An Open Letter to The Arsenal 1st Team


Arsenal 1st Team
Arsenal Football Club
Highbury House
75 Drayton Park

Dear Fellow Gooner,

I write to you as one minor member of the worldwide legion of Arsenal supporters whom you represent week-after-week on the football fields of England and Europe. You may be aware, according to the most recent research (2011), there were 113 million Arsenal fans worldwide, the fourth highest number for any football club on earth. Six years later those numbers could easily have doubled. In other words you are carrying the hopes and dreams of nearly 200 million people worldwide. I am certain you would agree it is an awesome responsibility.

But this letter is not to burden you with the weight of fan expectation. We know there is a minority who expect you will win every match, day-in, day-out. The majority of us know such results are unrealistic. While you may try to win every game, we know that Arsenal Football Club is competing against wealthier clubs with just as many if not more fantastic players, whom they can acquire by paying much larger transfer fees and wages.  There are times when results go against us because our best players are unavailable due to injury. Sometimes, as in the real world, there are days when despite doing your best as a professional, events do not favor the team, whether due to human error on our part or by the officials. As the boss correctly says, (and he is hardly ever wrong) it takes enormous “mental strength” to consistently compete at the top-level as every Arsenal 1st team has done for the past 20 years.

So now that we are midway the 2016-17 season, what are the realistic expectations of you the 1st team? Arsenal is lying in 5th place in the league, 8 points behind the leader, Chelsea, who just completed a 13-game win streak. In the last 20 years of the premier league, no team with a 13-game streak has failed to win the title. In the last 13 years of the premier league, the league winner has either been 1st or 2nd at the half-way point. Surely Arsenal stands no chance?

But records were meant to be broken. In 2013-14, Liverpool was the first team to go on an 11-game unbeaten streak and fail to win the title. Last year, Leicester was the first team in the history of the English top-flight to go from last place to being champions in 13 months. In January 2016 BREXIT was dead and buried in the polls, so was Donald Trump months later.  In one year, contrary to conventional thinking, despite the “expert” pundits in the mainstream media , the army of negative nellies on twitter and social media,  the underdog made the impossible possible.

Why can’t this Arsenal 1st Team make history? It is not as if it wasn’t done before. In the history of the premier league Arsenal is the only club who have come from as far back as 6th place midway the season to grab title and win the FA cup as well, Arsene Wenger’s first ever double. According to this source it was a season:

“…one which few would have dared dream about, particularly during the dark months of November and December when a midseason slump led to rumours of dressing room disharmony and a seemingly unbridgeable gap to league leaders Manchester United.”

Haven’t you the 1st Team have mid-season slump last December with back-to-back losses to Everton and Manchester City followed by a draw with Bournemouth?

That 97/98 Arsenal team did not recover their mojo until February 1998 after the legendary in-house meeting. According to Arseweb:

“…. the team and Wenger had a “thrash it out” meeting during which Adams demanded that the defence receive more protection from the midfield. The response from the central midfield pairing of Vieira and Petit was magnificent, and aided by better on and off field communication due to the Frenchmen’s improving English, Arsenal embarked on an unbeaten run which would eventually carry them all the way to the league title.”  

This 1st team already had a 14-game unbeaten run between August and November. Surely if the weaknesses evident at Bournemouth and Preston North End , are “thrashed-out”, couldn’t this team sustain another run and put the current league leaders under serious pressure?

As we lesser mortals, who have no hope of ever being professional footballers, can attest, it is easy to wallow in doubt and fear, after a string of bad results. Frankly for this Arsenal 1st team, there is no reason to be fearful. This is the deepest and best squad the professor has put together since the barren years while paying for the new stadium. According to transfermkt over the past five years AFC has spent £210.70m to gradually improve the squad.

You the Arsenal 1st Team may be missing Santi Cazorla, the technical leader, but in return you can welcome Aaron Ramsey who is the beating heart of the British core, the player who Arsene Wenger most trust to do what is necessary for the team to win. In 97-98, midway the season the club lost to suspension, the magical Dennis Berkgamp, and after his return took a while to find its groove. Similarly this 1st team is about to welcome back from illness a future midfield legend by way of Mesut Özil, a player who earlier this week demonstrated in no uncertain fashion his commitment to Arsenal and Arsene Wenger. In 97/98, it was not because the players in the squad were the best in the premier league; Alex Manninger was certainly not. Seemingly more critical, as one looks back, they had the commitment and mental strength.

Will you, the Arsenal 1st team, seize the spirit of 97-98 and make the impossible possible. To paraphrase the words of the great bard, Shakespeare:

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our Gooner dead.
In peace there’s nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favour’d rage;
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;

Respectfully yours,

@Shotta_Gooner, The Contrarian

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124 comments on “An Open Letter to The Arsenal 1st Team

  1. Martyn Ziegler ‏@martynziegler 2h2 hours ago
    Chelsea paid £8.3m Mourinho + £67m in compensation to adidas for terminating deals, accounts show. Full details on @TimesSport from 5pm


  2. so who will be right back v swansea, bellerin is still out, will it be Gabriel, or Maitland-Niles. I’d expect it will be Gabriel. The other big question is Iwobi or Lucas

    Gabriel, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal
    Xhaka, Ramsey
    Alexis, Ozil, Iwobi
    subs: Ospina, Holding, Maitland-Niles, Reine-Adelaide, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lucas, Welbeck


  3. so chelsea had to pay adidas £67M to cancel sponsorship deal, they signed up with nike in a 15 year deal worth £60M a year, so more than a years worth of that deal went to adidas to cancel their deal.


  4. tariq panja ‏@tariqpanja 2h2 hours ago
    Firing Mourinho twice has cost Chelsea £32m in total. Most recent compensation was about £8m. Cost more than £23m first time round


  5. Martin Cloake ‏@MartinCloake 4h4 hours ago
    Two weeks tonight, an FA Cup tie will be played live on TV. No one knows which one. Including the fans who will have to travel.

    disgraceful from the fa and the tv channels


  6. Coquelin is back in light training, but walcott taking longer than expected. No mention today of Cazorla by Wenger, but rumor has it that he has had to have a second operation as recovery not going well.


  7. Southampton/Norwich City v Arsenal
    Saturday, January 28, 2017
    Kick-off: 5.30pm
    Live on: BT Sport

    Read more at http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/20170113/date-set-for-fa-cup-fourth-round-tie#tKM7ReLFBOFsSV3e.99


  8. Costa and Conte have had a massive falling out. Costa has not travelled to Leicester


  9. Sky Sports News HQVerified account
    BREAKING: Sky Sources: Costa has not trained for three days after becoming unsettled by £30m-a-year offer from club in China #SSNHQ


  10. Sir Jenkinson ‏@theEpicGooner 48m48 minutes ago
    Wojciech Szczesny: “My future? I wish I knew myself. My future is in the hands of Arsene Wenger, the man that’ve I trusted since I was 16.”

    Liked by 4 people

  11. Rory Smith ‏@RorySmith 14m14 minutes ago
    It’s amazing how Chinese clubs only seem to go for players in some way connected to Jorge Mendes and Kia Joorabchian.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Swansea won 3 out of their last 5 games against Arsenal.

    Arsenal have only completed a league double against Swansea once (82-83)


  13. Darren Boyle@misterscoop
    I feel so sorry for Chelsea fans. One of their star players being targeted with a big money offer. It’s hateful how money’s ruining the game

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Kaveh Solhekol ‏@SkyKaveh 11m11 minutes ago
    Diego Costa bust up at Chelsea ended with head coach Antonio Conte shouting at him: “Go to China!” #CFC


  15. Completely sympathise with Diego Costa…..go to China for all that money, or stay and face Kos and Mustafi in a few weeks. Know what I would do.

    Liked by 5 people

  16. two weeks ED and the f.a. are still whineing about attendances.
    The difference in chelski having players tapped up is they can afford to just leave players in the reserves so its not quite the same position we were in. The other thing is china will offer over the top amounts which again we didnt benifit front as much.
    Ed stop posting stats that will worry me!

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Extraordinary stories concerning Diego Costa who is allegedly keen to move football club in order to secure a huge raise in his wage.

    The notion of the ugly Brasilian/ Spaniard swapping clubs to line his wallet is clearly absurd- totally out of character.

    Liked by 3 people

  18. so the earlier reports that santi cazorla had a set back and underwent another op, are true, and it will be at least 8 or 9 weeks before he is fit to plays again and it is even possible that his season is done, wenger has cast doubt on if he will be back this season


  19. veratti is the man we need, but how do you persuade psg to sell him to us

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Gutted about Santi. I’m still unclear what the injury is as the reports say ankle but I was under the impression he had a problem with the achilles. Was it that monstrous collision against Ludogrets or something else?

    Don’t suppose it matters much anyway, other than being able to be a bit more specific when shaking my fist at the football heavens. Plus I have the vague notion that there’s more chance of a good recovery from ankle rather than achilles.

    Liked by 2 people

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