The North London Derby Mystery

November 21, 2010

Good morning, afternoon, evening, or whatever the time of the day is, wherever you are…

Long time no see, things have been hectic, but this is the Arsenal blog, so I will not be boring anyone with the details, tasty or not – the shocking defeat in the first game I was really looking forward to for quite some time inflicted by the inglorious neighbours brought me out of the blog coma, so here I am…

I don’t think anyone needs to be reminded of what happened yesterday in details, so I shall just skip the match report, leaving that to masochists and people driven by strong sense of duty. Instead, I will focus on the reaction from Our Glorious Leader.

Apparently, it is a mystery for Arsene why we ended up the game empty handed as we were the better side. Once again, someone has an egg on his face after bigging them up and calling them the best group of players he has ever worked with – don’t even get me started on what an insult for the likes of Henry, Pires and Vieira this was!

Well, if you look at the players technique and their technique alone, the above statement uttered by AW in the build up to yesterday’s game may not be necessarily that far from the truth, but this is football, not figure skating and there are no extra points for the number of passes, flicks and the like, the rules are simple, you have to score more than the other lot, and this sometimes involves hard graft and getting your hands dirty. Playing in arguably one of the biggest and best derby games on the planet must involve a lot of heart, desire and passion and feeling what it means for the fans.

Sure, after the first 45 or so minutes, we went to the dressing room 2 goals up and cruising, but we could have and should have been at least one more goal to the good by that time, but we have gone into the celebratory mode after scoring two great goals and once again we started weaving pretty patterns with no urgency whatsoever. The crowd started the ‘ole’ infested jolly and everyone headed for the halftime wee with the ‘mission accomplished’ mindset.  Whilst it may be more or less OK for the fans, the problem starts when it is the team and/or the manager who thinks alike…

First thing the manager should have done in this situation is remind the players that is not over by a long shot, bearing in mind the 4:4 draw/loss in this very fixture and other games when we managed to throw away the lead against arguably even lesser teams due to going into the cruise control mode. I somehow don’t think that the halftime talk went beyond ‘well done garçons, let’s keep this up’. I can only imagine what happened in the other dressing room – ‘Arry is not a quiet type and whatever anyone says about his alleged off the field antics, he is a bit of a motivator and it certainly showed in the second half.

The history of mankind teaches us one thing: the barbarians always win in the end. The empires fell for one and the same combined set of reasons time and time again: decadence and complacency leading to lack of discipline, which left them unable to resist the more determined invading hordes of primitive neighbours, whose villages used to be burnt and pillaged for a laugh by the frontier troops back in the days. I was always of the opinion that the very purpose of teaching history is for the later generations not to repeat the mistakes of the old and that it has even more uses if you are intelligent enough to draw parallels with other situations, as the human nature has not changed one bit since coming off the tree or the sixth day, whatever you choose to believe in. It’s foolish to underestimate the enemy and let them grow, as they soon start getting funny ideas and strength combined with motivation to put one over you is a dangerous mix…

Now, once again, make no mistake about this, this team is packed with great footballers, but it hardly forms a well composed and led unit – once they scored, I knew we were in trouble! As much as Cesc is a great player, he is not a leader type and he did not even cover himself in glory as far as leading by example is concerned, having conceded the most idiotic penalty we will see for a long time. The role of a captain is underestimated by Wenger, but haven’t we coincidentally stopped winning stuff when we got rid of the last real captain we had in Vieira? The first goal they scored came from the lack of discipline – everyone wanted a piece of Spurs and our defence was nowhere near where they should have been with two goals to the good, where was our skipper to tell them that before that happened, dare I ask? Where was the leadership required to prevent the team from falling to pieces afterwards? AW likes to say that it is a team full of leaders, I like to say this kind of approach breeds anarchy…

It has been said that if things come easily to you at young age and you are not taught to work hard, then your attitude may stink occasionally for a bit, until you will learn the hard way that it does not pay and start applying yourself. Real shame the learning process is taking longer than anybody could have expected…

I’ll leave you with that thought…



  1. You should be ashamed because you wait for this to write an article since March. If you cannot see how ridiculous that is…

  2. wrong: it is the sheer disgust at the manner of defeat that made me write the article!

    this is nor something we haven’t seen before, is it?

    how about some discussion on the very subject? and it’s not me who should be ashamed…

    I follow a few of the players on Facebook – after weeks of feeding us stuff like the movie trailers, the silence is deafening…

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