Truth or Dare? Arsenal’s Chance to Answer the Critics

As we emerge from the wastelands of the summer transfer window and look for a way back to redemption, a lot of us probably find ourselves wondering “how can we salvage anything from this mess?”. It’s something we here at GDU have been contemplating since our last blog. With no league football for over a fortnight now, many of us found ourselves drawn into the quagmire that was our diabolical end to the window off the back of a turd sandwich performance at Anfield. Fair enough too, both of those scenarios required unparalleled outrage given our expectations based on the things we are repeatedly told by those in power at the club.

Perhaps now that the dust has settled on that stoush and with the squad locked in for the rest of 2017, it would be a good time to think about what we can set ourselves on to achieve for the remainder of the season. Forget the power mongers, the would be ITK’s and the pundits winding us all up for more clicks and hits on their pay-walled websites. These people can’t influence one damn thing when it comes to matchday performances. That’s all down to the players and how they want to respond to the warranted (for the most part) criticism that has been squared at them in a constant stream since the defeat at Stoke. Who is going to be the one to pull this group together and say “whether we like it or not, we are all in this together. So, how do you want to answer the critics?” Is there anyone in the playing group capable of galvanizing such an obviously disjointed team?

As for myself, I am a fan of the football. I don’t give a fuck about Stan Kroenke, Ivan Gazidis or Dick Law. Sure, they provide me with plenty of fodder for creating content, but when it all boils down I could care less about what they’re upto. It’s results on the pitch that drives me. I want to see Arsenal putting out a side that I can get behind and channel my passion for the game into. I want to get excited about seeing a kid like Reiss Nelson find his way into the senior squad and go on one of his twisty dribbles up the field. I want to see my passion reflected by the players on game day. What we have seen so far has got many of us concerned that the passion has gone out of this group, and with good reason. The mismanagement of the first 3 games of the season cannot continue if we are going to get even a sniff of redemption. We have to wait and watch on now as we take measure of how much impact that mishandling will have on the rest of the campaign. No doubt it has played a part in some of the performances we have seen so far and for that Wenger will have to suffer the consequences.

The great thing about this game is that there is always another game to bring yourself back, no matter how far down the well you go and we are a long way down said well. Have you ever seen The Ring? That movie scared the absolute shit out of me when it first came out. When the little girl’s mum suffocates her and kicks her into the well, damn that was a mistake… Fortunately for Arsenal we don’t have to rely on supernatural video tapes to enact vengeance on those who have wronged us, no. We get a rope lowered down on a regular basis for the next 8 months or so, with every 3 points we collect along the way up added to the bucket. We just need to grab the rope and pull ourselves up.

There will undoubtedly be a fair amount of work to do in order to appease the players who had the rug pulled out from under them recently. How we get Alexis & Mustafi back on side after they were shown the door before having it slammed in their face remains to be seen. You’d like to think that in the world of professional football, they would just be able to put that behind them and focus on getting back to it. My tip is that it won’t be so simple and we may see the reaction to those situations play out in the way of dodgy form over the next couple of weeks. Alexis is copping a hiding from the Chile fans at the moment because, well you know…football fans. He responded to the flagellation through social media (as is the way in modern sports) to deflect the heat as much as he could.

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There’s no doubt that things are weighing on his mind. We need him fit and firing on all cylinders to be any chance this season. Top 4? Shit, I’m worried about West Brom right now, nevermind making top 4.

With the WC qualifiers out-of-the-way and the squad back in London ahead of the weekend, we now look to our response against Bournemouth. The Cherries also find themselves in a bit of an early season slump and will be out to send a message of their own. There’s not going to be any red carpet rolled out for our boys, every team in the league is circling the boat now with the smell of blood in the water. Nothing will give Eddie Howe more motivation than to know his charges can kick-start the rest of their own season with a win against the wounded Arsenal.

Pay no attention to the journos and pundits who might play this one-off as a “hiding to nothing” for our lads, this is as important a game to win as it is not to lose. A win goes some way to burying the horror which has been the season so far. It gives a little platform to go to Cologne on the following Thursday night and kick off our Europa league campaign in positive fashion and build a head of steam up for the Sunday trip to Stamford bridge (where it will all be undone as we get smacked all over the park :P) We’re joking of course….

The best time to answer all those who have railed against the team for 2 weeks solid now, is this weekend, at our place with 60,000 fans just waiting to help pull them up out of the darkness. Either that or push the lid across the well for good.

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Let’s hope we can answer in the best possible way!

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