DOES WENGER DESERVE MORE RESPECT FROM THE FANS AND MEDIA? by Uche
I cannot even believe that this question needs asking but I had to. We played against a strong Hull side in the FA cup last night and beat them 4-0. It was a tough game against a tough opponent that we failed to crack when we first played them at home a couple of weeks ago. Our game was disrupted nonstop in this second leg with injuries to our opponents and our own players. We lost Per, Gabriel and Aaron. Our defense was unrecognizable. At one point, Aaron Ramsey was playing Centre Back, Nacho Monreal was playing center back, Calum Chambers was switched from right back to center back and Mathieu Flamini was withdrawn from midfield to right back. I have never seen that much shuffling in a game, and yet we remained composed and bossed this game with a deserved and brilliant 4-0 win.
Before this game, we had some decent performances too. We played a very strong Spurs team in their house with ten men and left with a respectable draw and one of our best performances with ten men. Before then we played really well against Barcelona in the Champions league only to be undone by the brilliance of Lionel Messi and Neymar Dos Santos, the two best players in the world. There is no shame in that.
You see where I am going with this? We might not have gotten the points we needed in our pursuit of the Premier league title but with the exception of our cowardly performance against a second string Man United side, we have not played badly at all. We played Southampton out of the park but just couldn’t score. It was a fantastic performance that just lacked goals.
Here is the thing. I sat down for this Hull game knowing that anything can happen. The pressure was high. Sheffield Wednesday knocked us out of the Capital One Cup deservedly so, clearly, you cannot underestimate championship opposition. And yet we finished the Hull game thoroughly victorious, in spite of all the injuries and disorganization narrated above. And just when I was savoring that great performance and win, the camera pans around and stops on a banner that said, ‘Thanks for the Memories Arsene but It Is Time to go’, or something like that. That was hurtful. That was below the belt. What the hell? I was mad and embarrassed by our fans. This is part of what I hate about sport. Where is the respect? Look at that old man that is Arsene Wenger. He has given everything to Arsenal. Lost his marriage to Arsenal and taken punches for Arsenal when we could not publicly reveal we had no money to spend for years. Everybody blamed him for not wanting to spend but he refused to expose the club for not giving him money to spend. When it comes to reliable stand up guys, it doesn’t get better than Arsene. Three league titles and six FA cups, all achieved without spending silly money to buy glory. A 400 million pound stadium built with no sugar daddy, with us still managing to qualify for Champions league every single year since Arsene took over the reins. He does not deserve that.
Let me leave you with a few facts to ponder. It is true that it will hurt if Leicester wins the league. Some say if that happens, that will be a damning verdict on Arsenal. Well, that is one way of looking at it. But this is how I see it. If we don’t win it, it means that nineteen other teams that collectively spent over a billion pounds, failed to win it. We only spent 10 million on Peter Cech. If that makes us losers then there will be nineteen losers come the month of May.
Unfortunately, club football does not give out titles for second and third place finishers like they do in Olympics. If they did, there will be three trophies passed around at the end of every football season. There will be a gold trophy, a silver trophy and a bronze trophy, just like they do in Olympics. Why? That is recognition that coming second or third in a fiercely contested tournament is an achievement to be proud of. If club football awarded medals to the top three the way the Olympics do, Arsene will be sick of winning. Think of the great Olympians who have won silver and bronze medals for our different countries over the years. Imagine taking away their trophies from them, calling them losers and telling them that only gold medalists deserve recognition and glory? That will be terribly inhumane, right? Well, that is what we have been doing to Arsene Wenger for the past ten years. Just let that sink in.
We are gradually moving into an era in Premier league football where finishing 10th will be marked as a great achievement. You only have to look at the teams that will not make top four this season (Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United, Southampton, Everton and possibly West Ham) for you to understand this. Arsene Wenger has more than earned our respect. It is hard to argue otherwise. Peace.
Lagos – Nigeria