The President of Rwanda wants his buddy Arsene to step down? Robin van Persie is furious with Arsene…Or is he? And, does Real Madrid really want Arsene?
It’s been quite an interesting week for the Arsenal so far. If you haven’t been following the news as much as I have, allow me to illuminate you. Couldn’t help but notice in passing that one of the hottest trending stories on the web: The President of Rwanda wants Arsene Wenger to step down. Ouch. On a related note: Who cares…?
Apparently, the prez of Rwanda is concerned that Arsenal is growing comfortable in its mediocrity, and the club is growing increasingly accepting of lackluster performances. He also thinks Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain should have been given more time to perform. I agree that I’d like to see more of Alex on the pitch, but I don’t think anyone’s comfortable being a…What’s the word for it? Oh yes: LOSER.
The President of Rwanda is supposedly a good chum of Arsene’s. And he’s a big fan of the Arsenal. Still, he thinks it’s time for Arsene to go to another club, and he wants to see a quality manager get hired by Arsenal to turn the club around and make it truly championship calibre once again. Blah, blah, blah. I guess I could always try to find a story about who the President of the United States pulls for in Barclay’s Premiere League, but to be honest, I don’t know that ol’ Barry is all that big of a football fan.
Robin van Persie is also extremely angry with Arsene as well. Naturally, he’s also angry that Arsene didn’t play Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain quite enough. Quite the contrary altogether, he’s upset that Arsene chose to substitute a fresh Andrey Arshavin for Alex at the end of the match last Sunday. I can’t say that I really blame him. If I was Alex, I wouldn’t want to be replaced in the 74th minute, either. It’s rather as if your manager is expressing his lack of faith in your ability to help the club pull off a victory against one of your biggest arch-rivals in a game of epic proportions on your home pitch. Like I said, I like Arsene, but I’m with Robin on this one. Then again, Arsene maintains that Alex was displaying inordinate amounts fatigue and needed to be pulled. Maybe Arsene was right. Maybe he was just using his best judgment as a veteran manager.
Cameras caught Robin van Persie mouthing the word “No.” He is also rumored to have swore at Arsene at the time of the substitution. One source says Robin and Arsene are locked in some type of war of wills. Naturally, Robin has maintained sincerely that there’s no rift between the two. Interesting.
Oh, but wait, it gets better. Unbeknownst to just about anyone, Arsene had good reason for pulling Alex out of the game. Alex wasn’t just “fatigued.” As a matter of fact, he had a calf injury. So, in Arsene’s defense, he got an injured Alex out of the match, and he didn’t betray the team’s inner secrets by revealing that one of its stars was hobbled. In Rob’s defense, he showed a lot of passion out on the pitch, and he was loyally supporting his team-mate Alex in arguing against his replacement…But he got over it once the facts were set straight. What a mess.
Has anyone heard the rumor that Real Madrid wants Arsene…And wants him badly? It’s true. Arsene is on the short list (which is a whopping two man deep) to be Real Madrid’s new manager. Frankly, I think I’d miss him…And I’ll be plenty peeved if Real Madrid ends up doing well with Arsene helming the ship, as it were.
There are many quality quotes about the concept of “time.” Cognizant of the need for brevity and word count limitations, I won’t bother to list them here, but I’d recommend you do a little research and look them up if you get the chance (you know, if you have a time, ha, ha, ha.) Time is truly a double-edged sword, an inescapable element of our lives that we take for granted, frequently until it’s too late, and we’re all out of it. I’m 33 years old, and Lord knows I’ve squandered a good many years, none of which I can recover. Like good Scotch, I like to believe I get better with age, and while that may in many ways be true, I simply can’t deny that I’m getting older as I roll out of bed every morning and find seemingly every bone, muscle, and joint in my body to be in pain.
All that to say this: The 2011-2012 season is growing old, and Arsenal is quite rapidly running out of time.
As I reflect on the Arsenal’s year so far, I find myself experiencing very mixed feelings indeed. I’m a big roller-coaster buff, but after the Arsenal’s inconsistent season of ups-and-downs, rises and falls, even I’m a wee bit nauseated. There were moments of elation, of joy in its purest, most unadulterated form. There were simultaneously moments of raw heartache. In the good times, I never wanted the moment to end, and I never wanted the good feelings to go away (like a great endorphin buzz after a long road run.) In the worst of times, I wanted the moment to end and the negative feelings to go away immediately (akin to the prayers uttered to the porcelain god after a night of hard drinking and a morning hungover.)
In one article, I discussed the improbably return of Thierry Henry and how his immediate contribution to the team enabled the Gunners to win a victory in the FA Cup and simultaneously permit young men like me to unapologetically live vicariously live through him. Thanks, Thierry–I needed that.
One article was full of hope, demonstrating a level of optimism comparable to children with strong imaginations or mental hospital patients lacking a firm grasp of reality. I don’t know if Arsene reads my blogs (note to Arsene: You should), but I wanted to send a clear message that there is always reason for hope, to hold onto hope despite the statistics and prevailing opinion of expert analysts.
In my articles, I have done everything I possibly could to inject motivation into the hearts and minds of Arsenal fans and players alike. Like a barrister of old, I have tried to properly articulate my case for my own team, employing emotional appeal when hard evidence was lacking. Case in point: I said Arsenal would beat Manchester United, but I didn’t have any proof to substantiate my claims.
Football fans the world over knows what it means to be passionate about your team. You pull for that team no matter what. You’re willing to bet on them even though you know you’ll lose your shirt. You’ll stand in the cold pouring rain to support your favorite players. You’ll even spend an exhorbitant feet in order to watch the games live on the Fox Soccer website. If there’s a big, fat, drunken blow-hard dissing your team, you might even be willing to stand up for the Arsenal. Well, maybe.
Arsenal has been questioned by many. Is the team going to make it into the top four? If they survive until then, can they actually compete against Premiere League powerhouses like Manchester United and Manchester City? I’ve been personally criticized for equating the Arsenal and Manchester United matchup to David and Goliath. To draw another appropo analogy, I could equate bringing a knife to a gunfight. The bottom line is, you can always still win despite overwhelming odds working against you, but you can never expect the soccer gods to shine favorably upon you out of the good nature of their hearts.
The season is not yet over. Yet, it still feels very much as if it is. Manchester United and Manchester City are competing for Premiere League dominance, with Manchester City sitting pretty on the top of the heap, engaging all comers in a violent game of King of the Hill where challengers are mercilessly knocked down. Manchester United and Manchester City have vocally expressed their concerns that Arsenal will yet prove to be a threat worth taking seriously, but it’s hard to tell whether they’re being overly humble or just downplaying expectations. I would suppose they’re probably attempting–and succeeding–in their efforts of putting a mental mind-screw on Arsenal fans, giving us false hope when we might otherwise be mentally psyching ourselves up for battle.
We can’t possibly know what the next few weeks will bring for the Arsenal. How will they fare with the handful of games they have left? From what I’ve gathered from reports and analyses, the Arsenal community has good reason to be optimistic when Aston Villa rolls into Emirates Stadium this coming Sunday. The Gunners have been banged up, but there are no serious injuries to key players that would change the team’s dynamic. I noticed one scouting report on the official Arsenal website that actually theorized that Aston Villa would pull off a win at Emirates (where they have a respectable-enough record), but I disagree. Arsenal is at home, and after putting in an impressive show against Manchester United just one week ago, the Gunners are going to want to show the other members of Barclay’s Premier League that they are not a club to be marginalised nor trifled with. Arsenal has a historic background with a long track-record of excellence, and even if the team is in decline, the team still bears a lot of credibility.
At best, the Gunners could prove everybody wrong and go on to win the Championship. At worst…Well, there’s always next year, eh?
Seeing as how it’s virtually a brand new, hot-off-the-presses story, I’d like to comment quickly on Arsene Wenger’s assertion that players over the age of 21 should not be permitted to be loaned from one Premiere League team to another in order to reinforce another team while stil maintaining ownership of the player. I’d like to go on record as agreeing with Arsene, because it only makes sense/cents that the loan system, as it now exists, does give an unfair advantage to the wealthier teams. You may agree with Arsene and me. You may not. But we’re right…And you know it.