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Blog

Random ramblings about Arsenal. 

Filtering by Tag: Flamini

Short Round

SJS

Over the last nine days we've all been beaten over the head enough with how bad international breaks suck, how the team must bounce back against Southampton at the Emirates this weekend, how much we are looking forward to the returns from injury of Theo and Poldi (among others), who we should be buying in January (does that rumor cycle ever end?). When the biggest news of the break is that Flamini cut the sleeves off his top, that tells you all you need to know.

If you're anything like me, you've just about reached your breaking point while waiting for 10am on Saturday morning. Having been awash in two weeks worth of Interlull dreck and infinitesimally detailed team analysis, how about a little distraction palate cleanser before we reassume our title campaign?

Football as Football

How clever is this? American football logos redesigned in the German, English, Spanish and Italian football logo styles.

Carolina Panthers in the German style (Credit Football as Football - footballasfootball.com)

Carolina Panthers in the German style (Credit Football as Football - footballasfootball.com)

Shrunken Footballers

Does what it says on the tin: pictures of photomanipulately-diminutive footballers.

Not So BFG (Credit Shrunken Footballers - twitter.com/shrunkenfooty)

Not So BFG (Credit Shrunken Footballers - twitter.com/shrunkenfooty)

Have fun passing some time with those two.

Up the Arsenal. Bring on the weekend!

Patience

SJS

My August 21st post covering the aftershocks of our season-opening defeat against Aston Villa has really been haunting me.

I spent the off-season forcing myself (and attempting to convince others) to stay positive. Even after months of remembering that we finished the 2012/13 season with such a great record, survived a summer where we kept all our key players and got rid of the chaff, and generally remained quite stable while the other top clubs experienced change and turmoil, I decided to call for Wenger's head after our stumble out of the gates.

Even after rebounding from that initial defeat to a 3-0 win at Fenerbahçe, my faith in his management of the team and the organization had reached a breaking point. I was convinced at the time that we needed a change.

But then this happened: 

Credit Stuart MacFarlane/Getty Images

Credit Stuart MacFarlane/Getty Images

Credit Stuart MacFarlane/Getty Images

Credit Stuart MacFarlane/Getty Images

Credit Stuart MacFarlane/Getty Images

Credit Stuart MacFarlane/Getty Images

And this happened:

W - W - W - W - W - W - W - W - W - W

And this happened: 

1) Arsenal 15
2) Liverpool  13
3) T*tt*nh*m  13
4) Everton 12
5) Chelsea  11
6) Southampton  11
7) Man City  10
8) Hull  10
9) Aston Villa  9
10) West Brom  8
11) Cardiff  8
12) Man Utd  7
13) Swansea  7
14) Norwich  7
15) Stoke  7
16) Newcastle  7
17) West Ham  5
18) Fulham  4
19) Crystal Palace  3
20) Sunderland  1

What a difference a few weeks can make, eh?  I don't think I'm alone in wanting to douse my torch, pack away my pitchfork, repent my previously held rage, and revel in this newly-rediscovered attractive, fluid football. We are utterly dismantling and demoralizing the opposition. Just watch the September Goals of the Month and marvel at the peanut butter and chocolate combination of individual brilliance and team dynamics in our build up to scoring. Have a peek again at the first 15 minutes of our match against Napoli and witness the evisceration of last season's Serie A runners up. This is a side playing with a bravado and imperiousness that hypnotizes. They seem confident that a positive result is never in doubt, even with key players like Santi injured. That's infectious.

Thinking more about it now, the root of it all for me was the pressurized frustration that came with Arsenal Holdings plc seeming for a years to come before Arsenal Football Club. It felt like the decisions being made on and off the pitch were not to benefit the team on the field but instead were focused on the team in the boardroom. Great players were sold to affect the club's bottom line. Our transfers in were rather austere and frugal in comparison. The club seemed to be focused on the balance sheet and not on entertaining the supporters. It hurts when the veil gets pulled back to reveal that football is a business and that we the supporters are walking wallets and that maybe the people pulling the strings don't have our best interests at heart.

And maybe that hasn't really changed, but at least after so many barren and destitute years the dominoes have fallen into place, the club is demonstrating some ambition again, and supporters feel like we are getting returns on the investment of our time, energy, and money. Even the most unrealistic of us don't think Arsenal can win the league every year, but the perennial race to fourth place was getting tiresome. We are actually in the mix again and it's uplifting. Isn't it funny that we're doing it with players who a lot of us thought weren't "good enough"? How many of you wanted to cut bait on Ramsey, for instance?

The tired media and blog narrative of Arsenal constantly being injured, losing their best players, missing out on big transfers, and consistently falling short is improving vastly, too. Just to give one example, World Soccer Talk ran four positive Arsenal pieces in the span of three days. That's not a knock on WST; they're going to run stories that get pageviews and right now talking positively about the Gunners is bringing the clicks in. The Arsenal are title contenders again.

If you're paying attention, all I'm really talking about is the Hokey Pokey. I put my rage in Wenger, I take my rage out, we write snarky things about Arsenal, we write positive things about Arsenal, we think our players aren't good enough, we think are players are the best in the league. Supporters' moods are fickle. If I've learned anything from this it's that I should probably not snap to judgements on the back of a single negative result. Maybe he needed a little bit nudge to take the handbrake off, but Wenger has been good to our club and has us in excellent shape so far this season. We should be good to him, too.

Some Housekeeping

Make sure you come out to Local 616 (weather permitting) this Sunday; we'll be taking preorders for Charsenal t-shirts! 

 

charsenal_proof.png

$12 per shirt, adult sizes small through 3XL available. We are only taking preorders in person for now, so no shipping options just yet.

On another note, you might notice that this blog doesn't get frequent updates. I write when inspiration hits and time allows, and sometimes that means there are weeks in between posts. I also don't tend to focus on stats, tactics or match reports, preferring to deal with the emotional and practical sides of following Arsenal from Charleston (with many conjunctions, commas, and parentheticals thrown in for good measure). 

If you would like to contribute to this blog, use the email form at the top of the page or hit us up on Facebook or Twitter to send along a writing sample or two. We would love to be able to showcase many perspectives from Charleston Gooners. Word.

ümläüt

SJS

 #AHA

Let's not bury the lede: Arsenal Football Club signed Mesut MFing Özil on transfer deadline day.

Due respect to Emiliano Viviano; many of us see the addition of another goalkeeper, albeit on loan, as a wonderful addition to our squad. Likewise, on the evidence of his commanding North London Derby performance, bringing in Mathieu Flamini was another shrewd bit of business by the club.

The big news though, and rightfully so, is the purchase of Özil. In a well-timed swoop, we purchased one of the world's best playmakers, full stop. Gervinho from Arsenal to Roma, Lemela from Roma to Spuds, the Welsh Simian from Spuds to Real Madrid, and Özil from Real Madrid to Arsenal. It's the circle of life. Hakuna matata. A single player has taken us from top four contender to title contender.

My lengthy blast of the club and manager for their business acumen belied the fact that I grasped tightly a sliver of hope during this transfer window that something big would happen. Even the most pollyanna among us would not have anticipated such a huge and previously unheralded purchase. Mesut Özil (seriously, I will take every opportunity to type that name just for the umlaut) is the sort of transfer deadline signing that I hope can unify a polarized fanbase around the notion that Wenger still has his head in the game and the club are willing to spend top, top money for top, top quality.

A few words about that last blog post: I am not too proud to admit that I was far too negative, far too early in the season. Getting spun up in the Twitter echochamber and coming out the other side a bitter soul is discouragingly easy. Implicitly I called for the manager's head and he explicitly signed a world class player who specifically wanted to play for him. Özil clearly liked what Wenger had to say, and that made a big difference in luring him away from Real Madrid. I'm sorry, Arsène. I never meant to hurt you baby. It's telling that I and so many of us were willing to throw Wenger under the bus after so many years of frustration following so many more years of success. We really needed a signing like Özil to turn perceptions around, both internally and externally. Supporters, players, and rivals alike have witnessed a powerful demonstration of Arsenal's and Arsène's ambition. We can compete. Can we all just shut the hell up about transfers now?

Well, no. For all the goodwill banked by beating The Team That Bale Built Standing On A Basketball FC and bringing Özil, Flamini, and Viviano in, we are still riding a knife's edge when it comes to squad depth. I have to wonder why Rosický wasn't subbed off more quickly in the North London Derby, as particularly in the later stages of the match he seemed abnormally off the pace to me (tangentially, can we please stop passing it around in our 18-yard box?!). Our two late-game subs brought on fullbacks for attackers; masterful man-management or dearth of direct deputies? 

It's clear the boss believes we can get healthy soon and in the meantime cover with who we have available (even TGSTEL). Such is the impact of signing Özil that the big difference for me between the start of the season and now is that I'm way more open to letting it slide. My confidence is restored. I don't understand why we didn't take advantage of this summer to refresh and restock our supporting lineup instead of mainly just clearing the decks, but maybe it's not for me to understand. 7amkickoff recently lamented how we've all become lawyers and accountants and I'm sick of it too. I spent so much time worrying about how thin our squad is and how inactive in the transfer market we've been and how big our bank account is, when maybe I should've just been enjoying the ride?

All of that to say, there's plenty to enjoy right now. Things have definitely been looking up for the team since last we spoke. We avenged our opening day loss by running through Fenerbahçe home and away in our Champions League play-in round, traveling to Craven Cottage to convincingly crush Fulham in a torrential downpour, and finally, most endearingly, putting the sword to Spuds at the Emirates.

Speaking of, Charsenal's support during our viewing of the North London Derby was top, top quality. In addition to the locals, we welcomed special visitors from North Carolina and New York and all sang our hearts out. We should do that again sometime...say, in about two weeks?

PS: who else wants to wrap Özil in a big bubble wrap suit until the Interlull is over so he doesn't get crocked?