There was a section of our fanbase who were not exactly humble when Arsenal were top of the League for the majority of the season. by Dan Smith
I noticed it and I’m a fellow Gooner!
So, if certain statements made me cringe, I could only imagine what fans of other clubs thought?
It’s not arrogant if you can back it up.
Unfortunately, when you don’t follow outlandish statements, you look a little bit silly.
Some of my peers who talked the talk, now have to take their medicine.
Yet they can also learn from this experience.
Maybe if we are top of the table next February, they will remember this memory and be humbler?
Gooners reject Ronaldo, Mbappe and Neymar!
Domestic football paused with the Gunners 5 points clear of the chasing pack in England.
Ronaldo purposely timed an interview with Piers Morgan to be broadcast at the start of the World Cup, engineering a move away from Man United without having to face the backlash back in the UK.
Mr Morgan (our so-called celebrity fan) said Arteta could do worse than sign the striker on a free transfer.
I agreed, seeing a short-term deal convenient to all parties.
The player would be motivated by a chance to prove his ex-employers wrong by lifting the Prem, while offering a young squad leadership and knowledge they clearly lacked.
My simple question was, in the last seconds of a game who do you want a chance to fall too, Ronaldo or Eddie Nketiah?
I understood the arguments that a superstar with too much baggage might distract from what we were building.
Then I read an article critiquing Mbappe, to which I innocently replied, he’d walk into our team. Which remains an obvious fact.
I was told though by one reader that I speak like that’s a fact and it’s not?
Others offered reasons why Mbappe wouldn’t suit us.
I can only assume some have the immaturity of not being able to admit anyone not wearing an Arsenal shirt is good. Maybe they live in a bubble and can’t see anything outside of North London?
To complete the set, last week Gilberto Silva said he would love Neymar to play for the Arsenal.
Again, the very same people who are happy for Eddie Nketiah to be on 100,000 pounds a week, put their nose up at one of the best talents in the world.
Whisper it quietly, all three would see Arsenal as a step down, not the other way round.
It would be like an average looking person telling the hottest girl in the room they are not interested when she hasn’t even given it a second thought.
I understand the fear of one superstar upsetting a close-knit dressing room.
Yet are we saying Arteta can’t work with big names, part of being a modern manager?
Is our boss only able to work with youngsters who won’t challenge him or have an ego as big as his?
Is that why he froze out the likes of Ozil and Aubameyang?
The irony being, for all their faults, those two won trophies for Arsenal.
While it’s great everyone is friends and has a laugh in training, the priority should always be winning.
Your chances of doing that increase by recruiting the best talent possible.
A Neymar has handled expectation his whole career.
An Mbappe doesn’t freeze under pressure.
Ronaldo isn’t crippled by the fear of failure.
Oh ….and they probably all would manage more the 4 league goals in 28 games!
Let me guess …. Eddie Nketiah still hasn’t had enough opportunities.
Time To Thank the Kroenke’s
A couple of articles went with this narrative. The notion being of course that after years of criticism, our owners now deserved credit.
My stance is it depends when you believe the Kroenke Family truly had power at the club?
The spin Josh Kroenke puts on the subject is only judge the current regime on when they officially owned 100 percent of the club in 2018.
In reality his father owned over 62 percent of the club since 2011.
So, for over a decade Stan Kroenke had a serious say on how the club should be run.
In that time, he saw a regression.
Our business model being only caring about top 4 to get Champions League revenue.
Once the TV contracts increased it no longer matters where Arsenal finished, he would make money off the brand itself.
He oversaw our worst league finish in 25 years, and zero European football for the first time in quarter of a century!
We had been promised we were leaving Highbury to compete with the ‘likes of Bayern Munich’.
Instead, 5th was being called progress.
Oh, and then there’s the Super League.
So, for someone to suggest I should be thanking the 75-year-old for that body of work is a disgrace.
Those asking for my thanks should have waited till we got over the line first.
I was even mocked, ‘didn’t you say we wouldn’t win the league under the Kroenke’s’.
Yes, I did!
And all these years later, I’m yet to be proven wrong.
FA Cup Exit
Some Gooners deflected from being knocked out of the FA Cup by saying they didn’t care about the competition.
That’s the same trophy we have won 5 times since we last lifted the Prem.
The one piece of silverware that put smiles back on our faces.
Of course, if we had beaten Man City in the 4th round, I imagine some’s stances would change?
Bizarrely some used our latest loss at the Etihad as proof that we were ready to defeat them in the League. It was almost like just because we kept the score down, we are taking some kind of moral victory.
In reality what I saw was us barely manage a shot on target.
Arsenal 1-3 Man City
Another Man City win, another time some Gooners put their own spin on things, not wanting to admit the truth.
Some celebrated the fact we were drawing at half time as progress, others pointed to how we dominated the possession stats.
What I saw was our players go missing in the second half letting a glorious moment pass them by, with Ederson not needing to make a save.
It was men against boys as they bullied us.
A clear example that mentally this was too big a step for one of the youngest squads in the division.
Yet when I wrote that at the time, many didn’t want to hear it.
That’s when I realised that some only want to hear what they want. That Arsenal is the best team in the world and are surrounded by rainbows and unicorns.
That’s not a reflection on the football community but society in general.
Made this point earlier in the week, but some of our fan base acted like Gary Neville had an agenda and was ‘anti Arsenal’.
This man gets paid a lot of money to offer his point of view, that’s literally his job.
So asked his prediction on the title race, this was his opinion …….
That Man City had a dressing room full of experience capable of putting a winning run together.
That we might not have enough leaders to cope with April and May when strange things happen.
That this title race could quickly fall away from us.
At the time, and now, I don’t see what he said that was so bad?
He was supportive of Arsenal, saying we should be excited and look at the positives when we went to the Etihad.
He’s gone on record numerous times saying what a great job Arteta has done and how the club have progressed.
He’s also resisted the need to say ‘I told you so’ with his forecast coming to fruition.
It sums up the world we live in.
Instead of grown adults listening to an alternative belief and having a constructive conversation, they only want free speech as long as they hear what they want. When they don’t, they try to cancel that person.
Ian Wright is just as biased a pundit as Mr Neville, yet Gooners don’t mind that?
Ramsdale was beaten by the halfway line leading to Sporting Lisbon winning the first ever penalty shootout at the Emirates.
Again, some Gooners seemed to deflect, like it was a weakness admitting they were disappointed.
A theory surfaced that there were positives to being out of Europe, that now Arteta could focus on just one competition playing once a week.
By contrast, surely Pep Guardiola would get distracted by fighting on all three fronts.
This seemed to be confirmed when we learned that had we progressed, we would have next faced Juventus over two legs, both sandwiched in between crucial league fixtures.
Suddenly now the idea of a Europa League Final doesn’t seem such a bad plan B to fall back on.
When and not if!
When analysing our run in I questioned would we have the mentality to win at Anfield?
Liverpool had only lost once in the league at home all season, including wins over both Manchester clubs, a stadium we last won in the League at in 2012.
Comments included ‘when and not if’ and ‘law of averages’.
I felt some Gooners disrespected the atmosphere of the Kop and the influence they have on a result.
It was a lack of humility, and many had to learn the hard way.
Be humble Gooners.
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