Identity, Maturity, Stability

One of the reasons why Arsene Wenger had a terrible time with The Negatives last season is that most of the players he’s chosen to rebuild the team with are still developing their identities as footballers. The non-believers felt great disappointment that The Invincibles were replaced by a bunch of kids. Many came to the club with ample skills, a good reputation, and the potential to be very good footballers. Some even look like they can become excellent players, but that is not enough.

The Negatives want success now. They see United and Chelsea lifting trophies year after year. Ferguson’s teams have always been identifiable. Chelsea have become a powerful force. We haven’t won anything since Patrick’s last kick in an Arsenal uniform.

Identity comes through a combination of repeated actions and a sameness in character that typifies an individual. Consistency is a major part of building an identity. Believing in yourself also plays an important role in defining who you are. Wenger has unwavering belief in his players – partly because he doesn’t want to undermine their psychological development and partly because confidence is contagious.

The Negatives might argue that the only consistency they’ve seen in recent seasons is the lack of success every year we’ve used kids.

The time has come for this group to develop its identity. Alex Song, Abou Diaby, Aaron Ramsey, Armand Traore, and Samir Nasri were all outstanding today. We’ve seen injury after injury threaten our title hopes but here we are, still right there apace with the leaders. Of course it helps that the teams above us are dropping points, but nobody can deny that this group is handling its business pretty well at the moment.

Another key factor is the young players’ maturation process. It is helped by Wenger’s willingness to play them young. The introduction of Craig Eastmond will add to his confidence while at the same time provide him with a sense of accomplishment.

Accomplishment brings responsibility. Responsibility brings maturity. Wenger is a serious man. He doesn’t have time for the Quincys of the world.

Stability is the hardest of the three. We seem to have a little more of it recently and much more of it than last season. We’ve been winning and showing the firm character that champions must have. Sunderland, West Ham, and Burnley must not be repeated.

Avenging defeats to Man City, United, and Chelsea will be a test that establishes this team’s identity, shows maturity, and helps establish stability. Those fixtures are down the road. Next is West Ham in the Cup. We must punish them.

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