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Arsenal Versus Palace: Pass The Soap Please Jeeves

No Question

I’m in a dilemma this morning. Not the classic Marmite or marmalade dilemma – that was resolved many years ago when I realised that one can simply have both. Not at the same time you understand, I’m not an animal. News from across the pond has reached me of an American ritual of spreading both peanut butter and jam (or jelly as they prefer to call it) upon the same sheet of white sliced but I think we ought to draw a veil over such heathen practises and focus on the football.

It is in fact a football related dilemma to which I refer in my opening salvo this morning. As I lay in my bath, prodding my rubber duck with an idle toe and waiting for my butler to deliver the cup that cheers, I cogitated upon the relative merits of the various teams in the Premier League and how we like to grade or distinguish them from one another.

It is popular to regard the likes of West Bromwich Albion, Hull City or today’s opponents Crystal Palace, to pluck three entirely random examples from the ether, as lesser sides. We use terminology such as weaker and lower, even beatable, sometimes eminently beatable.

While it is unquestionably true that the league table is an infallible barometer for separating sides into the upper tier and the also rans, I wondered as I toyed with my little plastic waterfowl, at the way we segregate teams and whether such distinctions have any real merit. You see, even though, in the beloved if hackneyed phrase, the table never lies, it is really only a transitory measure. Compare Chelsea and Leicester from last season to this. Even in the former’s season horribilis and the latter’s miracle year you wouldn’t have described Chelsea as a lower, or lesser team and Leicester as one of the top crop. Why? Prejudice maybe, snobbery, an habitual approach to different sides?

I would argue that Crystal Palace’s result against the league leaders, and West Brom’s against our own brave boys are not cases of lesser teams winning where they ought to be beaten. We need not to think of other sides in terms of greatness or lack of it but in terms of consistency. All the clubs in the top flight owe their place to merit or to wealth. On any given day any side can triumph over any other. It is consistency that separates the teams not ability.

Think like this and you lose that sense of amazed distraction when Southampton put four past us or Swansea beat us at home. Because a side is less consistent than us doesn’t give us an automatic right to assume we’ll meet them on one of their off days. The chance may be greater but that is all.

So today we face one of the less consistent sides in the league. Given their undoubted ability to beat a top team, just ask Antonio Conte if you don’t believe me, we ought to be cautious in making any wild predictions of a comfortable victory. Please don’t misunderstand me; I am optimistic, positive and confident in my outlook. This stems not from a false perception of the inability of our opponents but rather from the consistency of our greatest ever manager in defying the odds, shaming the nay sayers, and achieving a top four finish year after year after year.

This may be as difficult a season in which to repeat this feat as any he has encountered. It was always going to be so given the strength, wealth and number of teams vying for those hallowed finishing positions. At least two clubs with genuine ambitions for a European place will miss out, and we are far from the driving seat. There are currently five teams more consistent than us and we will have to build on the draw with City, and the hard won points against West Ham to overhaul any of them.

Come eight o’clock this evening Selhurst Park will be a seething cauldron of passionate partisan support and we will need cool, calm heads to quieten the home crowd and take the wind out of the home team. Arsène Wenger has assembled a group of players with the resolve to resist and the guile to overcome but they have no right to victory no matter how inconsistent their opposition may be.

I believe that for all the trophies, the unbeaten season, the famous teams he has built  and individuals he has discovered or nurtured, Arsène’s greatest achievement has been the consistency he has managed to achieve. I know there are no medals for it, no cup to place in a glass fronted cabinet, but it is, I think, the hardest thing of all to accomplish and therefore the one for which he ought to receive most praise.

I have to get out and paint my trellis so I’ll leave you with this brief missive and wish you a safe journey if you’re lucky enough to be at the match tonight. For everyone else I’ll see you here at eight.

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.

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114 comments on “Arsenal Versus Palace: Pass The Soap Please Jeeves

  1. I haven’t started it yet.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Fans shout: not fit to wear the shirt. Then shout: Im Arsenal till I die. This all reeks of “customer” services that Capitalism and the false interaction of “reality” tv phone in democracy, and a sort of strange bias, and a misunderstanding of the psychology of football.And the false premise of authority?
    Who is fit to wear the shirt? Which fan is truly fit to wear the shirt? And why?Whose claiming the authority to make such statements?
    Then the cry is that everyone should “go”.This level of intolerance we have seen in world history before.Yet it always comes down to the mind.
    Ok, so wheres the basic logic in dragging the team and management down during a game? Are the team and management deaf? Are they hard of understanding? If people think they are then why shout this out? If Wenger and players are wrong, then so are some of the fan base. Did you hear the smEagle fans last night?
    I think its hard for people as all theyve know is Wengers time,(LG etc) and now we can see why its hurting them, as they enjoyed a long time in the sun.
    So even if we spend spend spend get a new manager, its a kind of false economy, as so will the other teams wanting top 4, and only one can win.Its going to take more than all the claims, imo.
    But this is all wasting time now.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Rich, we certainly have to shore up that defence, either via attack being the best form of defence, or boring , repetitive drilling….it is reported that the manager is not a fan of the latter, maybe his assistant could help him
    Yes, at times, they are that open, they get numbers back, but are not effective at stopping things, especially crosses and set pieces. Cannot help wondering if Pers organisational skills may help.
    But it looks to me like they really need to change things

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  4. Still struggling. Bear with me.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. In a way the front line was more of a concern then the back line, Walter at Untold captures what I’m trying to say in a surprisingly less vague format haha!

    Don’t worry Ranty I’ve not taken my off the football or what happens on the pitch e.g.: can Welbeck recover or did Can crock him into retirement – only a yellow of course for such a foul on England’s leading striker this past decade…we observe and record the pattern such as only two palace players from the back five/six committing fouls last night – football must be easy when the opponents have to play a different sport.
    Don’t believe me? please watch the Lincoln, Sutton and most recently the West Ham games again – it is what it is and A Andrew and the ex-pro athlete commenting on this site sum it up with more grace and eloquence than I can.

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  6. There is a lot of talk about a change of approach and the need to be more defensive, but we have done it before when we’ve needed to, although that was when Pat Rice was the defensive coach. Arsene is being blamed for all the team’s shortcomings, but maybe the current defensive coach needs to step up and get the defensive side of the team going? Then again, no amount of coaching will help if the players heads have gone and they cannot execute the plan.

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  7. When my anxious daughter used to get worked up over something, I would tell her to imagine the worst that could realistically happen. Not a wild imaginary scenario, but the worst real thing. And then say to yourself “then what happens?” Once you’ve faced that, it’s a little easier to stop focusing on that thing and focus instead on how you’ll deal with it if it happens. I feel like players and fans alike need this advice right now.
    I’ll start. We could finish completely out of European places. Arsene could leave, Mesut could leave, Aaron could leave (my personal worst that could happen). Then what happens? Well, August will come, and we would have a new manager, so I might have to get used to watching a new style, which would be a new challenge, as I’m not very tactically astute. New players would be here, and my heart would ache for the old ones, and I’d check in on them with their new teams and I’d be sad. But, I think, I’d watch the new ones, and I’d learn to like them (love may be too strong, it takes a while to get over heartbreak). And I’d hope we win.
    The key, I still tell my daughter, is not to give up and accept that whatever you see as the worst will happen. It’s looking at that thing head on so that fear of it doesn’t overwhelm and paralyze you. That’s all I’m trying to do. I’ll still be here next Monday, no matter what our position is in the table. And I’ll pull for us to win.

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  8. I feel your pain PG in delaying that review, last nights game weren’t just very disappointed for the players, but for all of us as well.

    Side bar: as positive fans we must be careful not to heed Tim Python’s call and say our players are “not fit to wear the shirt”. That’s short sighted and reactionary and when doing that we become no better than those wobs we despise.

    This is the same players who will wear the shirt on our behalf looking to finish the season strong to see if we cant turn things around.

    Twitter was its usual shower of shit last night, its like our fans were competing with the Palace faithful to see who can hate on Arsenal more. Fucking flip flops the lot of them.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Think hard and long PG. I haven’t seen the game except for the last 20 minutes of the 1st half. Some of us have to work on a Monday.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Aw man. I think I’ve gotten lost in the gatekeeper’s purgatory. Every time I make what I think is a great comment, it gets lost in the ether. That’ll teach me about being prideful.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Strange that Henry Winter tweets “Wenger has to go”. Whats it got to do with him? So much for impartial journalists.As if theres such a thing..?
    With the negative atmosphere thats cooked up by the Wob in all its forms,(who else has been doing it then, Father Christmas?) in reaction to results that has now snowballed into what the “Independent” (independent from what exactly?)calls ” a club in crisis”(Ironically showing relative thought in action. Leyton Orient thats a club in crisis???. How are we supposed to deal with the rest of the season and with the FAC semi? How? Of course bad vibes man! It always works! Negativity was the secret of Bob Paisley etc and SAF etc.So I suppose that Palace beat us last night with a neg vibe in the ground, you must have heard it?
    Pep, Mou and Klopp are all grateful for what AW is soaking up at the moment. Nothing quite like a scapegoat is there?
    But the wob will destroy everything to get what they want.But they wont.How can they, such is the nature of the “game”.
    I still hope to win the FAC and get top four. Anyone who doesnt want that sure doesnt support the Arsenal, but some other agenda.So they might as well support the Spuds.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. That’s a very difficult write PG, the word in the name of this site….Positive…is a bit hard to fit into just about any context of that game, and others in recent weeks.
    Good luck should you try an article, but I for one would not blame you if you gave this one a miss.

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  13. Woeful performance last night by the team.

    I dislike making everything about the manager. I don’t think the manager is as important as people make out. Teams don’t tend to win anymore. Ever since Mourinho won the Champions League with an Italian side (no one cared which side) it’s become a case of the celebrity manager. Unai Emery beat Barcelona for the second time in his career. Not that PSG and their 5+ years of money had anything to do with it.

    It surprises me how many even positive fans come out with the players not playing for the manager bit. How do we know? Surely it’s a little more complicated in that. I still don’t think we have a lack of effort from the players. These are players that are put under pressure unlike players of any other club. Constantly told that they aren’t good enough. Constantly having their achievements ignored or belittled, and constantly having to fight against the referees to achieve a positive result. (In addition Arsenal hold their players to higher personal standards of behaviour.). Maybe something has just gone from their heart. Not consciously, and nothing to do with the manager (except that he is supposed to gee them up and seemingly hasn’t been able to) Maybe last season’s title going to Leicester took the wind out of their sails.

    Whatever the case, and regardless of the manager’s future, I think we need a squad rejig. It seems to me that for the first time since I’ve been watching, we’re suffering from what other clubs have gone through many a time. Where players’ reputations are greater than their performances. We always had the opposite, even with much maligned players.

    Which reminds me of Denilson. He was an incredibly talented footballer, who eventually gave up and lost his confidence (which is his fault). But it wasn’t until after the fans gave up on him and made him lose that confidence, which no one will remember. And we’ve done that to Ramsey, Ozil, and now even Bellerin and Sanchez. Why should we expect them to fight for us? At a subconscious level at least.

    Anyway, I think we need to sell some players who maybe haven’t done anything wrong, but for one reason or another haven’t performed to their potential. Too many above average or good players, not enough dominant players. Midfield especially needs a major upgrade in quality because I think our issues are stemming from there once Cazorla went down. I think only Cazorla and Xhaka, and maybe Coquelin as a limited squad player, currently deserve to have a squad space going forward. (Sorry alabama. I can’t include Ramsey) and I don’t think Cazorla can even be first choice due to age and injury issues.

    As regards the manager, I will never want him to go. It’s just how it is. And I don’t see that as right or wrong. It just is. But this season has been a bad one so far and a change of manager can address some of the (possible) causes of that. I don’t think we’ll get top 4 (which is ok.) But maybe, despite a terrible season, Arsenal and Wenger can win a record FA Cup. Which would just perfectly typify the madness that is football (and maybe the world, currently)

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