Where’s the crisis?

Do we as Arsenal fans perhaps have the right to feel slightly aggrieved at the way the media treats us? I see no special reason for pundits, journalists and bloggers to have some kind of agenda against the club, but it does seem like there’s something there.

Take the coverage our rivals Spurs are currently getting, for instance; you’d think it was Arsenal who’d let a potentially great season fall apart and were set to miss out on the Champions League next year, with all the talk being of where our star striker will be after the summer.

And yet, it’s all too obvious that key players at Spurs will be considering their futures after being consigned to the Europa League by Chelsea in Munich. Luka Modric made no secret of his desire to leave last season, and Gareth Bale was quoted as admitting he’d have to see how the season ended before he committed his future to the club. Perhaps I simply read more Arsenal news than Spurs news, but there genuinely seems to be hardly any mention of players leaving White Hart Lane for a better chance of success at United, City, Real or Barca. Even when the potential for stories is obviously there.

With the world assuming that Robin van Persie will leave, there has been talk of how Arsenal will cope next season. Even the fantastic signing of Lukas Podolski was met with the question of “is he being signed to play with van Persie or to replace him?” Meanwhile, Spurs are already going to have to look for a cheaper alternative to Emmanuel Adebayor, whose wages they cannot afford and whose signature they will have to compete with bigger clubs for after he enjoyed an impressive season on loan at the Lane. No one’s talking about that. Nor did anyone bat an eyelid at Louis Saha being released – what kind of business was that from Harry? Signed from Everton in January despite a poor season for the Toffees, and then after a surprisingly decent six months, he’s out again, even with the futures of Adebayor and Defoe – who wants more playing time – unresolved. This is all without mentioning the strange Ledley King situation – has he retired or not? His contract has expired and it’s not clear if Spurs will persist with their injury-prone captain. If they do, they’re paying high wages to a player who cannot play regularly, but if they don’t they’re losing an influential and experienced member of their team and will find themselves with another position that needs sorting out.

The media are always ready to have a dig at us, even if we defy all their predictions and finish 3rd; they always find something that isn’t good enough. When the question of RvP leaving comes up, they talk about how he wants to win silverware, as though that is literally an impossibility here, and yet how often do you hear of players wanting to leave Spurs for silverware? Two league cups in twenty years, and yet you’d think our Dutch marksman would be better off down the road in his quest for titles.

What this shows, I suppose, is that we are still a far bigger club than our neighbours, even though no one likes to admit it and have predicted Spurs will finish above us for years now. Third is still seen as a poor season for Arsenal, while 4th is hailed as a great achievement for Spurs, even though they were talked up as title contenders and supposedly played the best football in the league for most of the season. Talk about double standards…

A few thoughts on Euro 2012

I’m excited about this summer’s tournament, but am sad that one of the world’s most exciting strikers will miss out – David Villa.

Spain get a lot of praise for the way their midfield pass the ball, and rightly so, but it strikes me that for a player who is actually quite a big name, Villa is somewhat under-rated. At the last World Cup Spain struggled at times to really break teams down, winning 1-0 in every knock-out game if I remember correctly. While the play of Xavi, Iniesta, Silva and others is undoubtedly superb, it requires a finishing touch, and Villa is one of the best in the business at that.

Torres still looks off-form, while Llorente and Negredo have not shown a great deal in recent friendlies. While I’d like to see Spain win the tournament for the style they play, I think Villa will prove a really big miss, and I expect they will fall short this time.

After that, you’d have to say Germany and Holland are the favourites, which is obviously a bit of a no-brainer. France could do well as they have finally revamped their team after relying on their golden generation for far too long. Benzema, Ribery and Cabaye all had very good seasons and are as good as any of the attacking players at the tournament. I can’t see past any of those three teams winning it, to be honest.

I hope to write more about the tournament as it progresses.

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