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Our Time Is Now

Don't get me wrong Simmo mate, I would just like to say before I start that this is not intended as a piece denigrating your opinion it is just written to contrast and compliment your own from the other side of the fence.

Being the glass half-full sort of person that I am, at least with my football teams, I thought it my responsibility to take on the mantle of disputing our infamously and infinitely negative prediction guru Simmo on the topic of Arsenal's hopes for league glory. Although I am still sat firmly on the aforementioned fence as to whether or not the mighty Gunners will reclaim their place on top of the English football pile, I'm not as pessimistic about our chances as some others and I am simply highlighting the reasons why Arsenal winning the title this season is still a distinct possibility.

For starters there is the fact that we have only lost the one game, a statistic that is rather insignificant if, come May and the end of the season we have less points than United or Chelsea, but at the moment this stands as an immense measure of this teams 'fight' for lack of a better term. The fact that this loss came against Middlesborough, a team who will only stay in the Premier League not of their own merit, but due to the distinctly average teams that make up the bottom half of the table this season, is irrelevant - we were severely depleted by injuries and didn't help our selves by giving away a stupid and unnecessary penalty in the first minutes of the game. Aside from that one game, and with the notable exception of the recent shambles against Birmingham, Arsenal's resolve has been excellent. As with all title winning sides you must get results when things aren't really going your way (Liverpool, Blackburn) or when you simply don't perform to the standard you are capable of (Portsmouth, Man United, T*ttenham, Chelsea and Newcastle). Arsenal have added this dimension to their game and the points it has gained us so far this season are in the double figures, in the last two seasons it would have been 20 or more points in the minus column.

The talent in this side, and the team ethic promoted by both the manager and the style of football played is easily the best in the league. Chelsea have important players in different parts of the field, Drogba upfront, Lampard and Essien in the middle and Terry, Cech and Carvalho at the back, but lack the genuine all round equality and complementary pieces that Wenger has brought in or developed to complete the Arsenal jigsaw. Every player in the Arsenal first team is equally important and capable something that can not be said for United either. United, like Chelsea, have unequal parts to their machine. The defence is strong and will only get stronger with the return of Gary Neville and the adaptation of Hargreaves to the English game but, and it is a big, big but, they severley lack creative options further up the field. With this side Ol' Red/Purple (delete as you wish) Nose's plan is to counter the strong defensive qualities of his team with offensive virtuoso's such as the brilliant Ronaldo and Rooney and the inspirational Tevez, Nani would have been intended to have added to that trio but has not come good quite yet. The problem with this approach though is, as was clearly visible while Ronaldo was suspended earlier in the season, that when one is not playing the options for scoring become drastically reduced. I also remain unconvinced by the pairing of Tevez and Rooney, although time will tell on that one.

In a sense the above point about team equality and team work can be our down fall, as was evident at the Riverside when first team players were missing, it should be noted that we were minus 3 of 4 cogs in midfield, the only survivor being the much improved Tomas Rosicky, and also without another creative engine in the team the eternally absent RVP. Yet the absence of Robin for so long only further highlights the case for an Arsenal title come May, as with the man many a Gooner and pundit picked as the logical replacement for the departed Henry both for goals and excitement only having played 8 games so far this season we are doing fine, great you could say, without arguably the most talented player in a squad full of exceptional skill. His absence has been felt, don't get me wrong, his solo goals and knack of scoring when nobody else looks likely would have been invaluable in games such as Newcastle, Pompey, Boro and Birmingham but the fact we have coped so well without him is testament both to Adebayor and those who have directly replaced Van Persie, be it wither Eduardo or Hleb. The question to ask yourself here is how would Man United do without Rooney or Tevez for 3-4 months and how would Chelsea fair without Drogba, if the lotto chavs didn't just have 15 million to go spend on Le Sulk?

Leadership is another key issue. All great teams have great leaders. Man United had Keane, Chelsea have Terry, Milan have Maldini, Barcelona have Puyol and Arsenal have had in the recent past Adams and Vieira. A great footballer Henry was, of that there is no doubt, a great leader he was not, there is no doubting that either. Gallas though, a man who seemed an interminable pain in the arse-nal last season has become a warrior on the field for us this season. He directs when the team need direction, he calms when the situation calls for cool heads, he yells when players need a telling off as individuals or as a unit and he comes forward to score when all else has failed. This has had an amazing effect on team spirit and results this season. Having a legitimate organizer and leader in defence has lead to a lot of the stupid goals we conceded from corners and free-kicks in years past being cut-out and along with the inspirational performances, and heart of Toure has meant the team are very much led from the back.

So basically the point here is not that we will win the title, I am not going to risk that prediction, but that we do have what it takes over the 38 games. We are a match for any team in the world and on our day probably superior to all but whether or not we can recapture the form of August to November remains to be seen, if we can the title is ours for the taking, hopefully a positive performance against Fulham and signs of a team coming back to life are not a false dawn, and we can at the very least push the more experienced Chelsea and United all the way to the wire. Simmo says this team is still one for the future, I say the future is now! Why Not?

Article submitted by Vital Arsenal member, Ozi Gooner

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The Journalist

Writer: Ozi Gooner Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday January 22 2008

Time: 9:44AM

Your Comments (oldest first)

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Nope sorry, not convinced, I've got a tenner on you finishing outside top four. Please don't let me down. :)
Blue is the colour
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22/01/2008 09:52:00

Way to go Ozi! A call to arms from the other side of the world. A number of cogent points there. In terms of personnel this may look much the same team that ended last season 21 points behind ManU but it really is more advanced in a number of ways. The tempo of our game is generally much higher, there is more experience and Ozi's point about leadership is a significant one. There are some key games in the next 15. Much depends on the outcome of those but Ozi is right - it is winnable now. And BITC can already kiss goodbye to his tenner.
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22/01/2008 10:01:00

its going to be just like before when we won the league,the game will be hinged on the away tie to united....we will stay in contention up to that game on april 12th,and who ever wins that game will win the league......
fran merida
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22/01/2008 10:19:00

and BITC(h)...your team will be beaten by manu, arsenal or liverpool at home,and i will put money on it....
fran merida
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22/01/2008 10:21:00

If that is true BITC, which I doubt, then you're, to paraphrase Brian's mum, "a very silly boy"
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22/01/2008 10:25:00

tonight depends on how much wenger wants to beat spurs. if he wanted to he could put players out there to win the game. but my guess is that he will risk it with a young team and see what happens. If Gilberto plays as badly as he did 2 weeks ago we will lose.
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22/01/2008 10:26:00

I will add to this that our young legs will make up for the young heads at the end of the season.
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22/01/2008 10:33:00

Ozi, a magnificent read. I cannot find fault with any part of that (so I'll have to re-read it later to double check ;) ). We most certainly do have all the component parts needed for a title winnign team, it is all just a question of whether we have the necessary mental fortitude and experience during the run-in. I think we do. Factor back in RvP - hopefully free of injury soon, from here 'til eternity, and that's a real embarrassment of riches pfront. Different from ManUre's, but bursting at the seams with creativity, quality and goals.
»»ARsene Knows««
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22/01/2008 13:59:00

Cracker, Ozi, you da man! No one thinks we can beat Manure, but hey, isn't that just putting us where we love to be. Go ahead BITC, write us off, if you dare! Thes kids can do anything, this year or next, and we don't have to sell our souls or break out the Roubles to buy our way in!
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22/01/2008 14:16:00

I don't think simmo wrote us off either - he just took a slightly different perspective than Ozi. I am yet to see a Gooner who at this point of time can say we don't have a chance against Manure. However, how many of you (honestly) thought we'd be here at the beginning of the season? I am not so fond of revoking memories, but there was a large chunk of Arsenal support who predicted doom and gloom following TH's departure and the arrival of a rather unproven Crozilian, rumbles in the boardroom with Silent Stan, the departure of DD and his 'love affair' with Usmanov, Gilberto's revoking of the captaincy and subsequent awarding of the armband to a player who some thought isn't fit for it, the non-shooting Hleb, injury-prone Rosicky, the not-good-enough Adebayor etc. etc. There was only a few persons who genuinely thought we could be here at the end of the season and one of them is a certain AW. The rest of us were just a bit 'suspicious', weren't we? The expectations from this Arsenal side for this season, from a supporter perspective, was always to improve on last season and build on it. Of course the thought of winning the EPL crossed everyone's mind (and wet a few knickers) but a vast majority of us promptly discarded it. The bottom line is that this side can still vastly improve (speaking long term here) and we should be grateful and delighted to be in such a position beyond the half of the season. But we should also distinguish ourselves from the lot from the Lane who after 2 victories in a row believe they are on the verge of immortality. Be humble and not greedy I say, and what is ours will come.
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22/01/2008 16:06:00

Ozi...let me help you out there fella....that looks rather painful, here.... if I just pull here and you try to lean back we might eventually be able to get that foot of yours out of yer mouth..5-1??? 6-2 on agg...AAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!. LOOOOL
Blue is the colour
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22/01/2008 22:41:00

Fran, we beat Spurs 2-0 tho, how did you lot do? LOOOL!!!
Blue is the colour
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22/01/2008 22:42:00

BITC it's not your turn to gloat yet. I give the SPurs fans that, they deserve it. But you, go back to your site and worry about your own game tomorrow!
Lou the Gunneress
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23/01/2008 01:27:00

Lou t g, you mean the one we won 1-0 ? as in 3-1 agg. ok, it´s nowhere close to win 5-1 or 6-2 on agg but we´re happy with our little win there.
Blue is the colour
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23/01/2008 22:56:00

you won't win the league this year
ozanne park rangers
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24/01/2008 06:58:00

no it's not you this year
ozanne park rangers
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24/01/2008 06:59:00

I'm with Ozi on this one, and though Simmo made some good points in his article, I disagree with his conclusion. We have a good chance to win the title, though ManU are slightly ahead in terms of favourites coz they have done it before and have the experience. This is only a blip, and we have only lost one in the league so far. We cant afford to drop any more points, coz ManU is getting stronger.
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24/01/2008 11:15:00


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