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Who Comes First – The Arsenal Team Or The Arsenal Fans?

A guest post from Arse or Brain (@arse_or_brain)


The answer to this question can be different not only in people’s opinion but also the context in which you ask it.  After a very quiet stadium against Crystal Palace I had a very heated discussion with a friend I have been following Arsenal with around the country and abroad over the last 30 years.  You would imagine after such time our views would align, much like women’s periods.  However, on the subject of whether the fans should inspire the team – or the team should inspire the fans – we are poles apart.

While this issue will never be black and white, each are incumbent upon each other to inspire in certain situations and to a greater or lesser extent depending on what the occasion demands, I feel the greater responsibility should always be on the supporter to do all they can to lift whatever performance they are watching.

Apart from the embarrassment of the small amount of away fans out-singing the rest of the stadium every home game, I feel players should ride on a wave of noise towards the 100% performance to which we all aspire.

It is why home games used to have such an advantage.  It is why away teams are told – regardless of tactics – silencing the home fans is first on the list.  It is why teams like to attack their loudest end in the second half and it is why many goals are scored in the final minutes when the crowd are “sucking the ball in to the net.”

Will paying players more money increase their performance?

Will guilting them into a performance by booing them work, or will staying quiet, or grumbling, lift their game?

No, actually roaring them on is the most effective way to make them fly.

I have often heard the argument the players should give the crowd something to cheer and in some circumstances I agree. However when a stadium is still from the start of the game, playing at 100% must be more difficult.  I would also ask why, with all the modern media around, someone would want to spend money and time not supporting the team?  Do you sit mute and wait for something magical to happen or do you sing your heart out to try and inspire that magic?

The problem has been acknowledged by some fan groups with both RedAction and A.I.S.A talking to the club and making suggestions to improve atmosphere.  The teen for a tenner section is normally very vocal and the singing section at least produces songs from one part of the ground.  These initiatives on their own are not nearly enough and at the moment we have a top class stadium, a top class team but the *HOME fans are bottom of a very poor league.

*The emphasis is on home because our away fans are second to none.

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129 comments on “Who Comes First – The Arsenal Team Or The Arsenal Fans?

  1. paul, you are right. but we need players to stand up to them. they bully many of our players today.

    another positive today is city droping points. we are second rather than third.
    I notice gibbs is not yet fit. we need our players fit for the war ahead. war!

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  2. I watched the game again.

    Brenda played a narrow, deep lying, counter attacking 4-1-2-2-1. He neutralized our with and overwhelmed our midfield. However, none of that would have been possible if they hadn’t scored those two set piece goals.

    I applaud Brendan Rodgers for being humble enough to know he has a shit side and playing to his players’ strengths.

    Hopefully, this win goes to their heads and they get the shit kicked out of them by a clever manager.

    I’m sure the boys will learn a huge lesson from this.

    Can we please have a post game discussion about tactics instead of the usual crap about the whiners? I’ll even write it if you ask me to.

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  3. Crazy result but at this point in time this is a one-off. Mert and Kos haven’t lost a match playing together in ages so this match is hardly an indication that we suddenly became crap. Nevertheless the boys do need a good talking to and maybe the next training session should be headed by Bouldy and involve running through the woods for 30 km without any breaks. I am convinced we will come back stronger and, if it wasn’t the red Mancs, I would feel seriously sorry for the next team we have to play.

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  4. Go on and write it then.
    It would be a good idea to get urine tested. I want to know what they were drinking before today’s game..

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  5. That was all a bit weird. The writing was on the wall after two seconds: they anticipated the whistle (false start) and closed us down leading to a fifty yard hopeful pass. Next thing we know they have been gifted a free kick because Suarez couldn’t accelerate past Per, and from that they scored the first from a clear offside position. So within 90 seconds three decisions have gone against us, and it all went horribly downhill from there. Just about everyone was poor but this can happen and although it is clearly everybody’s fault sometimes in sport it is nobody’s fault and a horror story match doesn’t mean the team is suddenly bad or the season derailed.

    They need to get back to London asap, have a beer and a curry, spend all day tomorrow thinking about themselves and turn up on Monday ready to bleed for the success they all say they want.

    I have no doubt whatsoever that they will.

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  6. That would be nice gains.

    Wenger said it best, the players were naive.

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  7. Well to be wise after the event i have to admit that we have had a number of slack first half displays, at home as well as away, which we have got away with and generally ended up romping through the second half and bagging the points.

    Well if we have had a bit of good fortune in recent weeks with that approach Fate paid us back fully in the opening 20 minutes

    2nd half, as always, we bucked up – too late the hero

    Did I say something about football being endlessly unpredictable and fascinating last week ?

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  8. i wonder how chelski will cope if they suddenly lose hazard to two months injury. they have been lucky with injuries this season. just look at the performance of city in recent games just because they lost two and a half key players to injuries. but arsenal with their limited resourses have lost ramsey, arteta, ox, cazorla, poldi, wilshere, gibbs to injuries at some points this season. walcott only feature in thirteen league games this season. yet we are still second on the table.

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  9. Interesting dilemma for next Sunday’s match which, presumably, we unexpectedly go into as underdogs !

    A great opportunity to put today’s disappointment firmly behind us but it will require our very best 11 playing at 100% for 90 mins

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  10. Thanks guys, and thanks for your sense: you have helped me go from total gloom to at least a sense of something being possible. Which of course is exactly how it should be if you are daft enough to pledge your immediate happiness to a group of hopeful 20 year olds.

    And why that should be a sensible thing to do defies any kind of rational explanation, as it’s not like as if everything else in my life is hopeless – in fact far from it, given that my immediate family is doing OK. Sense a little blog coming on…

    but I am totally distraught, upset beyond measure. And I haven’t even gone near Twitter – would have almost happily exchanged banter with the mousers, taken it good and hard because I would expect that in reverse, and that is how it ought to be. But just for once I can’t go near the ” he should have spent, he can’t do tactics, he’s lining his pockets” brigade.

    Jeepers, I’m not stupid. I know our weaknesses, I know that with AW’s visionary strengths come appalling short-term vulnerabilities, I know what each player sometime can’t do. And yes, shamefully, I sometimes see the directness of other sides and wish we could carve people open with two touches. And hope that one of us would effortless muscle someone off the ball before advancing 10 yards swiftly and then splitting the defence with a goal scoring pass. Or get just one chance and do something extraordinary from 23 yards. Or kick the most dangerous opponent up in the air and simply be greeted with a shake of the head and a lads will be lads shrug of the shoulders.

    Of course I want those things, just as I wanted us to sign all of those players that everyone else tells me would be the answer. And worst of all, absolutely worst of all, I sometimes want Piers Morgan to crow and shout and tell me that The Arsenal are the greatest team etc. because we have shoved it up City, have taken it to Chelsea, have sp….d all over Untied. And I want to think that my team is a great team, a team of winners, and that everyone I know tells me that every Monday. And I shrug, and I say thanks, and Piers and I exchange smug little DMs.

    But it doesn’t happen like that. I am left with my team, my group of vulnerable heroes – but also my set of fans who still shout at the end and cheer a pointless penalty. And my set of equally useless and loyal supporters who will turn up tomorrow, on Monday, next week, next year and forever. And who will think, feel and argue – and write and tweet and chat and whatever else hasn’t been invented yet but surely will by the end of next week. And I thank all of them for that, for we all know how much it hurts but somehow if it doesn’t hurt it isn’t ever worthwhile. We need moments in the dark to enjoy the briefer times in the light.

    Or so I tell myself, so thanks to you all: to the players, to the coaches, to the manager – to the fans. We were spectacularly useless today, but next week we might be brilliant, and every single one of us holds that hope just where it matters.

    All we need to do is remain positive, for believe me, we will be far the greatest team, the world has ever seen.

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  11. I’m all for forgetting about games like this or any lose for that matter and concentrating / preparing for the next game in four days time. No point running that episode in their head over and over.
    But someone on the coaching staff must view the game again and again to see if this result happened due to a miss match in lineups and / or any other contributing factor. This kind of thing can’t happen again no way no how. Not from a team leading the pack with title aspirations.

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  12. Here’s my post.

    Given how Liverpool made no moves to supplant the numerous players they have out through injury, they are the same squad Arsenal mauled at the Ems just a few months ago. So what is different today? Simply put, Brendan Rodgers made lemonade with some Lemons that were rotting in the back of his fridge. He deployed a narrow, deep-lying 4-1-4-1 in order to compensate for the loss of Lucas Leiva and the two fullbacks (Johnson and Luis Enrique) who are out injured.

    Rodgers got around his lack of a holding midfielder by telling Flanagan and Cissokoh not to cross the halfway line unless completely necessary. Naturally, this gave them less width, so they have to make up for it in some way. That other way was pulling Coutinho, Henderson and Sterling infield in order to outnumber our two central midfielders on the counter. Gerrard was simply there to hit long passes to the strikers, to take set pieces and act as another body if we happened to breach their cocoon. Up front, Suarez was made to play just in the gap between Monreal, Koscielny and the central midfielders. Suarez did the same, except he was a bit more forward and on the opposite side.

    They gave us all the width we wanted because they were only interested in owning the middle. And since we’re a team which likes to cut in, this played right into their hands. All of the goals they scored from open play were almost identical. They sat back and waited for us to attack them. They would dispossess whichever Arsenal player had the ball and they were off to the races. Their narrow shape gave them enough numbers to overwhelm the midfield and they hit us through the same opening time after time. For those of you who aren’t lucky enough to live in the tropics, now you know what a cyclone feels like.

    As far as what the pundits and the talking heads are concerned, this doesn’t make us shit. This game was won by a team who drilled this formation over and over and over again. Every one of their players executed their parts exceptionally well. This result was a huge surprise for the players and it will be a huge surprise for the other teams who face Liverpool from this point forward. Unlike Chelsea, Rogers didn’t play two lumps in the middle, he played a few skinny kids who have speed and good ball control. My hats off to Brendan Rogers and Liverpool.

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  13. Well done and thanks. Now to read it and see if we see the same things. Try to have a fun weekend everyone. Nevertheless. Team will hit back and tomorrow is another day.

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  14. no miss match. they satrted strongly( very strong in fact) while we were still warming up…….we were always second ont he ball and 5-10 metres away from ball/liverpool midfielders, for tat i blame arteta.. suarez is a killer who doesnt forgive. he created 2 or three today. and had he scored that monster shot …jeez god fucking christ…40m+1 again please…fucking losers telling us he dont fit to out tradition and that he willbe a nuisance and with lots of buggage..arghhh…sagna..p[oor sagna didnt want to play anymore after 20 mins…

    BUT

    fellow arselonians,

    anything they pulled off …worked..their passes their deliveries their shots… skrtel scored two, nough said. BUT, we cant deny we were amateur in first half. well done to liverpool for raping us for it will remind a few our players that we still have some way to go. ozil needs to realise that they wont give him fouls just cause he loses hi balance we will beat manchester and liverppol will get a pasting in the the f.a cup. arteta is diabolical this season.

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  15. i have drunk a bottle of johnie walker black plus 6 or 7 pints plus jeberbombs plus weed plus plus plus …still i cant forget…

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  16. a re flamini what have you done to us?

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  17. I also felt we were getting overrun in parts of the pitch. And we lost the hustle wars too. Seemed like they always had a player in the right space to outwork us to the loose ball. There is something to what PAUL-N said. We should have shown a bit more patiance in holding on to the ball and establishing our game. We went toe to toe with them on a day they were on and full of confidence from the Everton game. A slug fest is what they wanted and we were naive to fall in that mode. Anywho, lets see if the effect of this game will be positive on the team. I would bet it will be and we will see the results on Wednesday.
    FLAMINIS red card seems so thoughtless and unnecessary now.

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  18. HUNTER 13
    take it easy mate. It was just a perfect storm and please don’t put down those who didn’t see things as we did regarding Suarez. We tried for him. It didn’t go through even if he himself wanted it very badly. I have to Think there was a reason for that. Things happen sometimes for reasons we can’t see right away. keep belief.

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  19. arteta…… wtf?

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  20. i beleive in MY TEAM. im just pissed off at arteta and im crying that we didnt secure the signature of that amazing fucking footballer luis suarez just cause media here in this country wanted to paint him as satan which in turn was passed on to the perception of fans of all clubs…

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  21. not even rodgers could believe what was happening.

    i will roll fat ones all night … i cant find another solution

    arsene should fine them 3 months wages minimum and then call vieira to cockslap them all …

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  22. True. With him in the team the sky would have been the limit. It is what it is. We have to keep faith in the guys in the team and hope for a bit more pragmatism from our fans when next opportunity on a different day and player presents itself. Upset? Yes but can’t let it get to you. There is much road still ahead.

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  23. no please nothing is over…i said the title is ours to lose still….and we will fuck both manure and liverpool in next games….. i just got a real fucking shock watching those 20 mins..cant explain it… arteta man….

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  24. for a bit more pragmatism from our fans

    absol;utley, but ofrget the fans…actually fuck the fans..my worry are the players and their confidence ….

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  25. Lets not forget we have AW & STEVE. Pound for pound the best pair of manager & assistant manager in the league. Best people to talk and lead the team at times like this. If that fails MERTESAKER will get them into right mental shape.

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  26. I’m not concerned about the players and confidence. Far from it. That’s fan’s fears talking. I thought Chewie got it 100% on a tweet or some such, roughly, “Well that was F…. embarrassing. Sorry to anyone who had to sit through 90 minutes of that”. Read between those terse lines: it seems to say “it will happen again over my dead and buried body and I will haunt and terrify any player who thinks or acts otherwise”.

    I suspect the whole team has a similar mindset today, no complacence. Hard work, and Wenger had a similar ring. We must discover what happened and ensure it never happens again. I wonder if anything else would have happened .. um … of a disciplinary nature, because that does explain things, somewhat disturbingly, but solveable. I have a hunch.

    I thought Gains post was spot on. One must applaud a Liverpool performance like that, as Wenger did, openly.

    Well, it’s a thought I’ve had for a long time … backed up by an established theory. Arsenal play is built on an instinctive, instant, collective, improvised tactical football, built on layer upon layer of passing, possession and fluid position football practice. Also known as total football. Or something similar. Of course there are drills; just far less emphasis on formula football. It’s high risk high reward stuff. You need the players to do it, and you need thinking players too. You also need a kind of crazy confidence and a crazy kind of concentration. You also, in terms of football, need 10 players defending.

    Modern psychology, making leaps and bounds in the last decade, teaches us that this approach to all situations in life, so often correct, often unpredictable, uses that part of the brain capable of instant, snap decisions constantly. It’s also messy and foggy.

    It sometimes breaks down and collapses, and when it does the collapse can be drastic. It sometimes collapses in a competitive scenario akin to tactical “formula football” (I’m stretching here and totally out of my depth at this point).

    I wonder …

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  27. The point being, correct if I’m wrong, when Arsenal f**k up, they really F!!k up, and then, back to “normal”, leaving many a player, manager, fan and pundit scratching heads. What just happened? No one knows. The trend is opposite, so it’s not a trend. This engine sometimes blows a fuse and as often crazily self-repairs.

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  28. Hindsight is so easy. A 4-1-4-1 from Arsenal, which we have sometimes adopted away from home in big fixtures, not particularly suited to Santi or primary attacking midfielder game, would have potentially nullified Liverpool, but stifled our usual game. It would have brought Tomas and Lukas into the picture, at the expense of Santi and Ox.

    Anyway, enough of the amateur psycho-babble, tactical nonsensry, and post-match dire-dog defeatist doggerel. I have my black-swan theories is all.

    Another day, another football … yawn … match. Normal transmission will resume.

    Here’s a thought. Arsenal are lucky this season (aside from making their luck). At a certain point we were 2 points ahead. In a period Arsenal choose to drop 5 points, City conspires to drop 4, and Chelsea 2 and Liverpool who pick up points were behind, leading to a 56-55-54-50 state-of-play. So have we “blown” our season? We are a point adrift in a tight pack of runners and everything damn thing to play for. Hold fast.

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  29. If I never have to hear from Arsenal fans like Piers of Shite Morgan and that smelly looking hobo Bully, I will be thrilled.
    I dont want to know Arsenal fans, I care about the team.

    The individual fans only matter in the context of the team but arent primordial to my enjoyment of the game.

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