If Arsenal Win the League, It’s Not Their Fault

By on March 26, 2010

It’s been so long I’d almost forgot what it was like to be in a title race. I had forgotten about the constant gnawing in the back of my mind, the whispered prayers to the football gods while walking down the street, the feeling in the pit of your stomach like you swallowed an alarm clock. And all that is in-between fixtures. Watching Arsenal during the early and middle months of the season is a nerve-wracking experience for me as it is. But when each match means so much, as it does now, the matches alone become so mentally exhausting.

Knockout round fixtures in the Champions League and FA Cup are always the hardest to watch for me because our fate is so close yet so unknown. And now, with the shape of the title run-in and a Quarterfinal tie with Barcelona, this aspect is magnified. Arsene has the players understanding that every fixture from here on out is essentially a cup match and the supporters understand it too. I expect that by the end of the season, I will need two months to recover as well.

But enough about me. Let’s move on… I’m sure you guys have heard or read some pundit or other talking about how if Arsenal win the league, it’s only because of what Chelsea or United will have done and not due to the Arsenal at all. In an interview, John Terry said that he was shocked by Arsenal’s title challenge:

All of a sudden Arsenal have come from nowhere again. Ourselves and United have slipped up when we shouldn’t have done. When we beat them in November we were 11 points clear and I wrote them off. But fair play to them, they have had a few players out with injury and have a fairly young side. But they’re difficult to play against when the lower teams go to the Emirates. It is such a big pitch and the way they play, it’s difficult for the lower teams to deal with them.

First of all, we didn’t “come from nowhere.” We’ve always been there. If anything, Chelsea left for nowhere. But, like the media, Terry is already trying to minimize Arsenal’s title credentials by saying that Arsenal are only where they are because of what Chelsea and United have done. He’ just picking up the pundit line and it’s absolute rubbish. The fact is that Arsenal have been the most consistent side overall this season. Yes, we’ve lost to the big 4 but unlike Chelsea and United, we haven’t hit a run of 3 or 4 matches or more where we’ve totally lost the plot.

Terry also tried to say that the Emirates pitch has something to do with our league place, rather than what we do on it. The fact is that Arsenal have only one point less than Chelsea in away matches this season, but with an away game-in-hand. We’ve been top of the Away table for much of the season. This team has learned how to get results on the road, not just at home. It’s just another attempt at minimizing what Arsenal have done by offering “excuses” for Arsenal’s position in the title race.

Without any midweek matches, there wasn’t a whole lot of news but there are some encouraging things going on behind the scenes. Robin van Persie’s return continues to get closer as Wenger said he needs another “two to three weeks maximum” to regain his match-level fitness. Wenger was also keen to begin managing expectations ahead of time. I don’t think any of us expect Robin to walk back in and average a goal and an assist every two matches like he did before his injury. But just his presence alone should help lift the side a little bit and if he can help out on the pitch then that’s a bonus at this point.

In other news, the club’s appeal of Vermaelen’s sending-off was denied and the match ban upheld. This ruling essentially means that the League believes that you don’t even need to have possession of the ball to have a “clear goalscoring opportunity.” Ridiculously laughable or pathetically stupid… you decide. I would expect Wenger to start Song in place of Vermaelen at Birmingham tomorrow. Contract talks with Gallas and everyone else are being put on hold until after the season by order of Arsene Wenger.

So it is on to St. Andrews without Vermaelen and then Barcelona on Wednesday evening. This is crunch time for the Arsenal over the next 3-4 weeks and it is going to be very hard on my nerves.


  1. Freddy

    March 26, 2010 at 11:01 am

    I remember two seasons ago, when we threw away the title, no one in the media considered Manure ‘lucky’. I think its just a case of damage limitation for those pundits who wrote Arsenal off at the start of the season. They are all trying not to lose face and be made to look stupid if we win the league.

    • Djofils

      March 26, 2010 at 11:54 am

      Freddyyyy spot on mate

  2. ArsenalStation

    March 26, 2010 at 11:18 am

    Exactly, Freddy. When the shoe is on the other foot, it’s completely different.

  3. Notagoon

    March 26, 2010 at 11:21 am

    Maybe every one just hates arsenal

  4. Ian

    March 26, 2010 at 11:40 am

    Maybe everyone does hate Arsenal notagoon, is that because they’re jealous or scared? If this squad succeeds having been built on a fraction of what some others have spent it will have a lot of people soiling themselves. And for the record most neutrals that I know want Arsenal to win the league because they’re so damn good to watch. Most of the time.

    • Freddy

      March 26, 2010 at 11:44 am

      Ian, spot on mate.

    • ArsenalStation

      March 26, 2010 at 12:57 pm

      I think alot of it is jealousy. Neutrals do love to watch the Arsenal but supporters of the other big clubs tend to be jealous. And with good reason… their clubs are mired in debt, some are aging, some are just not as good as they used to be. Then they look at Arsenal, a club with no managerial changes, a new stadium with an easily manageable debt load, a young squad with an average age of 23 already contending for titles and getting deep in the CL knockout stages… If I was a supporter of any other club, I’d be jealous too. And the more they talk bad about the Arsenal, the more jealous I think they are.

  5. Matt

    March 26, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    Bang on the money. That’s why I want to win the league before in Europe. There are no excuses, whoever is top of the table at the end of the season is the best. Simple as that. No one will have gifted the title to anyone else, the 2nd, 3rd placed teams just weren’t good enough. Sorry Manure and Chelski

  6. DPT

    March 26, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    I thought it was only me that felt like that!! I,m not mental after all!! (well if i am, that makes us both mental)

  7. Paul Bessitch

    March 26, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    It is too early to say anything at the moment however, in six weeks times we shall see. At the moment, I am just praying and hoping that our players are focused. I am sure they are. God bless Arsenal.

    • ArsenalStation

      March 26, 2010 at 1:04 pm

      You know you really have to question someone’s knowledge of the game when they write a team off in November because they are down 11 points. This league has seen teams come back from bigger deficits than that from far later in the season more than a few times. I just don’t understand the culture on this issue. Here in America, no one would ever write off the Yankees or Red Sox, for example, for being a similar amount of games behind in May or even June. I can’t tell if it’s because Americans accept the idea that “anything can happen” in sports more than in England or if it’s just pundits trying to look like they know something that everyone else doesn’t. If it’s the latter, it makes no sense because they are continually proving themselves to be idiots by making such wild statements as that. It’s the same as when they say things like, “Arsenal can’t win the League.” But that’s just ridiculous. What they should say is, “Arsenal won’t win the League.” The first statement is just factually incorrect; the second is, properly, an opinion, which is what they are supposed to be espousing, however idiotic and uninformed.

      • Ian

        March 26, 2010 at 2:52 pm

        You make a good point there about the ‘pundits’. What beggars belief is how many sheep/morons read and listen to the crap they come out with and then start proffering the very same crap as fact in their own worlds. Whatever happened to making up your mind?

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  9. NTOBI

    March 27, 2010 at 5:33 am

    We are there bse of what we do.how we play,our commitment and focus.Them,they are where they are bse of complimentaries from the ref.It has nothing to do with our Emirates pitch,cause they won on the same pitch.It isnot on how the small teams fails to deal with us,but how they,fale terry, fails to deal with the small teams.If we win,then it is all upon us.ARSENAL forever.

    • baluku

      March 27, 2010 at 3:41 pm

      its agood comment ntobi. our player are well focused and committed but they are mentally torture by the english poor referees, they now know even though they play good at the end the results will not go to their side but luky enough they are doing it. even though ot today’s draw at st andrews we still have hope and am sure these guns shall make it.

  10. baluku

    March 27, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    here in Uganda almost 98% of football fans watch the premier league but to assure you, people are going away from this league due to poor refeering. even a person who does not support arsenal will tell the referee’s side. referees and their council should shot out themselves otherwise its too too too much.
    people are loosing hope in the league.[main factor “referees”]
    proud to be a gooner
    am baluku

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