I am a great believer in apologising if one has made an honest mistake. I have made just such an honest error of late and am very pleased and grateful to Arsenal Football Club for illuminating my unforgivable, misguided and cack-handed error. I do not offer an excuse for this. As Mr. Benjamin Franklin of the colonies has it: “Never ruin an apology with an excuse.”
You see, dear reader, I had been under the impression that Arsenal Football Club were in a state of decline. With no apparent sense of our defending becoming sturdier, or our attack being less potent. Indeed the method of transferring the ball from the former to the latter becoming, shall we say, unclear. To my untrained and indelicate eye the players had not looked like they knew their Harris from their Elbow. They seemed to have been instructed to play in a stultifyingly reactive system set up to nullify the threat of the opponent without actually accomplishing that feat or offering anything in the way of attacking threat.
I realise now that I do not lust for goals such as Wilshere against Norwich, Mr. Bergton-Camper’s against Newcastle, Terence Hennessy’s goals against Manchester United and Tottenham or even Melvin ‘The Prodigal Son’ Orwell’s against Ludogorets. I can see now that these were gaudy baubles and my ambition for thrilling, attacking football with a slightly better defence was naïve and childlike.
Similarly my wish for technically secure players who have been coached to the very top of their ability by a coach who is playing them in a system in which they are comfortable and confident was equally as stupid.
Following the club’s statement, delivered by Mr. Ornstein, that the club won’t react to ‘noise’ such as the above, I will happily hand over the thick end of £100 for a seat at the next home game. Please, perhaps I could donate a few extra guineas to atone for my error in contributing to the distracting din which is preventing the coach from coaching and the players from playing.
Shots on goal, I now understand, are not essential components of a successful game plan. And hand in hand with that revelation comes the new found understanding that by allowing so many shots on our own goal we are cleverly showing off the quality of our goalkeeper, thereby striking fear into the heart of Jamie Vardy.
It is better to pass the ball in a nice modest horseshoe shape and hope that our opponent makes a mistake at some point. The same applies to wins. In my gullibility I thought that it was better to win a match than not. Now, as I look at our results from the last 19 matches, from which we have achieved six wins, I see that it is not the whole story, and I am embarrassed at my part in suggesting that it ever was.
Playing our new left back, Takahiro, in midweek so we rely on our unskilled labourer Collingwood in an away match at a team flying high in the league is not a basic error or judgement but a brilliant piece of tactical thinking. Playing Mr. Lakeshead out on the right wing, where new £72m signing Mr. Pepys has played well in recent matches, is a masterstroke, worthy of Machiavelli himself.
I am now, as the club suggests, “realistic” about the circumstances around the club which have forced poor little Arsenal to become such a meek and timid opponent. Two points from Sheffield, Wolves, Palace and Leicester is our level, and I am so very happy here.
Like the conversion of Paul the Apostle on the road to Damascus, I now see that Emery is the truth and the light. I am now off to watch a film.
A source at the club has recommended Mr. Hitchcock’s Gaslight.