BOOST OF ANTICIPATION by Alex D
For all the mathematical skullduggery. With analysis of every permutation and combination suggesting a remote but optimistically fairytale proposition of Arsenal FC winning thePremier League or the Champions League (or even FA Cup against a top Six PL opposition) the truth is apparent to all. To even the most rabid Gooner and certainly to Mr. Wenger, who for all his optimism needs to be pragmatic enough to realize the pitfalls of overreaching oneself.
Yes, to be proven wrong would be a glorious occasion. It would be a fantastic rebuke to a naysayer like me. Glorious but nevertheless unexpected – even shocking. An unenviable position to be in unfortunately. How exciting it would be to be supporter of a team in the midst of a realistic title challenge. Not just for the supporters but even for the players. To turn out at every matchday knowing that today would be another step in the right direction towards the ultimate success, the catch, the prize.
We imagine our players as true professionals to behave like finely tuned and well oiled machines undeterred and unaffected by anything. Once optimally maintained and topped up they should perform to the best of their ability. Alas, human frailties like emotions and disappointment at the prospect of another scramble to the fourth position must take something out of our gunners taking to the pitch. They would be less than human if it does not. Especially in the colors of a club that believes it belongs in the same bracket as the other European elites. Perhaps appearing for a club with more modest target would be not so bad. A tampering of expectations also realigns expectations of the players from themselves and from others. Exceeding targets in such a scenario adds momentum to the whole team akin to a turbo boost a.k.a Liverpool last season. To be in a title race must have been an incomparable high for our Liverpudlians especially in recent history.
Back on Planet Arsenal it is same old story. We are stuck somewhere is between not exactly also rans but certainly far away from being serious challengers. Even success in FA Cup becomes realistic incumbent upon none of the top six teams reaching the business end. For till they (sic) stand against us, it remains (to quote Mr. Wenger) merely ‘possible’ and ‘interesting’. What is interesting is to read/hear about difference in perceived intent between players of Arsenal and Chelsea on the pitch. Surely, the difference must be there to account for their respective positions in the table. Even someone like Alexis Sanchez, presently the apple of every Gooner’s eye, must be having his seemingly endless optimism tampered by several others pointing out to him the miniscule percentage of points Arsenal has been able to claim against top-flight opposition in last eight years. A bitter truth that throws a check upon every hopeful thought. And we have not even reached the fabled January – February period that I believe ought to be renamed as ‘Arsenal trough’. It would be nice to have our players play with a genuine belief of success. It would surely bring out the best in them. Until such time, one hopes that Mr Wenger can get the best out of them considering….
PS: Surely Mr Wenger has not discounted the concept of psychological rocket booster as part of bringing new players into the club. Transfers do add more than just numbers and quality to the squad. The right transfers act like the high tide lifting all with their arrival. Maybe next year eh?