Strength and Depth: Arsenal March On

You have to have some depth in your squad to rest the kind of quality we rested last night. But it’s more than just the players who took a breather, who will therefore necessarily return refreshed and stronger for their recumbent relaxation, the significance of the sheer depth and quality of the squad Arsène has patiently put together is best exemplified by the example of Theo Walcott.

In recent seasons we would have missed Theo horribly. I believe that we have missed him this time and in fact would have been winning our games by a greater margin with him in the team. However the difference is that we haven’t needed to rush him back. Players are allowed to ease themselves back into fitness and contention. Players approaching the autumn of their careers to who’s form three matches a week would surely be injurious, can be omitted from the starting line up and then come back into it with the running and enthusiasm of younger men. Ask yourself what good it would have done to have rushed Theo back into the team after his operation, the weight of an expectant fan base on his fragile shoulders only for his stitches to burst and his spleen and various other significant organs to spurt down the front of his tunic spoiling the effect of the prettily designed red and white strip. This tasteless scenario was avoided because of the riches available to our illustrious leader and I think the gains will be long term and evidential.

In case you were wondering, I was planning to deliver one of my contemporaneous match reports but my wife contrived to find me something better to do and so I missed Nic Bendtner’s opening goal and spent a frustrating time stream chasing eventually finding myself in no fit mood to invent a match report for a game I couldn’t watch. However I caught up towards the end of the first half just in time to see Hull enjoy a few brief moments of possession in between our magical passing football. None of their moves amounted to much but I’m sure twitter went into meltdown because the opposition dared to have a go. I don’t join any social media based conversations during the match because people simply prove themselves, time and again, incapable of any calm sense of perspective or in fact the ability to actually enjoy the match they’re watching. Instead all you read are trotted out clichés about how we ‘need a second goal’ are ‘playing nice football but must kill off the game’, and how much they ‘hate Nic Bendtner but will support him as he’s wearing the shirt’. It is tiresome in the extreme and they need to get a grip on themselves.

Talking of our Great Dane, when I finally got to see the highlights of the first half I was amused to see how his goal (very very well taken) came at the end of some superb slick one touch passing culminating in contributions from two of the candidates for scapegoat of the season. Carl Jenkinson’s perfect run and cross and Nic’s beautifully skilful header were all the sweeter for those of us who support the entire Arsenal squad without the self serving need to add the word ‘but’ and some mealy mouthed qualification to that sentence. They are both excellent understudies to two extraordinarily good players. Carl has a huge future in the game, anyone who can’t see it is watching the wrong sport and Nic is a proven international goalscorer. Surely good enough qualifications for our or anybody else’s reserves?

I cannot talk about those who stepped up last night without a mention for one of my absolute favourite players in the first team squad. Nacho Monreal has accepted the second fiddle to Kieran Gibbs virtuoso Left back role with apparent equanimity. Never a murmur of discontent and always leaping from the subs bench to play out of position with an irrepressible enthusiasm and lively passionate ebullience and no little skill. I was delighted to see him given a start yesterday and I speak as one who has followed Gibbs career with a keen appreciation. I think if we have players of Monreal’s undoubted talent waiting in the wings we can put to bed the tired lie about us lacking depth in our squad. Theo, Jack, Mikel Arteta, Tommy Vermaelen, Bacary Sagna, Abou Diaby, Olivier Giroud, not in the starting line up last night and yet the team were scintillating.

All of this raises the question – what more do people want from our reserves? It really is pathetic how some supporters cannot just support without telling the world how important and hard won that support is, how the club and it’s staff must in some way ‘earn’ it. If you are one of those all I want to say to you is this. How about you just enjoy what the team have served up so far this season. How about you shut the fuck up and enjoy the beautiful football. How about you shut the fuck up and enjoy the wonderful goals. How about you shut the fuck up and enjoy the solid defending. How about you shut the fuck up and enjoy the winning runs. How about you shut the fuck up and just enjoy being top of the league.

Oh and if things start to go wrong and we suffer a dip in form and you are so distraught and spineless as to be incapable of getting behind the team when it needs you most, then how about you just shut the fuck up altogether.

About steww

Arsenal, books, photography, bass guitar, dog walking, mountain biking, being on the radio, writing, talking too much, failing, making mistakes, buggering on regardless.

26 comments on “Strength and Depth: Arsenal March On

  1. Fucking brilliant Steww, I’ve always wanted to tell the doomers to shut the fuck up in the way you have…..


  2. Spot on steww. At the game last night I heard someone behind giving forth about how Bendtner was going to be crap, I was so pleased he shut him up so quickly. I didn’t hear another word from him. The other thing that surprised me was that a scintillating game of football was going on and the guy next to me spent most of the match checking the scores from the other games on his mobile! If all he is interested in is the result, why take up a seat at the Emirates, that could have gone to someone who was prepared to support the team to victory and actually enjoy the feast of football that was being served up to them?


  3. passenal – you have hit on a theme to which I often return. If (as many many people often repeat) all that matters is the three points why watch any of the games at all? Just check the scores – if that’s all you care about. Of course the same people are often those who equate a disappointing score with a bad performance. As if a team never plays well and loses.
    In fact, why not ignore the entire thing until the last ball has been kicked and then just look at the league table?


  4. Passenal

    That’s unbelievable. What a twat. How can someone go to the a Grove and spend most of their time staring a live score app on their phone. Fuck me, what next…


  5. The lack of support for Nic was as predictable as it was disappointing.


  6. I wonder if I was standing beside you Passenal, I also had the benefit of some maggoty* type holding court about Bendy who was then, upsettingly (for him) obliged to follow Steww’s advice for the remaining 88.5 minutes of play.

    Nice one Steww, good piece and agree very much with your Monreal comments. Finally got to see him very close up yesterday; he’s an astonishingly skilful player and no-one should be fooled by his apparent mild manner, I think he’ll become a big name for us over coming seasons.

    *thanks due to Anicol for recent use of ‘magot’ term; perfect for describing those capable only of eating away at our team and our club.


  7. Glad NB23 answered in the best possible way… an early well taken goal… No less


  8. On the money Steww. I have slowly weaned myself off Twitter during games for two reasons: (1) it is impossible to truly appreciate the game when reading the mostly inane, smarty-pants commentary while thinking of some some equally snarky response; (2) I am at risk of making some awful snap judgment in the heat of battle, which I have done. Post game and between halves is sufficient.

    At least I have an ally in the STFU department.


  9. BTW: When I heard Big Bendy was starting I had visions of a hat-trick and it almost came to past. Well played Nic.
    As George said on Twitter, post game, at the rate we are going somebody soon will be at the end of a cricket score. Up the Arsenal.


  10. haha steww! brillliant…shadafaqup …thats right…

    we all love the 3 points….we all do….but we also love the rosickyozilcazorlramseymonrealflamini passing it and moving like….tron legacy..whata team ..inside ourstadium..crowd starting to create atmo …still infant stage but it is happening..love it..

    with bus or train or car
    and i dont care how far
    forever i will sing for arsenaaal


  11. Didn’t spot PG’s post-game cricket score tweet as I travelled home last night but that is exactly what I’ve been thinking these last two or three weeks. There have been just so many games when we have been within small fractions of scoring four, five even six goals.

    Watching MOTD ahead of the midnight starting cricket, I was bemused to see they have finally found a pundit who thinks AFC have any kind if chance of winning the league. This came after a weekend appearance on the same show by Danny Murphy who admitted he’s only seen footage of AFC playing three or four times this season …

    I have been minded very much of remarks made by Alan Sugar in his excellent autobiography where he compares the football media with the business press. In a nutshell – and bearing in mind he owned the Spuds for over a decade having already made his fortune in business – his withering assessment of the footballing media community is that they are basically, in general, thick.

    If you now regard the media through Sugar’s ‘thick’ prism, aside from explaining away many mysteries of judgement, it would suggest it may take a cricket score by AFC before these thickos get up to speed on the club’s prospects.

    And given that so many of our own followers appear to take their lead from printed media headlines …


  12. I’ve only seen the highlights on the Arsenal Player, and have yet to properly dissect the press reaction, but notwithstanding the excitement of the Bendtner goal, surely the second goal and the telepathy between Ozil and Ramsey deserves greater mention than it seems to have attracted thus far.


  13. Great stuff Steww

    Having watched the highlights last night there really was some beautiful flowing, fast football with Hull just spinning in the middle and reduced to spectators.

    My own STFU moment on Bendtner came in the Southampton game a few minutes before our second goal. The whiner behind me, who had not enjoyed a moment of the afternoon, sprang into life as he saw Ozil’s number come up on the board and the blond haired sub going through his paces with the fourth official. He cursed Bendtner, announced we were doomed and the three points certainly lost , that bringing on the Dane was the equivalent of playing with ten men etc.

    It was nice to turn round and explain it was Monreal coming on not Nick.


  14. Steww,

    The game is up on the .com now, I’d recommend watching those first twenty minutes when you can. Incredible.


  15. fins – I’m on it now!


  16. Jeez. It comes to something when a player as good as Tomáš Rosický doesn’t stand out. Tells you something about how good the entire team is nowadays.


  17. I was at the game last night and thought Bentner got a decent ovation,we were positively purring at times,Ozil looks like he’s found his spiritual home with us-the interplay with TR7,Santi & Rambo was quite something, it would be a crime if this team doesn’t go on to win something,I think they might though..


  18. If a winner like you approves Mel then I think we’ll be OK


  19. Sorry, this off topic but may be of interest:

    Any gooner wanting a really handsome Christmas present (either for yourself or a very special Gooner friend) could do worse than bid for a first UK edition of Fever Pitch inscribed by both Nick Hornby AND also by Michael Thomas on the “It’s up for grabs” page. It’s lot 339 at Dominic Winter Auctions on the 12th December. http://issuu.com/jammdesign/docs/dw101-106?e=1975639/5817314
    Within this lot there’s another USA 1st edition copy of Fever Pitch. In addition, there are various other books (some signed) of Hornby’s.

    Signed copies just by Nick (and no Mick) of the 1st UK edition are currently being offered for upwards of 500 pounds. Estimates for this batch 200-300 pounds.


  20. Thing is if SAF was still at Man U,I can see how they could easily have won yesterday’s game and be hailed as upcoming champs and all that… be sure they would have won yesterday’s game or at least had drawn cos a number of calls including the falls in the box would have won the penos at OT which SAF was to get… just one or two that make a difference in a game… The opposition is upset or else afraid to tackle as Dowd did against us in that Newcastle game


  21. “It could’ve been an embarasing evening when this lot are playing like they are.”
    – Steve Bruce


  22. Not feeling like a winner today Stew,I thought it would be a good idea to bring a hip flask of single malt with me last night but was at the game with 3 fellas who for different weren’t drinking,coupled with the beers I drank..it’s half past 4 and I still haven’t got out of bed..I’m not winning,but the team are!


  23. It was a magnificent performance. To rest five players and maintain that level of cohesion; creating chances at will and allowing Hull barely a sniff at our goal, takes a very talented and well managed squad.

    So lacking in depth are we that our paltry bench last night was: Fabianski, Vermaelen, Gibbs, Arteta, Wilshere, Walcott, Giroud. How embarrassing.

    Another testing week lies ahead. Much like the last big week we had it begins at home against a team from Liverpool, ends with a trip to Manchester, and has a European away game in between. Man City looks like a very difficult match given their recent form and it being our third game in six days, as Arsene pointed out last night. The fixture list has not been kind to us, grouping all these difficult games together. The same thing happens to us again in February (Liverpool and Man Utd three days apart) and March (Spurs, Chelsea, Man City and Everton all in a row).


  24. Poor Mel. Was it a decent malt?


  25. Foreverheady: “surely the second goal and the telepathy between Ozil and Ramsey deserves greater mention than it seems to have attracted thus far.”

    I loved that entire move. The little push pass Ozil gave to Ramsey, the way Ramsey dribbled past his defenders, the little ghosted run into the box from Ozil and finally the caviar from Ramsey. Ozil’s finish was the icing on the cake.

    I remember the commentator moaning at El Hamadi for not tracking his defender, but Ozil started trotting slowly toward the penalty spot before he signaled to Ramsey and made the darting little run. El Hamadi was simply left for dead in the Wengerball tornado.

    By the way, did anyone catch that bit of xenophobia by Tony Gale? He credited Ozil for not writhing on the floor in pain for the foul, nay hack, Figueroa committed on him and went on to smear the shit out of foreign players by saying that most of them fake injuries in order to book other players.


  26. Teamspirit: “Thing is if SAF was still at Man U,I can see how they could easily have won yesterday’s game and be hailed as upcoming champs and all that… be sure they would have won yesterday’s game or at least had drawn cos a number of calls including the falls in the box would have won the penos at OT which SAF was to get… just one or two that make a difference in a game… The opposition is upset or else afraid to tackle as Dowd did against us in that Newcastle game.”

    I was so accustomed to Manure being bailed out at Old Trashfford that I was expecting the ref to whistle for a penalty from the 77th minute forward. Thankfully, it was Januzaj who was diving in the box and not Rooney. I was quite surprised the ref swallowed his whistle the way he did.

    Oh, and another reason why I suspect the ref didn’t call a peno is because Manure were being played off the park in the last quarter of an hour of the game.

    Did anyone see Lukaku man handle Vidic? He made Vidic look like Johnny Evans.


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