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…