Read what Gervinho had to say here. Now tell me that you didn’t get petrified reading that.
I guess that shows as much as any that the players themselves do not realise what is wrong. Essentially, what he said has valid points. Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester United and Chelsea have all struggled at one point or another throughout this season. Yes, that does mean that they are beatable and not invincible. However, it means little if we play to that or even a lower level than that. Gervinho may or may not represent what the entire team is thinking. It could be a singular thought within the Arsenal camp but no one can say for certain that it is. Though, I’m hard pressed to think that any other players in our side are stupid enough to think that on the basis of what we’ve shown thus far this season, that we could be challengers for the Champions League.
I refuse to believe that our team doesn’t see the defects we have in our team. They should know better than most that they have not been performing to the level that we expect of them. What do we expect of them? To play every game like it the match and the outcome actually mean something to them. That despite any gulf in class (if any) exist between us and the opponent, the team will still try their absolute best to win, if not with quality then with hard work. Of course we don’t expect them to win every single game, even if they do bust every balls their have in that match. Winning and losing are part and part of the game, that much I think each and every fan understands. There will be matches where even the best team plays to their potential and yet still lose. That’s the way football works.
Yet, the players also need to realise that it is the lack of results in the matches where we are the superior team in terms of individual talent, that are the ones that made got us stuck in mid table. Someone I know tells me that in the current state, we should stop comparing ourselves with the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City or even Chelsea but looks to gauge our achievement against that of Everton, Tottenham and to a far lesser extent, Liverpool. Let’s look at it that way. A way that says apart from the 3 teams currently occupying the top 3 positions in the league and the other 3 fellow challengers, we should be beating the other teams. We dropped 2 points against Sunderland, Stoke, Fulham and Aston Villa. We dropped 3 points against Norwich and Swansea. That’s a total of 14 points. To put that into context, we are now 15 points off league leaders, United.
So, even when setting it against lower standards, we are not hitting the level that we are supposed to be hitting. Though, like I said earlier, no one expects us to go through another season unbeaten and winning most of our matches. There will be draws and defeats along the way, even against considerably less talented sides than us. Yet, looking at the list of teams that we have dropped points to, it is clear for everyone to see, that we have produced more lower quality performances than a team of our standing is allowed to have. Had we produced a better performance in half of those matches and dropping only half of the 14 points, we would be sitting in 3rd with not a large gap separating us and the league leaders.
While I’m not setting us up for a title win, we would have at least put up a fight and hit the height that a squad like ours, should be hitting. Tomas Rosicky says that we should be backing the team at all times. That the boos and negative remarks from the terraces are not helping the younger players in the team. I’m one of those that would cheer the team on for the entire 90 minutes, even if the result wasn’t going our way. But I accept that not everyone thinks the same way. I’m sorry Tomas, the fans can only react to been shown on the pitch. It’s a reciprocal relationship. If the team show guts and fight, I’m sure they will be backed to the hilt. If the team is playing without desire or effort, then you can hardly expect the crowd to be appreciative.
I hate saying we’ve reached a crucial stage of the season where it is imperative that we do not drop points. Or, let’s forget what has happened and starting from this weekend, please play all out and let’s move on from there. I hate saying all those, because it has already been said one too many times this season and we’re not even halfway through the season. There were many false dawns followed by another inept performance. We are here to give our full support but in order for that to happen, the team/manager/coaches will have to show us that they also want to be better. You do that and the support will be there.
At Arsenal, it is still about winning and losing.