The last time Arsenal visited Wembley was some eight months ago. The community shield match, the season’s traditional curtain raiser, was against Premier League Champions, Man City. The match was meant to give us a glimpse of the future yet unseen – no, actually, it was meant to give us something to expect as the new season approached.
As the summer sun set its golden hue on Wembley that evening, Arsenal was crowned community shield winners having beaten the league champions. The fashion of the win, which was in truth in a devastating way, prompted a wave of clichés. “Its just a glorified friendly”, ” City fielded an understrength team”, to mention just two.
As the summer sun set its golden hue on Wembley that evening, Arsenal was crowned community shield winners having beaten the league championsBut as insignificant the British media wanted us to believe the win was, the hand writing on the wall was clear enough to be seen even by blind eyes; Arsenal finally had a squad that could compete for major honours, the final pieces of the jigsaw have been bought and placed in the right places.
Save for the fabled Tall black dominating defensive midfielder – didn’t really see the need though- I genuinely thought this was it, this was the dream team. And the win against City could only underpin my sentiments.
Fast forward to today, we go back to Wembley with a familiar feeling; we must win this and the subsequent to save our otherwise not successful season. Glorious exits, falling to deliver on promises, injuries to key players at key moments of the season, we’ve been here before.
The manner with which why lost the league ( believe me, it’s over) was particularly startling. Going on that run of draws – five matches, I’m not sure- in a league with such high standards was always going to hurt you. It meant we could only play catch-up in the second half of the season waiting for the leading team to slip up. The didn’t, or haven’t, depending on your beliefs. The half filled/empty glass theory nonsense applies here too I guess.
But hey, maybe this season is not all about failed promises. Maybe there’s indeed progress, like the big wins in big matches, like the tantalizing prospect of an FA cup trophy should we win today. Maybe it is me refusing to see this as real progress, but maybe I’m just not being a real fan by wanting success all the time. Instead of accepting and appreciating what the wonderful players we have on board, I’m concerned about the not so good. But, you know, I love this club as much you do and I only want the best for us.