Exclaim – proclaim – declare

Morning all,

I spent the last few minute sipping my coffee, which was delicious, and reading the quotes from Kieran Gibbs. He says, rightly enough, that we make too many mistakes, but that the mistakes are due to our attacking nature. He also says the players need to get behind the manager because what he’s done is incredible and says that the team are united and working hard to put the difficult times behind them.

And regardless of the angle I took when I thought about writing them I could almost hear the smart-arsed comment from somebody on Twitter or on the arses.

“We’re behind the manager”, says Gibbs.

“Of course you are”, someone would retort. “Why wouldn’t you be behind a man who indulges your scatty play and pays you massive wages!!!”

It’s important to note that when somebody makes a comment like that all thought of using a question mark goes out the window due the crystal meth-like addiction to exclamation marks. Cook that, Walt.

“We make too many mistakes”, says Gibbs.

“That’s rich coming from you. Why don’t you do something about it!!!!!!”

“We’re too attacking”, says Gibbs.

“If we’re too attacking why don’t we score more goals!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

“I think we bring a lot of the trouble on to ourselves sometimes. But it happens in football”.

“!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. ANSWER ME DAMMIT?”

It just strikes me that at times like these there’s no right thing to say. Honest admissions of failure and declarations of hard work are met with as much scorn as any attempt to look at things in a more positive way. I know it’s the world we live in but there just seems to be no escape from the over-analysis. And I say that as I look to analyse somebody else. Yeah, whaddya gonna do?

I got the following Tweet overnight:

Johan Djourou is possibly one of the worst defenders to put on an #Arsenal shirt! Can anyone name worse?

Now, seasoned watchers of the Arsenal will probably be able to rattle off plenty of names. Whether they’re ‘worse’ than Djourou is entirely subjective and there’s absolutely no doubt that he’s in a Stepanovian run of form at the moment. Yet, you don’t have to go back in time too far to find a situation when Djourou’s absence was a major cause of alarm for Arsenal fans.

He got injured in the 4-4 against Newcastle, having scored his first goal for the club, and many people put what happened that day as much down to his absence as the presence of Squillaci (blamed rather unfairly I thought), the departure of Diaby for his foolish red card or Phil Dowd’s generous penalty decisions. There was genuine gnashing of teeth that he would be missing but he returned only to injure his shoulder against Man United and it would be fair to say hasn’t been the same player since.

Earlier this year he was considered a hugely important piece of the Arsenal defence, having set some kind of record for the number of games without defeat in the Premier League. Despite an injury absence his run stretched to something like 26 games. Here was the centre-half who added some presence to the back four, the Guardian said, “he has established himself as the calm authority in the Arsenal back four”.

Cesc said, “With the way we play, we have needed a centre-back like him: strong, good on the ball, quick, making his presence felt on the opposition’s strikers”.

Yet here we are some months down the line and how things have changed. Is he a player suffering a crisis of confidence to match that of the team itself? A player who played above his level for those 26 league games? Or just a guy who is capable of playing well going through an atrocious run of form? Is he really one of the worst centre-halves ever?

I don’t have the answers. Certainly his recent form is extremely worrying and he looks far, far removed from the player everyone was afraid would get injured earlier this year. And this isn’t to defend him, as such, but just symptomatic of the football world we live in at the moment. I checked The Sun website this morning and there were calls for Owen Hargreaves to play for England again. On the back of one appearance and one goal for Man City.

I’m not even sure what my point is any more. I guess it’s that if the people who were lauding Djourou as the answer to all our problems some months ago were wrong, isn’t it possible that those who label him the worst centre-half ever are wrong now? Look, he might continue on this Sylvestrian path, Cyganising his way through games, each touch a Uretopion nightmare of Patesmanic proportions, but then he might come through it too and turn out to be all right.

Such definitive declarations do little but polarise fans. I mean, regardless of the player or how good he is or isn’t, there’s always someone who thinks he’s shit. I’ve read criticism of Robin van Persie this season which seems to me to be somewhat missing the point. He scored pretty much every goal we got in 2011 until a few weeks ago, he surely deserves a bit of leeway, but there were the accusations of him not doing his duty. What can you do about that?

Maybe one day, by some quirk of fate and circumstance, everyone in the stadium will think every player we’ve got is shit. I have visions of players being mown down by exclamation marks brought to life by the collective consciousness of the crowd.

I don’t like what’s happening at the club at the moment, the run of form we’re on pains me, as I’m sure it pains you, and the idea that we should ignore that and blindly accept the team’s failings is surely of no benefit to anyone. At the same time though, maybe a little more reason needs to be applied along the way when discussing players and their foibles.

It can’t all be negative, all the time. Otherwise you’ll get an ulcer. And ulcer might burst and the acid will eat through your stomach and burn you another hole. Nobody needs two arses, and I think, muddled as it is, that’s a lesson we could all do with learning.

In other news, headline of the day from Arseblog News: Thug claims being thuggish stopped move. Rejoice

Finally for today congratulations to David Williams and Steve Christofe who both won a pair of tickets to see Arsenal v Bolton on Saturday with thanks to Thomas Cook Sports.

Commiserations to those who didn’t win, more competitions to come, including one tomorrow tied in with the Arsecast, so make sure you catch that.

In the meantime, have yourselves a defensively sound day.