"You campaign in poetry, but you govern in prose."
- Hillary Clinton, before she was beaten in a campaign by poetry
For a couple of weeks, I've been arguing with the good folk over at Untold Arsenal about their ultra-optimistic, long term view of Arsenal's rosy bright future. They're speaking in metaphors, alluding to Arsenal as a cathedral built to last a 100 years. It's irritating because they ignore what's in front of them.
There are things that Arsenal can do, right now, to improve the team and to enhance their chances of success. They can start pressing higher up the pitch. They can sort out their set pieces. They can drill their full-backs to defend better. They can work out a system where their DM covers their position and stop the opposition from ripping our lines apart like wet toilet paper.
But will it happen? It hasn't happened in 5 years, and I haven't seen much evidence of it happening right now. This is what irritates me. It's one thing for a team to trying its hardest on a limited budget. It's another thing for that team to purposefully ignore their weaknesses because it doesn't fit into their philosophy of football.
I believe Wenger is guilty of that. I love Wenger for what he has done for the club, but I think he's lost his way if he thinks he can win the league with our current approach. We've made the same mistakes for 5 years now, and apart from the odd win against the odds, we're not learning.
Cesc Fabregas said about our team:
"As a team, we need to be stronger. We can't hide behind people saying we are too young or we have injuries. We just have to compete. People say you must learn from your mistakes, but you learn how to play football when you are 12, 13, 14, 15. You don't learn these things when you are 25.
"In the past few years, we have been doing very well, but whenever it comes to important moments, maybe we haven't been up where we need to be. We have always tried to play our football, but the goals we have conceded lately have come from defensive mistakes. We are a team, so we all take responsibility for it together. We can keep playing the same style of football, but it is the mentality that will determine whether you win trophies or not. We need an extra edge in these big games."
I completely agree with Cesc on that point. We're committing school-boy errors in defence. We're weak in the big games. Wenger talks about this side needing to take the handbrake off during the big games, but I'd rather they kept the handbrake on and stop concede those stupid goals. This isn't stuff that you learn when you're playing professional football. It's stuff you learn when you're a kid. It's just that when you're in an environment like London Colney, defensive skills are neglected and players lose their way.
And I don't think fans that blindly follow the Arsenal are helping. A supporter who takes everything at face value and who doesn't use their critical minds is a muppet. A supporter who sees the weaknesses, but encourages a team to continuing on the wrong path is an enabler.
Clichy's been on the Arsenal website to say that:
"When I am on the pitch and I hear those songs and nothing can be better than that. So I really want to thank the fans... For the fans it is a way of talking to the players.... it's a way for them to tell us that they appreciate the work we are doing and the fact that they love us as a player so it's good and we play for them and they sing for us."
I wish there was a song that encouraged him to mark his winger and not to bolt upfield and get caught out positionally. Also to learn to cross properly so we can take full advantage of him forays upfield. Could someone make up a song that says that? I think "Clichy" rhymes with "positionally" if it helps....