes in everything we do that is the difference and what gives us, as a club, a leg up over Tottenham. It’s not the back to back 5-2 wins over them, it’s the fact that we didn’t need to make a DVD to celebrate those wins. It’s the fact that we have millions of fans from all over the globe. Fans like me who are going to Munich to support the Arsenal come what may.

And maybe I’m “frying chickens in the barnyard” crazy but come what may on Sunday, I will always be an Arsenal supporter. And that means I will always be one better than Spurs.

Qq

56 thoughts on “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Arsenal

  1. Vote -1 Vote +1Ankush

    Typically, we have been found wanting against the so-called lesser oppositions. But against Spuds, the players know that they’re up against the form team and it will not be easy. I feel confident because I know I will see Arsenal’s best avatar on the pitch. Up the Arse!

  2. Vote -1 Vote +1jenikcarl

    I don’t know how you put it so succinctly but its what I feel about the Arsenal. My sense of worth does not come from whether Arsenal have lost form or haven’t turned up for a few matches. It comes from the fact that we have a 125 year old history that is built on the words ‘Victory through Harmony’

  3. Vote -1 Vote +1HR

    I agreed with the post all the why until you explained your reason.
    I too am not nervous about the game but that’s because over the past few years I have changed my attitude regarding Arsenal to a much more positive one.
    I still love and support Arsenal as much as i ever have but no longer obsess about them throughout the week, nor do I allow my day to be ruined an Arsenal defeat. I have got used to the ‘disappointment’ and do not let it affect me and ruin my priorities in life.

    I advise everyone else to do the same.

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1fazza

      Dude, I’m in exactly the same place…a real low point was last year when we got thumped at AC MILAN away, I decided to watch FAMILY GUY to try and calm myself down instead, but my lady hates family guy and at the time our baby was a few months old. Needless to say she refused for me to switch to family guy and that resulted in an argument due to my emotional state :-( From that point on I realised that I cannot look to arsenal results to brighten up my day, all I can say is I love and support the team but I will not let defeats change the way I interact with my family who need a much more level headed father and partner. Amen

  4. Vote -1 Vote +1Aaron

    This is basically an article saying spurs are better than us now but we were better in the past so I don’t mind lol

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1Myra

      Uh, no. The point is that the present is a dip in form, may be a longer dip that turns out to be comfortable, but given the talent and experience and financial stability backing the club (the class) there is every chance that the poor decisions that have led to this dip in form won’t continue for too much longer. One may not agree with the point, fine. But missing it is, well, not a great advertisement for your reading comprehension skills. Or did I miss something?

  5. Vote -1 Vote +11NiltotheArsenal

    I said in my last post that we will be up against it on Sunday against our derby rivals who look every bit the favourites at home.

    The best response like thispost, is to embrace the history and glory and class and style and verve of our club for whole 90 minutes. If we can truly embrace those things the squad will be inspired more than nervous and will take the day.

    Well said, well done.

      1. Vote -1 Vote +1Tim Post author

        I would ban Paul, but why bother? He’ll probably say something racist or xenophobic next further proving that the difference in class between the two clubs is an unbridgeable chasm.

      2. Vote -1 Vote +1Joe

        Hi Tim were I live I met some very nice spurs fans I even work with one how is it you always seem to attract the nasty ones.

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1GoonerNC

      It took me like five minutes to decode this from Tiny Totts to actual English. Spelling and punctuation is super hard, isn’t it?

  6. Vote -1 Vote +1Aaron

    I’m genuinely shocked by this article I was looking forward to the drawn out conclusion where by you should have said your not worried because of the spurs curse, the lasange or Chelsea beating 2 of the best teams in the world whilst being played off the park. Messi and robben both missing pens. The mendes goal at old Trafford the Chelsea goal that never was fa cup semi final last year. But instead you have basically said don’t worry if spurs are better than us now because 8 years ago we used to win stuff. And the comments about being a classy club are laughable arsene wenger has started fights with Martin jol, pardew, didn’t shake the Munich mans hand last week. He’s press conference was comical! In my opinion arsenal are the most unclassy club in the league, every team sings same old arsenal always cheating. It’s a joke of an article I want the 3 mins back I spent reading it.

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1Nikki

      I don’t like the dig to Arsenal by bringing Wenger misbehaved. That is a separated issue for me and what Wenger did, does not make the face of Arsenal. What make it, is the history of the clubs, and the way the club try to bring their vision to reality. That is part of what Tim baically trying to said. Not feeding your agenda of Arsenal negativity and how Arsenal concede to Spurs. Finally, you should really understand the quote: Form is temporary and class is permanent. That is the core believe of how Tim felt.

    2. Vote -1 Vote +1jop

      “Well, I’ve been to one world fair, a picnic, and a rodeo, and that’s the stupidest thing I ever heard come over a set of earphones.”

  7. Vote -1 Vote +1Arsenal Letters

    My experience is that if I am incredible nervous before an Arsenal game, we do much better despite my pessimism. Given the superstitious nervous wreck I have become supporting Arsenal over the years, unlike you I am strategically choosing to be very nervous before this Sunday’s game.

    This game is very important to me for personal reasons as well. Early August 2012 a dear colleague of mine, a fellow Gooner, with whom I used to watch the games had a stroke. He spent 3 months in the hospital, he is still in rehabilitation. Due to the brain damage he suffered, he mostly lost his ability to speak. At the moment, he is unable to build medium length sentences. Hopefully, it will all come back. I have invited him to my house to watch the game together. After such a long time, it will be an emotional experience for both of us.

    Regarding the game, the crucial tactical point is our necessity to shrink the space between the back four and the midfield, as this is the area Bale the Chimp shoots from. For this reason, we should start with Koscielny and Vermaalen who like to push forward and intervene any build up in that area. But the dilemma is Vermaalen usually loses his head and positional discipline when pushing up. The trio of Arteta, Koscielny and Vermaalen can stop Bale if they stay disciplined and share responsibility to deny Bale receiving the ball comfortably in those shooting positions. The midfield needs to stay compact. If Wilshere is paired with Arteta, he needs to remember to keep the defensive shape and not rush into tackles as Dembele can dribble past easily and bring the ball to dangerous areas also dislocating Arteta. The point is this is one game that we need to perform as a unit.

    I hope that Wenger starts with a midfield of Arteta, Ramsey and Wilshere. Cazorla again on the left drifting inside. I think this provides a better defensive shape than the Arteta, Wilshere and Cazorla midfield with Poldi on the left. In short I think using Ramsey in the midfield and shifting Cazorla to left (keeping Poldi on the bench) gives us another ball playing midfielder and allows us to keep possession. But if we are not disciplined enough, possesion might turn out to be a poisened chalice.

    In attack, I believe we will find many chances with Walcott running behind that high Spurs line. Lloris is very good at anticipating those through balls and sweeps them, but if the ball has the right weight and angle, and if as a result, Lloris is fractionally late, he may even get red carded.

  8. Vote -1 Vote +1paul

    xenophobia is fear wrong context dim Tim you classless cunt of an arsewipe …aaron so right no handshake etc from your classy xenophobic blind manager

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1Bunburyist

      “Classless cunt of an arsewipe”? Really, Paul, this is the stuff of an insecure, uneducated child. How proud you must be.

  9. Vote -1 Vote +1Richard

    Whilst Paul is what you call a typical Spurs fan with his comments and I hate some of the crap you and us put in the comments box but, You should see what some of your so called fans write on our blogs too. Its just childs play so rise above it….
    This Article is well written I give you that and admire your confidence. As for Sunday both sets of fans should NOT be nervous as it promises to be an exciting game and may the best team win on the day.
    Obviuosly I would love us Spurs to turn you over but I feel this has a to be a high scoring score draw!

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1Tim Post author

      Oh, I’ve been around some Gooners who were singing about “gassing the Yids” so, yeah, we have ours as well but to have my point so perfectly illustrated is delicious, is it not?

      1. Vote -1 Vote +1Mr Anonymous

        Almost so delicious it seems a little convenient.

        I knew many a blogger who used to invent comments praising their articles or pretending to be trolls to illustrate their point.

        After all who am I? Just a made up name and a fake email address.

      2. Vote -1 Vote +1Tim Post author

        I thought it was a bit odd myself, so I checked the IP address, it’s not one of my regular readers and I can assure you that it’s not me.

        I would show you a screen shot of my IP versus Paul’s but then you could always just accuse me of doctoring that as well. Or spoofing the IP. Or logging in from somewhere else. That’s the beauty of a conspiracy theory.

  10. Vote -1 Vote +1wenkev02

    Well done Tim. I feel like you do at the moment. What I will be like when we are playing god knows. I have coached kids who are spurs fans and they are no different to the arsenal boys. Banter is fun. It’s a shame your blog enticed a worm from under a tot. turd (Paul) Class will prevale…COUG…… Bob…..

  11. Vote -1 Vote +1Teampossible

    I’m also not concerned about them losing the game and quite frankly I wouldn’t be surprised if this happens as well, but as some of the other people here pointed out, it’s because I have become more detached from this club than before.

    I don’t like this very much to be honest, and it kinda feels like when you realize you are slowly drifting apart from your wife, but on the other hand, I no longer have to punch the wall after every defeat.

    Although I still live in the hope that this summer she will surprise me with a sexy new underwear and our love will blossom once again.

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1MJ

      I get the analogy, but hopefully your relationship with your partner doesn’t hinge on what underwear she wears.

      1. Vote -1 Vote +1Teampossible

        I was actually talking about Wenger.
        Sometimes I like to imagine him dressed only in his underwear, drinking a glass of wine with his long pale legs crossed.
        My wife doesn’t know about this, so I would appreciate you keeping it on the down low.
        Thanks.

  12. Vote -1 Vote +1Eurazian

    Nice article Tim. It is the sort of thing I need to read, I think, because this season has really tested my faith. It’s getting harder and harder to shake myself out of bed at 2am in order to watch a dodgy stream of Arsenal playing in a mediocre fashion. I don’t think I’ll ever stop being an Arsenal supporter for the reasons articulated in the article. But at the moment I’m on the verge of no longer being a passionate one.

  13. Vote -1 Vote +1Wang

    What’s wrong with frying chickens in the barnyard?

    I wish I had your confidence Tim. While I don’t doubt we’re a more talented squad, and won’t be as stupid as West Ham to stand 6 feet off Bale rooted to the ground having a cup of tea while he shoots, I do worry about our ability to cock things up and find creative ways to lose.

    Still, I think we’ll be up for it, and while I was initially worried at the Sagna news, someone turned my thoughts to that pic of Jenks celebrating the 2nd versus Villa, and I was reassured to know there will be a real Gooner on the pitch – I’d love it if this were the day he found his form and played out of his skull. Maybe fried some chickens in the barnyard… seriously, what’s up with that? Is that a thing?

    C’mon Arsenal!!

  14. Vote -1 Vote +1paul

    wenkev 02 you are a cunt and paul you are really an ugly fucker roll on sunday 7 points ahead mind the gap cunts

  15. Vote -1 Vote +1Faikis

    I don’t care how nervous I am or any other Gooner is, I have a sneaky feeling we’re going to win! ~ that’s 23 years experience of supporting Arsenal from the other side of the world ~

  16. Vote -1 Vote +1lodatz

    LOL. The only ‘tradition’ your club has came from Wenger. Predictably, since Wenger has run out of ideas/failed to compete in the transfer market, your club has failed to compete for silverware. Give it all the ’16 seasons’ claptrap all you like — THAT was the ‘form’ you mention. The form which is fleeting, and when you finally kick out Wenger, will disappear altogether. You have no class, and have never had class. Wenger is your entire club; your entire identity.

    Half your fans now support Manchester City. Congratulations.

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1Bunburyist

      You have no class, and have never had class. Wenger is your entire club; your entire identity.

      ===

      Only one club in North London has continuity, and that’s Arsenal. How many managers have you had since Wenger took over? Yeah, that’s class alright.

      You might finish above Arsenal this season, but it will be the exception, not the rule. One wonder season does not a classy club make (and, I might add, a “wonder” season for you comes at the expense of the worst Arsenal squad in over a decade).

      I’m proud that Wenger is part of our identity. You, on the other hand, have to accept that Gareth Bale is your entire club, your entire identity, and that’s a 2-year identity talking. Your “identity” is a one-man team that will sink once he’s sold this summer.

      Bye!

  17. Vote -1 Vote +1Uncle Mike

    Well, being a typical Spud he overlooks the long history before Wenger, a manager who makes Bill Nicholson look like Neil Warnock. Or has he forgotten that Wenger is the SECOND Arsenal manager to win the League at their dump?

    Half our fans now support Man City? He must be thinking of that other London club, the one their bum of a gaffer used to run.

    There were 10 Tottenham points in the gap last year. This will be a piece of cake. We are The Arsenal. They are not.

    After all, the Pope has gotten so sick of the wanky Tottenham Hotspur coming to Rome to see him that HE has now f***ed off! Ha!

  18. Vote -1 Vote +1dya

    Seems to remember the match against City few seasons back, where at the time City is the most form team and Tevez is the most form man in England, we went on and win 3-0 courtesy from one particular sonaofb*tch,Song and Bendtner.

    So,I understand your ‘not nervousness’ there Tim:P

  19. Vote -1 Vote +1Wang

    Tim – your tweet about your DM post being plagiarized spawned a wild thought – what about converting Vermaelen to DM? Put him in Arteta’s role and push Arteta slightly forward and right into the Diaby/Ramsey/Wilshere role, and Wilshere into the #10 with Santi on the left. It gives you a left-footed DM on the left, and a right-footed midfielder in Arteta on the right with experience all over the midfield.

    Vermaelen has displayed a propensity to go forward anyways, and may get to use that belter of a left foot on goal on occasion. This would also put Arteta in more attacking position, and we’ve seen him fire in a few from range. On the other side of the ball, we’d be more protected in midfield, with TV5 obviously defensive-minded, and Arteta with the experience of his current role. It would work great in a game like the NLD with Arteta able to spy Bale (despite Arséne’s comment surely meant to rile the media).

    Verm is a good passer, good holding onto the ball, and winning it in the air. If he misses a tackle in midfield, as he does on occasion given his aggressive nature, he’d be in a position to have support behind him as DM. Longer-term, it may solve the captaincy issue, and rather than get a DM we could target a world-class CB.

    Thoughts?

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1Tim Post author

      I think this is an excellent idea. I’m seriously having a hard time thinking of any flaws… It’s essentially a 3 man back line, with Vermaelen sweeping up. Huh.

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