Proud of my club…

I will always favour an exciting style....

I will always favour an exciting style….

I actually felt quite sorry for Adam Federici as his mistake in the FA Cup semi-final will go down in history as being the reason why Reading did not beat Arsenal a couple of weekends ago but in actual fact, when you step back and assess the match as a whole, we just about did enough to be deserving of the win. That’s why I can proudly say that we are in the FA Cup final for the second year in a row. Part of me wants us to cruise to a comfortable victory this time but an even larger part of me craves the rollercoaster of emotions that was last year’s final. Personally, I enjoy the excitement of flirting with defeat then snatching a victory as opposed to just winning but that’s me.

Chelsea fans would disagree wholeheartedly and would argue that getting the results to win the title is the most important thing. They’d probably claim that I was being petulant following our 0-0 draw and was just jealous that they’ve won the Premier League already. However, they would be extremely wrong. I used to (not anymore) be jealous of Manchester United growing up. Under Ferguson, they used to win pretty much all the time, played with an attacking verve and were rarely dull. I’m not a secret United fan bur I’m just trying to make it clear that my hatred for them was purely out of jealousy whereas I hate Chelsea because they’re killing the beautiful game.

Most of the British media don’t see this and suck up to Mourinho (I don’t know why because he is so rude to them); believing that negative football is acceptable if it brings results. Like I suggested earlier though, you can win the title playing in an expansive style like Manchester City did last season or Manchester United done more often than not in my formative years. Is it any wonder that the National Team is so bad? Maybe it’s because these ideas of negativity is winning are floating around our game? Is it a co-incidence that the World Champions at the moment are Germany, a country Jose has never managed in? Just saying!

If anything, boring doesn’t work. People will say how can you say that when Chelsea have won the league? Simply because, like the Federici example, what goes down on paper doesn’t tell the whole story. They have been fortunate to say the very least over the past month or so. They should have drawn against Hull City, Stoke and QPR. On all three occasions were handed the 3 points on a plate due to goalkeeping mistakes. Then there’s the match at the Emirates on Sunday where the Blues were a Mesut Özil/Danny Welbeck mis-hit away from losing. Yes, luck is a huge part of football but to say Mourinho is a tactical genius is laughable.

I can only remember Arsène Wenger as Arsenal manager but I have read many history books/watched lots of archive videos and I am so relieved that we are no longer renowned for being boring. I’m immensely proud that we play attractive football and although that has not brought us a lot of success recently, I’m confident the league titles will return soon because being exciting and winning matches are not separate concepts. The Invincibles proved that

By Glen Shorey

Groundhog season?

Everything's looking up for next season...

Everything’s looking up for next season…

Since my last post, a lot of people have been drawing comparisons with recent years and are still questioning whether we are progressing as a club? As we reach the business end of the 2014/15 campaign, everyone (whether they know about football or not) seems to be starting to judge how well each team has done over the past 9 months. With Arsenal, there are two clear ways you can assess our season. There are many who believe that even if we (hopefully) go on to win the FA Cup and finish top 4 again, the team has stagnated whereas some share my view and feel the team is in a very good position regardless of what happens at Wembley.

I believe the recent winning streak of eight games in the Premier League or in all competitions (depending on how you look at it) just goes to show that we are playing, dare I say it, like Champions elect. Unfortunately, we will not win the Premier League this year but I feel we will push Chelsea close in the remaining 6 matches and can definitely challenge for the title next year. At the end of the 2014 summer transfer window, I would have thought you were mad if you had told me we would be 2nd and not that far off top in mid-April because we still desperately needed to sign an expensive defensive midfielder.

With the emergence of Francis Coquelin, I now think our first team has the perfect balance of being solid defensively and dominant going forward. For me, he just keeps getting better every match and is that world-class holding midfielder we have craved ever since Gilberto departed. Some are still not convinced but the fact we’ve only lost three matches since Christmas and Coquelin has played in most shows that he is vital to all that is good with Arsenal. Yes, we need to buy another CDM as cover because Flamini and Arteta are simply not good enough in that position but spending £20-30 Million on a top class midfielder is not necessary in my opinion.

As always, quite a few are also pondering once again if Arsene Wenger is still the man to take us forward. I have always remained resolute and forthright in my belief that the Frenchman is a genius of the highest order. He may have some flaws and blind spots but the fact is that us Arsenal fans have had more ups than downs in his 18 and a half year tenure. I am confident he has built a very good squad that can challenge on all fronts. What is clear is that the signing of Mesut Özil in Sept 2013 signalled a change, not just because the club were finally spending big money but also because a message was sent out that Arsenal mean business.

By Glen Shorey