Arsenal have not been favoured by the media for a number of years now. They are usually deep inside the sports pages almost as if they are not worthy of a mention and more often than not, they are to be found down the pecking order on MOTD.
I’ve spent many a frustrated night waiting for the 5 or 6 minutes of severely edited highlights that are distortions of the actual match itself. That’s usually followed by the glum Alan Shearer and his disapproving comments.
That’s not a surprise because the former Geordie striker, with the charisma of an undertaker, is not, in any shape or form an Arsenal fan. The antidote to that particular scenario is provided by effervescent Ian Wright, a Highbury sweetheart and committed Arsenal man.
So, with the season going better than expected, it was the turn of Paul Merson and Craig Bellamy to apply the boot into the gunners campaign on Sky Sports ‘The debate’
Merson immediately burst any premature bubbles of optimism that Arsenal fans may have had about their current form and a top four finish, when he said
“Sooner or later they will be on the end of a big score – defensively they are all over the place,”
“The one thing that gets them out of trouble is that they’re always going to score goals. But defensively, they are just not good enough.”
Bellamy was less concerned with form and focused on the Arsenal fans when he joined the discussion
“Arsenal were brilliant under George Graham, then Arsene Wenger took them onto another level. But because the last few years haven’t been as good, they [Arsenal fans] think they’ve got their club back? I don’t get it.”
“I’ve not understood Arsenal fans for the last three or four years. Arsenal are an unbelievable football club. They’ve always had a certain class about them, incredible, the marble everywhere at Highbury, there was a certain standard about that football club.
“The fans were always switched onto everything but in the last few years they’ve disappointed me – maybe that’s just where football is now. Every club that has won a trophy believes they have a right to win all the time.”
Well what’s the point of supporting a club isn’t it ? if there’s no ambition in the club or within the fan base, it would be a pretty pointless exercise to turn up every week to pay the wages of players such as Bellamy, during his lean spell at Liverpool.
It’s never stopped Liverpool thinking they had the right, they are a massive club with a fabulously rich history and without question the club and its supporters have a genuine right to believe and to dream.
Do players assume they can’t win every match ? Do they go into a game thinking that a point is better than nothing ? Of course not.
Some of the most spectacular results have been when the team least expected to win, shreds up the form book to pull off the unexpected.
That’s surely what the makes the premier league so admired and watchable to millions of fans around the globe.
By Bellamy’s logic, once you’ve won something, you shouldn’t expect to push in and win more. I’m sure Pep Guardiola, manager of Manchester City, tells his players before a match
“ We’ve one the league so don’t go expecting another one soon !”
The Welshman sounds completely ridiculous with his ill conceived comments and general lack of understanding of the fans perspective.
I’m also not exactly sure why Bellamy expressed disappointment in the Arsenal fans but it’s clear that he has no comprehension of the frustrations endured by them over the last ten seasons.
During those years, they witnessed the breakup of a winning team from 2004 and every time someone came knocking for a star player, they were sold off without any regard for the supporters or the potential impact on the l team. THATS WHY !
Bellamy may also be unaware of the Kroenke factor and that the supporters distrust its American owner and his board for what they see as woeful neglect and mismanagement.
Merson is less confusing and slightly more predictable, assuming the role of an emotionally rejected lover. Arsenal refused to give him a long term contract extension in 1996/97 season and he went off to relegated Middlesborough.
One suspects, it’s still a source of irritation and has tainted his ability to retain perspective.
Merson is Soccer Saturdays hapless pundit, endlessly predicting things that never actually happen.
He is not as enthusiastic as the brilliantly animated Ian Wright nor is he as considered as the wonderfully Neanderthal Martin Keown,
Merson adds a pinch of doom and gloom to every aspect of Arsenal’s current game. Yes, he’s right that Arsenal’s defence is vulnerable but I’m sure that Emery is aware of that particular fact and will either change things as necessary or buy reinforcements at the first available opportunity.