At last we can all be proud to be a Gooner again

Proud To Be A Gooner? by Dan Smith

I normally do not like to submit articles on a match day, as depending on your emotion you can go over the top in your positivity or negativity. It’s better to get some sleep, clear your head and you have a better perspective.

I don’t think though it’s an exaggeration to say, at least for one day, we can all be proud to be a gooner again.

It might still end in tears. We will be the underdogs no matter who wins the other semi-final, yet as a fanbase who have had nothing to smile about all season, let us enjoy this moment.

I’m not sure this squad deserve a winners medal, yet they are one win away from writing themselves into our proud history. If we win the FA Cup, it’s possible it would paper over a lot of cracks.

The biggest worry is Stan Kroenke looks at our performance at Wembley and decides we don’t need new defenders after all.

The fact is Arteta has shown this past week that he can get the best out of average talent, can coach them and teach them new tactics. Imagine what he could do if he was allowed players that he identifies?
Uni Emery also got us to a final, so it doesn’t guarantee anything, yet you sense a presence about Arteta. The way he speaks, instructs on the touchline, even at water breaks … he’s being listened too.
This is clearly a young man with ambitions who believes in his own ideas. He just wants the resources to take this journey as far as possible.

It’s never nice seeing your team concede so much possession like we have done in our last two games. It’s a reflection of how far we have fallen behind the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City, especially as for over two decades we were a side who prided ourselves on our ability to keep the ball.

Yet a top coach recognises your limitations, and Arteta has been honest enough to know we are no longer at their level. So, in the past week, he came up with individual game plans to outsmart Klopp and Guardiola. Don’t take that for granted. When was the last time you associated Arsenal with a tactical master class?

Use the City game as an example. We had lost our last 7 games to the Citizens, only one of those times them failing to score 3 times. We always acted like we were beaten in the tunnel, doing the same approach and expecting different results. That’s not a criticism of Mr Wenger. He would have so much belief in his footballing ethos, he grew stubborn, believing his principles were not worth sacrificing.

That’s why I said getting this group to believe was Arteta’s biggest obstacle, as our record against the top 5 away from the Emirates is poor.

Let’s get this right, we didn’t just park the bus at Wembley. If that was Jose Mourinho or Rafa Benitez it would be called a tactical masterpiece. To do that, you need everyone to buy into your beliefs. He said the right things when getting the job but is backing that up with his actions. He will only play those who share his vision (hence Ozil and Guendouzi not in the squad).

Arteta is a Gooner and wants people to be proud of the club. Under the previous regime, Xhaka and Mustafi were heading for the exit door, now they are producing their best form. Compare David Luiz’s performances within a month against the same opponent. It takes man-management to get Luiz to play like that.

Tierney has been taught to transition from a centre back to then popping up down the left wing
Dropping Holding and Saka were decisions he would have been questioned about had we lost, but he was justified.

Could we lose to Man United or Chelsea? Of course?

Could the same back 5 that was amazing this week make mistakes next week? Of course?

Will our owner be convinced he has a manager he should invest in? He probably didn’t even know we were playing!

Yet all we ask is that our players fight for the badge, give everything. So, for the first weekend in a while, we got our Arsenal back.

I’m proud to be a Gooner…

Dan Smith


  1. You are right Pat. That has been the biggest change Arteta has brought. A pride playing for the club and a fight that we all have been going on about that has been missing.

    I liked the way the team battled for each other, covering and getting in the way of those final balls.

    I have always been proud to be an Arsenal fan but over the years a frustrated one.

    Once again I see a team giving their all and as well as the club proud of our current squad. I hope the squad can now show consistency. Bring in a couple of players in the window to bring strength and depth and challenge next year.

  2. Oh well if you could write this about him, maybe you’re seeing the bright side once again, because you’re the pioneer of calling him a yes-man and insisting that’s the only reason he got the job.

    Winning the FA cup will just be a consolation prize for this season. For me this season ended months ago. I’ve openly said I see the rest of the season as pre season training for Arteta from the day he got the job.
    Everything we struggled to do under Emery, we’re doing easily with hardwork now.
    I don’t think fans appreciate what he’s done so far enough.
    Personally I was a bit disgusted and angry some fans called him out and all sorts of names after losing against Spurs. I mean he lost one game in seven matches and everyone suddenly acted like we were iiin the relegation zone.
    This is someone who came in during our worst moment as a football club, all the toxicity between fans and players, fans and the management. The level of toxicity was damaging, and he came in and had it all cleared out, created a relationship between the fans and ignited a positive vibe between fans and among the players.
    Got Xhaka to stay and finally helped him maximized his abilities. Xhaka is one of the most important players in the squad right now, like I’ve said countless times, I don’t want to lose this current Xhaka. If you think he still needs to be sold then you’re delusional.
    This current Xhaka would walk into the Chelsea team, would easily replace Gundogan at City. They share same duties anyway.
    When was the last time he made a rash mistake, last time he got a red? Or had a bad game?
    And all of this is down to the coach.
    Another one is Mustafi…
    I don’t know about the rest of you, but like I’ve always said, I don’t have the energy to absorb negativity with everything happening around us.
    Call me an addict for belief and free spirit… I’m hooked on the feeling

    1. Second that Eddie, to think that mourinho and ancelottiwere the preferred choice by some of our fans!!!

      We are a completely different club and fanbase form just seven months ago.

    2. Can I clarify , it was a cheap option from Koronke and I maintain that
      That though is not Arteta’s fault
      It’s not how you get the opportunity, it’s what you do with it

  3. For too long the art of defending was utterly disrespected at Arsenal. It’s so refreshing to see it again. Kudos for Arteta identifying what the weakest area of our game was.

        1. Should’ve known.. once the commentators started reeling off all these high scoring results, then said they were all in the spuds’ favour,… just knew it was gonna be crap!!

  4. Well constructed and thought out article DAN and this type of rare quality(not rare from you , but by certain others) always impresses me. What MA has achhieved is to actually make the proverbial silk purse from the sows ears of Mustafi, Luiz and Xhaka. They were all immense yesterday and though I cannot conceive that MA thinks ANY of those sows ears players to be remotely good enough permanently, he has achieved a near miracle in a short time. He himself is the REAL hero from yesterday, in my book.

    The danger is, as you say, that Kroenke in his total ignorance of football will say that we made the Cup Final so no investment is needed , thus proving his complete unsuitability to be involved in the world sport in ANY way, let alone as owner of a great club.
    I will be honest and say that as keen as I am for improvement next season, I am at least as keenly watching the hopeful catastrophic damage to Kroenkes sports portfolio. esp as it is in the USA. a country in the grip of a maniac President who is killing the economy by refusing to take the pandemic seriously.
    As a chess player I have always looked several moves ahead in life planning and I know what has dawned on only the brightest Gooners; that until Kroenke is forced out, our long term hopes are strictly limited. I foresee the pandemic aftermath forcing Kroenke to sell AFC within two years time, hopefully much sooner and THEN and ONLY THEN, can we actually expect success at real top level. We need this evil owner gone and where he can do not more damage to our club.

    1. Couldn’t agree more … the highest we can hope for assuming results go our way will be 7th … I am guessing we will end up 8th … that would on any criteria be a poor season … if we win the cup it would turn that in to a commendable first season for arteta but without some large summer investments and no exit of big players we would be a club hoping to get back in to the top 6 Next season … with repeat cup glory … Being behind man utd and spuds ain’t a place we should be celebrating

  5. Great game.
    In the first half City only had two chances, created by Mustafi and Bellerin. As usual. Much ball, but not much action in front of the Asn’l goal. Typical that the always sweet little Mister Sterling tried to get a penalty in the second. VAR must be a nightmare for the kid. I mean, no footballer is good enough as an actor to fool a slow motion camera. It was so obvious that he “fell” after Mustafis contact with him and the ball, when the chance was gone. He ‘s a little stinker, isn’t he? But you’re right, John, even if both Xhaka and Mustafi yesterday played over their normal standard, they’re not good enough for the Asn’l starting XI. In a 30 men squad, maybe. We must have better players. At least one very good CB and a top class defensive midfielder, and an offensive one as well. And some money to make Auba happy. Yes, please, Sir Stanley. Be generous. Don’t be a Trump.

  6. This is what some of us have been asking for for a long time from our players.
    Just show a bit of fight on that pitch and we can all appreciate.
    You can have the talent you want in the world but if you have a poor attitude and application then that talent will not be enough.

    We are more appreciative of the players right now because they are showing that willingness to fight to the last minute. What more can one ask for? As long as they are giving their best even if tge talent is not there then we can’t blame them.

    To me hardwork, application and attitude to fight comes first. Tired of passengers.

    So proud of my club at the moment.

    1. Goonster, So good to read a comment from someone who knows what is MOST important. Without REAL desire, no player is any use; the best or rather worst example of that is idle OZIL, WHO HAS NOT WORKED FOR FIVE SEASONS. THAT IS WHY I CALL HIM A FRAUD. Picking up money under false pretences

  7. Dan, a good article to read (yet again) and some points to raise from it.

    First of all, I have always been proud to be a Gooner – walking round a near empty Highbury as a lad, never put me off this club.
    It was the history, the rivalry with the spuds, the cannon and the red and white shirts that sold me and I have never regretted it.

    Secondly, as a general viewpoint, it was the fans who thought Xhaka and Mustafi were no good, myself included regarding the latter.
    All three managers involved since they signed had faith in them, so, in hindsight, those of us who criticized them should take a step back and appreciate just what kind of players they are and why they were bought…that includes Luiz as well, another player I thought was over the hill, but Arteta seems to have proved me wrong once again.

    You are absolutely correct in reminding us how bullish we were in the europa league final – but there was already a feeling that UE was not the man to lead us forward and so it proved.

    I certainly agree that MA is such a positive manager and your examples of Ozil and Guendouzi prove the point, likewise AMN and Lacs I would add.

    Unlike UE, who just couldn’t manage our players, MA takes them head on and, let’s be honest, that is what it should be in a football club.
    There should/could/would only be one winner in this scenario and I am absolutely behind him.

    Finally, I would suggest that we all remember where we are result wise however – the new regime have spent over £200 million on new players since UE came to the club and we need to keep our feet firmly on the ground – let’s remember, apart from Luiz, Ceballos, Tierney and Pepe, the rest of the squad were described as dross and mentally weak and couldn’t defend.
    They include Ramsey, Koscielny, Ozil and Sanchez…all of whom have been part of the incessant ridiculing that a section of our fans delight in doing.

    Wenger went on to win the cup, after defeating city and chelsea against all the odds and against the opinions of some of our fans….just like yesterday I should add!!!

    Let’s just hope that MA can equal the result of AW and, if he doesn’t, still support him to the hilt, as we have, in my opinion, possibly the greatest manager in the making in today’s football.
    Gracias Mikel Arteta, you have rescued our club and our players.

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