We Get It Now

“If the game is not finished we know we can score at anytime. I was like a crazy man,” he [Alex Song] said. “I jumped everywhere. I was watching it with my son and he did not know what was happening. But when Nicklas scored I just said ‘yeeeeeessssssss’. The mentality has changed for us. Everyone has in their head that we need to do something this year. It is very important for us.”

Regular readers of my posts – all 6,000,000,000 of you – will recall that at various points this season I’ve asked if the players get it. I’ve wondered if they were really up for the fight. We haven’t won anything (yet) but I’ve got my answer.

Losing to United and Chelsea would have been knock-out blows for lesser teams. Arsene’s talk of spirit has become cliché (as opposed to Clichy (pronounced klee-shee), but you couldn’t tell by the way some English announcers butcher our no. 22’s surname, which grates my nerves like you wouldn’t understand). We’ve responded with six victories from seven matches – the lone defeat was redeemed resoundingly by a 5-0 thumping of Porto. And having won without our proper spine has not been the most impressive part of the recent run, for me it’s been how exciting and brave the matches have been.

I’d bet that the majority of fans who still complain about the way we’re winning are probably cynical beyond repair and it wouldn’t matter to them if we scored 6 goals in the first half and then cruised to victory. They’d still call Bendtner a cunt or say that Diaby and Song are not good enough. Some fans claim that scoring late goals only means that we still cannot take control of matches. Some say we lack a killer instinct and that’s why we leave it so late. I’ve even read that the reason it happens is because we’re just riding a wave of good fortune. Whatever the reason, I have no problem with winning late.

Football is about excitement. It is not about predictable outcomes. Hasn’t that been one of the selling points for the FA Cup? Giant-killing is one of the main reasons that competition is so alluring. Of course I’d like to score two goals in each half of a dominant performance but reality is like gravity, there’s no practical way around it.

Some say their hearts suffer from the excitement of our recent run of late drama. I know the manager has mentioned that notion in his post-match interviews, but we all know that he delights in seeing his side fight to the end, get their goal, and prove the critics wrong. Moreover, how can Arsenal fans complain or criticize the team for late victories when they are the perfect feel good scenario? If there’s anybody out there who walked away from the Stoke or Hull matches or even the Everton 2-2 draw at the Emirates with a frown on his/her face, your face should have worse than a frown placed on it.

Alex Song’s quote above is more evidence that the players get it. The importance of winning something this season cannot be over-stated. Some (as mentioned last summer) must surely feel that their Arsenal careers depend on it. Every Gooner has a wish-list of players they’d like Arsene to sign. I imagine every player has a wish-list of clubs they’d like to join or mangers they’d like to work with. At some point, Arsene will dip into that reported ₤80m and buy a couple ready-made players. Our current squad know that – no matter how much a family unit we have.

At the end of the day, business is business. If the resources are there, they will be used. It might take more challenging moments than we’ve experienced but let’s be clear, from next season on, money will have to be spent to either reinforce a successful squad or to replace dead weight.

For now, let’s enjoy the moment. This has been an exciting season if not an unpredictable one. I believe that those two elements are vital to a good football experience. I know people who’d rather be completely dominant, crushing all opponents. I get that. Some feel victory has to be comprehensive every time. I get that too. To complain when your team is on a good run because the goals are coming late in matches, I don’t get.

What’s more exciting than an injury time Arsenal victory?

Another injury time Arsenal victory.

Keep the Faith.


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