Monday morning, the doom and gloom can stay back in yesterday … and last week … erm … and the week before. This is a new dawn, it’s new day, it’s a new life … well, no, it’s not a new life but I’m bang on with the dawn and day stuff.
Anyway, it would be easy to mope this week. To take all the crushing, soul destroying, heart wrenching, brain killing moments and spin them out in a not at all melodramatic way until we got a chance to look forward to the West Brom game at the weekend. However, I choose not to wallow, though verily I walloweth with great artistry, and instead I shall tell you exactly what we need to win the league.
That’s it. Just one. Two would be good, three better, but I’ll take just one player who, in these last ten league games, steps up to the plate and hits the home runs we need. You know, the kind of guy who, when a game is tight, can produce that slam dunk to win it against the odds. A player who can hit one under the wind and stop it 2 feet from the pin. No, that one doesn’t work, but you know what I mean.
I’m thinking of a 2002 vintage Freddie Ljungberg. When Bobby … *swoons* … buckled that oh-so-dreamy knee of his we all worried, didn’t we? He was the best player in the world right then. Forget you whoever was supposed to be the best player and whatsisface playing in Spain/Italy, Bobby was it. Yet even all those years ago the Gods of Injury chuckled to themselves in their clinical, cynical kingdom in the clouds and decided it would be just too fucking much to let him play out the rest of the season and go to the World Cup.
One cruciate injury later and we need someone to fill that gap. Freddie was that man. A goal against Charlton, followed by crucial opening goals against Sp*rs, West Ham and Bolton as well as a two goal salvo against Ipswich. I remember that particularly because my cousin, who was working in a newspaper and able to send me pictures, sent me one of Freddie with a caption ‘Swedish Bollix’ as he turned and fired one home. He was a Mugsmasher that cousin. I can’t remember if they were involved in the title race. I assume not.
Freddie became a hero in that campaign, people dyed their hair red, sang songs about him, and to crown it all he left John Terry on his arse to clinch the cup final. Fuck you, John Terry. Injuries played their part in his career too but he became a star not because of his hair or his clothes, his cheekbones or his Calvin Kleins, but because he hit those home runs when we really needed them. And we need someone to do that this time around.
There needs to be a bit of self-examination at the Arsenal training ground this week. Actually, I have that wrong. There needs to be an examination of each other. Not quite as in-depth and probing as a prostate exam but close. They need to look at each other and ask ‘Do you want to win anything at this club or are you happy going through the motions? If you want to win, what are you going to do about it? Are you willing to run that bit harder, faster, longer? Or are you going to sit around and feel sorry for yourself after the cup failures?’
Anyone that’s feeling sorry for themselves, well, here’s a first class ticket to Libya where you can hang out with greatest ever Libyan, Jehad Muntasser. Those of you that want to win something, let’s do it.
We know we’re down to brass tacks at the back. The only thing we can do to change that is bring in a keeper who, if he’s available on emergency loan, probably won’t be anything to write home about. Up the other end of the pitch though, well, there’s talent in the squad which, it would be fair to say, isn’t showcasing itself as well as it might.
A squad with van Persie, Chamakh, Bendtner, Arshavin, Rosicky, Nasri, Walcott and Cesc has got plenty of goals in it. Sure, we might not have them all fit at the one time but even Song has chipped in with a few this season, returning Ramsey knows where the goal is, young Jack has only got goals to add to his game so it should balance out. And it’s not as if we lack creativity in that bunch either.
Back in 02 it was the Dennis and Freddie show. Arsene sat them down in a dark room together, put a colander on each head, connected them by some hastily gunthered together wires, and got them on the same wavelength. It worked. Dennis knew where Freddie was going to run before Freddie’s legs even knew. This was also amusing when the players would socialise but much more important on the pitch. Pass > run > shot > goal. Bang. Freddie’s the hero.
So who’s it going be this time? Who is going to make the difference? Nasri’s been a bit quiet on the goal front recently. Robin’s streak has become less streaky. Someone needs to tell Chamakh it’s September again. Maybe like Reyes he can only play well above a certain temperature. Arshavin, let’s be ‘avin ya. Rosicky, alas poor Tomas, but surely you’ve got one or two in you before you move on?
Big Mick Nick Bendtner, turn that self-confidence into self-goalfidence. Any man who can sport a bow tie should be able to back that up with a scoring patch. Theo, make like that time in FIFA 11 when you scored in about 5 games in a row online when every little cunt I played chose to be Barcelona. Cesc, get that hammy re-strung and be the spark. Score them and make them (no pressure, like, just go out there and win us the title).
All jokes aside though we need someone, or any combination of those above, to want this so much that they transcend the ordinary and become legendary. Someone’s gotta have it in them. It’s a challenge. Not just to win something for Arsenal but on such things are great players made. We’ve got some good ones, some very, very good ones, but we need greatness now. Someone to whom we can build a statue. Or sing a really good song about. Or at least say ‘You know, we should have a really good song for him after what he did’.
That’s the discussion that needs to take place on the training ground this week.
“So, Sami, are you going to be the hero?”
“Maybe I am, Robin. Are you?”
“I think I will be too. What say you, Cesc?”
“Let’s do it. Andrei?”
“Shut up, Eboue”.
So, until it all goes wrong next time, I’m gonna sit tight and hold on. You can join me, if you like. And remember, he’s gotta be strong, and he’s gotta be fast, and he’s gotta be fresh from the fight. You know it.