‘nuf of the Beautiful Game already. Get me a trophy alrite!
The Obsession with The Philosophy:
Arsene Wenger, with all his beliefs and ardor for the ‘Beautiful Game’ intact, has reached a certain threshold of obduracy from which, sadly, there is no coming back. There has been a massive fixation towards playing the perfect game and winning in the most impeccable manner. It has not only been the conceited Frenchman but even the fans, the ‘Gooners’, who have been living in this ‘ideal world’ and are made to believe that perhaps, ‘The Invincibles’ can be emulated, after all.
It has been almost impossible for Wenger and his aficionados to ‘come out of that obsessed mind-set’ of winning faultlessly. Perhaps, in the land of Football Utopia, it would read ‘Played – 38. Lost – 0, Played the Most Beautiful Football. Scored the most number of Goals. Redefined the Theory of Perfection’, but, in an ideal world, football scripts are not written in that manner every time. The danger of being an Arsenal fan right now lies in the fact that Wenger would not resort to a different viewpoint and would indubitably carry ‘his philosophy’ to his grave.
What exactly went wrong?
In the highest echelon of English Football, the ‘game’ has changed, it has moved to a ‘more physical and more competitive’ genre. Teams don’t rely on their strengths only, they ‘study opponents’, they devise ‘Plan B’ for ‘difficult adversaries’, they try to grind out victories even if their football doesn’t look ‘eye-candy’. Arsenal, after achieving the ‘Ultimatum’ in 2003-04, progressively replaced ‘experienced and proven heads’ with ‘highly talented youngsters’. While, the ‘brand of football’ was kept intact, well, almost, the ‘steel and determination’ to win ‘Trophies’ kept fading away.
Cesc Fabregas and his fellow-men are extremely talented individuals who can mesh together and form the most beautiful pattern in World Football with their mesmerizing interchange of position-n-passing. These men operate at a very high level of endurance and work-ethic. They are almost unrivaled in the league as far as their work-rate and resilience are concerned. But, they lack the ‘killer-instinct’; they are so engrossed in stinging the enemy with little irksome ‘bites’ that they forget the significance of a ‘knock-out punch’.
Time and time again…
Season – 2009-10’
Stage – Stamford Bridge
Result – 0-2
Summary – A brace from Didier Drogba, of course, who else, was enough to secure three points for the West Londoners. Arsenal, dominated for most of the game, tried their best to claw their way back into the game, but failed to convert chances.
Season – 2010-11’
Stage – Stamford Bridge
Result – 0-2
Summary – A clever back-heel shot by Drogba and a fine long-range scorcher from Alex snatched three points away from Arsenal. The visitors dominated for most of the match but failed to capitalize on decent chances.
The last two ‘Title-Aspirant London Derbies’ have been so similar to each other that you really begin to wonder…’Do Arsenal learn from their mistakes? Was there any significant improvement in tactical play? Did they have a top-class striker up-front? Did they come up with a methodology to handle the might of Didier Drogba? Were the defensive shortcomings of the previous encounter rectified in this one?’ The rather shocking revelation – the answer to all the above questions is in the negative.
The One Last Throw of the Dice…
After five years without the slightest smell of any sort of silverware, the ‘Expectations from an Arsenal side’ has reached its nadir. The flaws in the team which is quite evident to a football fan, has been camouflaged by Arsene’s obstinate nature and unwavering ‘belief’ in his ‘young team’. All said and done, ‘on their day’, Arsenal are capable of destroying any team in Europe. Sadly, ‘such days’ don’t win you the Championship. Matches against Chelsea, Manchester United, and Barcelona et all define your character, strength and ambition towards winning silverware.
If Arsenal wins the Premiership this season, it would be with Arsene’s ‘determination’ and continual belief of his troops. It certainly won’t be with a sudden change in strategy leading people to comment on the lines of ‘Ahh, now he realizes it!’ The players and fans of Arsenal Football Club are in a state of an ‘Unpleasant Predicament’, though the ‘picture of a bright future’ is quite perceptible, the hunger and the craving for a trophy are making them increasingly restless. Come Season End, either Arsene Wenger would be rejoicing his steadfast outlook towards the game of football winking with a ‘See, I told you so!‘ statement or lamenting at the ‘Curse of the Beautiful Game’.