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Do we take it too seriously?

Dropping points that seemed in the bag as we did against West Ham at the weekend can be as demoralising as it is frustrating and crushingly disappointing. Even Wenger was moved to describe the experience as 'sickening`.

Various team members have leapt forward to add their voices to the expressions of frustration. Clichy tells us we have to improve the small things, Arshavin that the whole team is very upset, Vermaelen that conceding two goals from nothing was 'very bad` with a more relaxed Fabregas feeling that while we are under pressure to win every game our competitors are also bearing a greater weight of expectation. Hopefully all this hand wringing, soul searching and gnashing of teeth is very cathartic as we need to get over it quickly.

The tossing away of 2 points at Birmingham the season before last was a pivotal moment in the season but more damaging was the following three consecutive tight PL draws in winnable games that really undermined our title challenge. The car crash game last season against Spurs at the Emirates when a 4-2 lead was abandoned in the final moments of the game heralded 3 PL losses in the next 5 games while perversely winning the games against ManU and Chelsea. Prior to the Spurs game we had won 4 of the 5 games played including CL wins over Porto and Fenerbahce.

It isn`t a lack of mental toughness as some have suggested that allows us to occasionally concede points in games from a winning position as there are also games where we come back to claim points from a losing position. If there is a lack of mental fortitude it`s in taking such results too seriously. Letting it negatively affect our mindset going into the next game and carrying it over into the game will stop us from playing with the fluency and freedom that seems to have come back into our game in the early part of this season.

Getting over the inevitable poor unanticipated results is what sets champions apart. United needed to do it once already this season going down to Burnley just as Chelsea have needed to deal with a surprise loss to Wigan. It`s right that we should learn from failures but not to the extent that we become so obsessed with setbacks that we lose the confidence and self belief to play the relaxed, fluent incisive game that we are more than capable of. It is possible to be too analytical and too often we have given way to self doubt and failed to rationalise what really happened. If anything is to undermine our potential for success it`s the need for the arrogance to shrug off results like that at Upton Park and treat it for the freakish result, part and parcel of any season, that it was.

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The Journalist

Writer: Amos Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday October 27 2009

Time: 11:09AM

Your Comments

It's important the players play without fear, BUT, look at the articles from our own official website after the Alkmaar game. Sagna: 'We Can't Afford To Switch Off Again.' Diaby 'We Stopped Concentrating.' Clichy: 'We Only Need the Little Things.' West Ham was clearly not a freakish result much in the way that getting a nasty shock when hooking your testes to a car battery isn't an unsurprising result. 'Freakish' suggests one off, never happened before, never likely to be repeated. Can you honestly say the West Ham result was an example of that? The players need to look at why it happened to insulate themselves from doing it again. Over analysis isn't needed, just simple intelligence. "Ah, I put my hand on a hot stove and got burnt. From now on, I won't put my hand on a hot stove anymore."
Little Dutch
Of course it's happened before and you know what? It'll happen again at some point. Just as certainly as sometimes we'll come back from a losing position. The West Ham result was freak'ish' as was the result at OT. The Hammers didn't really threaten us in open play and shouldn't have been awarded the free kick that led to the first goal. Mannone might have done better with the free kick but it could just as easily have fallen to one of our lot and been cleared. There was little we could do about the award of the free kick itself. But as I said sod's law dictates that such things will happen in a season. Agonising over long about it doesn't really take us anywhere.
I have to say I did enjoy all the media comment about how the "pretenders" to the top 4 are just that cos they dropped points...followed by your lads dropping points at a team in the bottom 3. and not so long after man utd dropped points to a promoted team, and chelsea to a mid table side. the media really are idiots arent they. IMO opinion the title race is more open because all the other top 4 sides apart from arsenal have got worse and arsenal have slightly improved. should be interesting.
Here's a question for you all too, (well 2). Would you prefer to see spurs in the top 4 and Utd/Liv/Che drop out? And do you prefer to see City do well, even though they offer a bigger threat? While I love the Ars-spurs rivalry, I think I prefer your side (lack of english players and myopic coach aside) to the other title contenders, I like the football you play and I love wengers insistence on running the club within its means and blooding youngsters. Would still celebrate if you got relegated tho, so who knows! Look forward to saturday, should be great. Wish both teams were at full strength tho, walcott and lennon on the same pitch would be interesting, and seeing modric and fabregas both playing good passing football would have been great.
I really couldn't care less who makes up the rest of the top four but I guess the Spuds will be the only ones to produce an 'Our Challenge for top 4' commemorative DVD. I too will miss the spectacle of the midget Lennon running around aimlessly as though his arse were on fire but spuds do have a little more about them of late so it should indeed be a good game.
Its not the question of simply coming back from a loss, Amos. Every team loses at some point, as did Arsenal this season in Manchester, and we came back well after that. However, the circumstances of the loss have more to do with the criticism than anything. No one will have complaints if we were outplayed. But if, as you say, the team cannot recover from such a loss in the next few games, it is only further evidence of the lack of mental strength needed to be champions. How often has this happened to ManU or Chelsea (ie where they have thrown away a lead, and not when they have been outplayed)?
"Running round aimlessly" Amos-2009. Now repeat after me "hes much, much better than Theo Walcott"
Yeah were crippled with injury. Modric Lennon Defoe King Woodgate pretty much cancels anykind of attractive, attacking football we were hoping to play, yet insuring we concede a load. Plan B is aim for the Giraffe ye old Arsenal way and hope you play Mannone.
I actually would prefer it if Defoe were available. Crouch is now a shoe in to play and we generally cope with him with the effectiveness of an inflatable dartboard. Compare and contrast last season between Walcott and Lennon: Premiership Goals and Assists, International Goals and Assists: Champions League Goals and Assists.
Little Dutch
It's important to note that it wasn't a loss against West Ham prits. If the ref hadn't have been generous with the time in their game against City ManU may well have thrown away the lead more than once very recently. They did throwaway the lead in a CLQF 1st leg against Porto last season as did Chelsea against Barcelona in the CL SF last season. Barcelona weren't outplaying them at the time. ManU lost the lead against Everton earlier last season and against Chelsea even earlier. Chelsea dropped leads, late against Fulham, and also Tottenham last season. Conceding against Alkmaar and West Ham may not be at the same level but neither were the games losses hence there isn't a loss to come back from. Getting it out of proportion builds mental barriers that shouldn't really exist.
Chelsea also threw away a lead to Villa the other week despite Chelsea being the much better team.
I don't think any of those examples are the same as ours. Barca are a quality side and it's not at all beyond the realms of possibility that Iniesta is going to curl one in the top corner in the last minute. Chelsea and Villa was a very evenly matched game, but Villa did Chelsea on their big weakness- defending set pieces, not as a result of complacency (though I accept they missed many chances). Arsenal have surrendered two goal leads three times in eleven months. Prior to that, we'd done it twice in the whole of Wenger's reign to my memory (Sunderland at home in December 2000 and away at Villa in 1998 when we lost 3-2). When was the last time United or Chelsea surrendered a two goal lead? When was the last time United lost a league title and a Champions League QF within six weeks of one another by daydreaming when in an unfeasibly strong position to win a game? Would Fletcher and Evra have decided to showboat in their own penalty area when 2-1 up away at Birmingham with the chance to go eight points clear? Have either team been two goals up on 90 minutes and not won of late? It can happen once in a while yes, but it's hardly the rare occurrence for us that it is for the teams we are meant to be competing with. Not to mention the fact that Blackburn and Birmingham at home were allowed back into games (I recall United doing it against Hull last September going from 4-0 to 4-3 and you could make an argument they let Bolton into the game last week- but they tightened up and made sure Bolton didn't get a sniff thereafter). There were clear signs of complacency in that opening ten minutes in Liege (trying an aerial backheel on the edge of your own area?) To United and Chelsea, letting teams back into games is a once or twice a season occurrence, for Arsenal right now, it is weekly and for the last twelve months has happened at least once a month.
Little Dutch
Three times in Wenger's reign, I just remembered Bayern Munich at home in December 2000.
Little Dutch
It's only a once or twice a season occurence for us to really. The way we play will always give the other side a chance. That was also true of the Invincibles which is why we drew so many games that season. In fact none of the title winners since had won as few games and taken the title as we did in 2004. We were good at not losing which is precisely what has happened in the last two games.
I make it three times we drew from winning positions that season, Everton away, Bolton away, Leicester away. In the first two games, we were actually outplayed and lucky to come home with a draw. In fact, in all three games, we made defensive substitutions after those sides had equalised (Gilberto for Kanu- I think- at Goodison, we took Pires off for Parlour at Bolton and against Leicester I know we took off Bergkamp and repalced him with a midfielder- but I forget who. Bear in mind Vieira and Henry were both injured that day too). I wouldn't surmise that we threw away any of those games bar the Leicester one. Then of course there was the Chelsea CL game, but that was more fatigue than lethargy I think. We had a close scare against Charlton when we were 2-0 up and coasting and they got back to 2-1- but here's the difference. When they got back to 2-1 we defended with our lives and generally recognised it was a game again and in the end settled for three points that wasn't too pretty. This side would have been doing backheels by their own corner flag in the same scenario.
Little Dutch
Lennon was our player of the season, Theo is about as consistant as Obafemi Martins. On his day hes fabulous and has more of a goal threat than Lennon, but on his day so did Laurent Robert. Lennon has a great work ethic, skill an pace and is far more consistant than Theo. Stats shmats, we were in a terrible state for more than half of last season and nobody achieved good stats. If Lennon played for you last season and we had Theo the gap would have been almost frightening between them.
This is getting too far into the minutae of the games for me to feel comfortable challenging you of all people LD! I am always going to take a caning from you going along that path! It's true that our defense and midfield aren't as experienced or as mature as the invincible side and is more likely to make decisions that reflect that. Ib fact we have been jittery and panicky in defense and midfield since Denilson went off in the Citeh game and Wenger lost confidence in Almunia. But it's still on a scale that doesn't warrant the over reaction we have had to the weekends game - though I share the sense of frustration. I think we are in danger of creating a hurdle for ourselves that the scale of the problem doesn't justify. It isn't so much that ManU and Chelsea don't suffer the same types of setback from time to time it's more that they don't dwell and agonise over it to the same extent that we do. It's that tendency that has cost us points over the last couple of seasons - more so than the events themselves.
Oh dear Aaron "penguin" Lennon's dad is back.
If you're trying to say that the players dwell on the previous game too much and thats why we ended up with a draw against West Ham, I'd disagree with you, Amos. In the 1st half against WHU, it was fluid free flowing football and they seemed to forget the AZ game, rather than be inhibited because of it. Every time we got 2 goals up, the players need to tighten their game. How else will they do it if they cant think back to previous botched attempts and learn from them?
I am not saying that the West Ham result was a consequence of dwelling on the previous result. The Alkmaar experience has been felt by most teams in the CL at some point. What I am saying is that, as we did after the Birmingham game 2 seasons ago and after the Spurs game last season, we are in danger of allowing the sort of freakish results that affect most teams at some time or another become more of a psychological hurdle than it should be. It really isn't anything other than the normal ebb and flow of performances. Things go for you and they go against you. We are building it up as though there is an endemic problem that doesn't affect other teams. Whereas the only real difference is having the confidence or arrogance to believe that we needn't play with any inhibitions because a result has gone against the run of play.
Crikey!LD, do you watch (our) games with your vid recorder on, or just start off your internal recorder and store away in your human RAM? Christ! If you can keep records this good, you don't need a wife; you'll probably, both, wear one another out recounting offenses. Well, its amazing what 48 hours of musing over 'lost opportunities' can do for the frustrated mind. At least, I am now able to put sunday's draw in perspective and think: it could have been worse. Afterall, Citeh allowed Fulham back from 2-0 up; Hamburg FC, for a chance to go top of the Bundesliga at home, went 2-0 up against Shalke 04, only to allow them back at 2-2; they went 3-2 up with minutes to go but conceded a goal to level scores at 3-3; Everton lost to Bolton 3-2. Now all these took place same weekend as our game against WHU (I can't go so far back as LD, sorry) and makes me to see the positives in a draw with another London side, playing for its premiership life. I think we should give the lads another chance, get behind them for the next two games and hope that we will get a reaction from them in those games against 'Pool and the Spuds (especially, as "a Cannon will always be cooler than a Chicken/Rooster(?)"-now, who came up with that?). Next month will prove a defining one as to our title chasing credentials at both the Premiership and CL. Lets get behind the team and see this through. It could have been worse!
HuddersfieldYiddo, the fact that you think Lennon was your player of the season last campaign says a lot more about your season than it does Lennon's quality (though i'd argue that both Palacios and Modric were a fair way ahead anyways).
Ozi Gooner
My word LD. I can't remember what I had for dinner Sunday night, much less which draws we were lucky to get.
72 hr has passed and the level of frustrations appeared not to show any sign of subsiding just like one of my neighbours had not stopped cursing and swearing since Sunday too, for losing a fortune on a bet that he’d believed to be an odds-on banker…of course, therein lies a fundamental difference between the two, we are angry simply becos of the love of the club. The question is – how much and how far are we going to vent our frustrations? Players had came out and stated that the team needed to improve following the AZ match which apparently didn’t work from what we saw at upton park. Since then, with fans/various blogs expressing their fury unreservedly, the manager had acknowledged the team’s shortcomings, and players had admitted that they need to learn from the lesson…isn’t this the reaction we want from the team? Or are we, by quoting past examples from our archives, telling the team that “no, I don’t believe you’ll ever learn cos you did that in XXX and repeated it in XXX and repeated it …”? If the belief in the team is gone, what should we do? Sack the manager? Bring in new players? Or, if neither is feasible, perhaps we should just pack our bags and declare the season close now cos we believe that the current crop of players would never learnt and the same episode will recur. My sense is that we should trust and let AW address the issue. It is his responsibility to correct the team’s mistakes and sieve out players who do not have the right attitude, and he will have to answer to the club ultimately for failing to do so. Fans have every right to make known their disapprovals to the team, but pushing it beyond the limits and placing “stupid”/”lack of intelligence” labels on the players are counter-productive and would not help the club achieve anything.
"isn’t this the reaction we want from the team?" No, frankly. They've said it all so many times that I think they'd be better off keeping their mouths shut for five minutes and proving it on the pitch. I think it's just as correct to call this side stupid and unintelligent as it is to ackowledge their many, many strengths. It's being balanced, I for one am not going to ignore the idiocy and just praise the brilliance. Have I lost faith in them learning from this error? Yes, totally. If they haven't learned by now, quite frankly I don't see what basis I have to believe that they have the cranial capacity. It's up to them to earn that trust back. Supporters don't need to believe entirely in what they are seeing. Do Pompey fans think they can win the Premiership? Of course not, but there's no need to do anything melodramatic like call for the sacking of the manager or buying a whole heap of new players because that would create more problems that it solves. Nor is it necessary for us to declare an end to the season. On that basis, basically every set of fans in the country bar United and Chelsea should probably do that. Winning the league isn't the sole joy in supporting a football team, there's more to it than that.
Little Dutch
I am not sure what it is that the players are supposed to learn that is really any different from what they train to do anyway. Is the training any different for not conceding a penalty in the last 10 minutes or when 2-1 up than it is in the first 10 minutes or when 2-1 down? Do you train in not conceding or dealing with free kicks late in the game any differently than you would early in the game. Does the scoreline at the time really dictate how differently the team deals with these situation? What I would like the team to learn or acquire is the arrogance to put these setbacks behind them and go out into the next game with the certain belief and total conviction that they can murder the opposition. They all ready know everything else. It is doubt that has cost us in the past - not complacency.
Ironically, I doubt that to be true. Eboue went through at 2-0 up and had two people waiting for a cutback but he opted to shoot from an impossible angle. Would he have done that at 0-0? It was borne of complacency. Compare and contrast the three forwards at Celtic Park in August, pressing and harrying high up the pitch. We did on Sunday too until the second half when we stopped. I don't think there's a particular training drill no, it's much, much more a mental attitude problem. It's why we wilt in games so consistently (at Old Trafford we were in complete control and then shat ourselves the instant it looked as though we would win the game). How is that addressed? I've no idea. You'd have thought losing big games and big, big trophies by repeating the same mistakes would have taught them something, but apparently not. To borrow a Wengerism, it's like saying you want to marry Miss World, if she doesn't want to marry you, what can I do? If these players don't want to learn, how can they be taught?
Little Dutch
"Winning the league isn't the sole joy in supporting a football team, there's more to it than that." Agreed, LD. When I mentioned "declare the season close", I was referring to your previous comment "...The frustration is that Arsenal really have a chance this season..." While I was disappointed too, I was trying to understand the intensity of your frustration. I was trying to see the real objective of your negativities. The pompey example was totally out of context, just as to expect my country to qualify for the world cup. If a club of our stature do not set out to win things at the start of each season, would you accept it?
And the complacency v doubt question reinforces my point. Doubt came as a direct result of complacency, it was arrogance that cost us the penalty at Brum and the doubt arose as a result of that incident. Whichever way you slice it, it shows the team are mentally weak. I refer to iceman's point earlier, Gallas was the only player in this team willing to knock some heads together and demand persistently high standards and he was reprimanded and the subject of a player revolt for doing the sort of things that Tony Adams would have considered all in a day's work. Now he keeps himself to himself and doesn't hurt any precious feelings, he's no longer persona non grata. It's no wonder nobody else wants to take leadership.
Little Dutch
I don't think it was an impossible angle, we've seen arshavin and henry scoring from even acute angles, you can probably say that it is an unlikely angle for the likes of Eboue. Also, if we'd won the game, would we even be examining that this was a case of complacency?
They are supposed to learn to see the game out and do some ruddy defending. And I disagree, complacency cost us, shoddy defending cost us, not having enough defensive options has cost us.
"If a club of our stature do not set out to win things at the start of each season, would you accept it?" That question has always confused me. A football team is not a government or a minister I elect, by "accept it" do you mean would I still go? Yes, I would. I wouldn't be happy about it, but I'd still go to games and support the team. What shape would not "accepting" it take? Standing froth mouthed outside the boardroom with slogans and banners? Venting spleen on a website? Booing the team off at every opportunity? If the Premiership came down to talent and talent only, Arsenal would be in with a very decent chance of winning it. But it doesn't, again a Wengerism, "Nobody is talented enough to get by on talent alone. A life without hard work is wasted." It comes down to mentality too and Arsenal do not have the mentality and haven't had for some time. That's very frustrating that they have the hardest and most rigorously earned credentials of all. They just have an uncomfortable mix of a sense of entitlement when things are going their way followed by a sense of self pity when it doesn't. It reminds me of a friend of mine from when I was growing up, smart as all hell, did brilliantly in every exam he ever took and achieved great academic credentials, a degree in Biology thrown in. Last I heard he was selling class A's for a living. A hyperbolic example, but that's what I mean, we have the hard part down but are a complete let down on the easy bit. Going 2-0 up away from home in a London derby is hard. Holding onto that 2-0 lead is much easier than it is to get it.
Little Dutch
"Also, if we'd won the game, would we even be examining that this was a case of complacency?" Yes, check back to the Blackburn and Birmingham match reports, we won those games and I complained about complacency many times in each, both match reports ended with the caveat, "better teams will punish us for it."
Little Dutch
Definitely not a 'freakish result', been far too many examples over the last couple of seasons for it to be given that tag.
I'll read the comments next time before i post.
Doubt doesn't come from complacency. Quite the opposite. The big task for Wenger over recent seasons is building confidence amongst the team. The penalty conceded at Brum wasn't complacency - in fact it wasn't even a penalty - but whatever the result of that game the doubt we carried over into the subsequent fixtures is what cost us most. It was the inability to put that result behind them that was costly. With confidence in themselves and their team mates good players do the simple things well. They make decisions quickly and execute them properly. I don't think complacency exists in this team - they just don't have enough sustained confidence and self belief to be complacent. The panic and jitteriness of the defence at times in recent games even when winning is a symptom of a lack of confidence - not complacency.
It sounds contradicting to me cos the intensity of the frustration/criticism suggests that the level of expectation of the team is sky high rather than "winning the league isn't the sole joy". And I am still unsure on the purpose of airing all these negative vibes (or perhaps there isn't one at all just that I'm dwelling too much into it) if the conclusion is that the there is no way the current team can improve on their mentality and attitude. I mean if a fan was to go into each game with the belief that he would be proven right that the team will be complacent and not win sounds a very very gloomy prospect, for me at least.
Flamini and Clichy trying to play pretty football in their own area in the last minute isn't complacency? Clichy not bothering to consider that someone might be chasing him down? That wasn't complacency? This is what I have said in the match report, the team is wantonly self destructive. When under no pressure, they invite it on themselves by not taking their opponents seriously, then when the other side responds, we can't handle that pressure. Complacency followed by a lack of resolution. Temasek, I'm not a fan of buzz words like "positive" or "negative", I think they're bull***** labels designed to counterpose and muddy arguments. Call it as you see it, simple as that, everything else is prevarication from the real issue. This is the nature of debate Temasek, it's circular, one person argues their point, another argues it back. Is there any point to it? Probably not insofar as we are unable to do anything about it. That's what I mean when people ask "what's the point of being negative about the performance?" Well, what's the point in being positive about it? Just be honest with yourself and others without feeling the need to fit a nice little envelope. Maybe it is a gloomy prospect, but I'm not going to lie to myself about it in the interests of creating a more pleasant fiction.
Little Dutch
There isn't anything wrong with airing any negative vibes you have on a fan's forum any more than airing positive vibes. Gallas' impact as captain wasn't ultimately positive because his criticism of the team or certain players was self serving and not made with the intention of encouraging his team mates. There is always an element of stick and carrot in leadership. Gallas' problem was he didn't have any carrots. In the end he just created divisions in the team. Leadership is as much about making the team believe they can achieve anything as it is to do with pointing out their shortcomings. The setbacks will be always be there - the next car crash is never too far away. Sure there are lessons to be learned but the main one is just not to agonise over them to the extent that we do.
There will always be games where we throw away leads and others where we come back to snatch a victory or a draw. Probably in more or less equal measure. The reasons why we drop points aren't always the same and you don't always have absolute control over the circumstances. A poor decision from an official is as likely an explanation as complacency or a lack of confidence or composure or simple misfortune. To lump them altogether and say that it can only be symptomatic of endemic complacency is misleading. The mental attitude we carry into and through games is very important but I am quite sure that we are more likely to see games out satisfactorily if we believe we can than if we fear we won't. To that extent I'd take arrogance over uncertainty anytime.
As would I, but arrogance and complacency are different things. Belief in your own ability is one thing, but dismissing that of your opponents is another. Arsenal err on the wrong side of both axes.
Little Dutch
Complacency would come from being over confident, and the difference between confidence and arrogance is success, the invincibles were confident cos they'd done it, this lot aren't, cos they've done nothing.
What came first with the invincibles - the confidence or the achievement? They achieved relatively little after they'd done it. That's usually because complacency sets in. They had, or rather acquired, the confidence to do it first surely. Confidence breeds greater confidence and thats what breeds success - not agonising over every set back. The record shows thats what we tend to do.
The confidence, which is pretty much what i'm saying? For most of the team though winning the league a couple of years before and going undefeated away from home / at home alternatively couldn't have harmed their belief.
Ah, I see your point and it's a good one. Most of the invincibles had a decent cv. This group are still writing theirs. Where are they to get confidence from though? Not from the invincibles. If anything that just adds to the burden of expectation. That they lack that assured confidence is clearer to me than that they are complacent. The fact that in the past they have allowed setbacks to affect them shows that confidence is fragile. It will come with maturity hopefully but we needn't confuse it with complacency.
“Positive’ and “negative” are “buzz” words and “bull***” labels?? Our group of workers painstakingly uses these words as they motivate and try to lead at-risk kids to the right path and we’ve never taught that it would be construed as we are fabricating facts and “muddying” the thoughts of the kids. I am also sure none of us in our wildest imagination would have expected an accusation that we’ve been actually piling dung on the youth all this while. Perhaps we’re not blessed with as much wealth of vocabulary as you do, but deriding the choice of words of others is indelicate and haughty to say the least.
LD I rarely post comments on your write-ups…there’s no need to cos most of the time the articles had so eloquently expressed my sentiments. I also don’t usually see the need to chip in with adulations such as “great write-up!” “nice work” “spot on” etc cos I believe you’ve had enough of those consistently. On occasions when parts of the write-ups were in contrary to my thoughts I was okay to live with it as well as I fully respect and appreciate the diverse views within a fans’ forum. I am not against fans expressing negative feelings, oh I forgot it seemed the need for me to be mindful on the choice of words here, shall I then say “I am not against fans expressing their views on things they perceived as going wrong with the team” In this instance I chose to voice out cos I felt the reactions had been overly ferocious and over the board and showed no signs of abating. I’m also deeply against the damning conclusion that this team would never learn and would always be “complacent” and ‘arrogant” as the consensus here seemed to suggest. I thought when we voice our displeasures, we would ultimately hope that the team would change for the better and improve – perhaps this would be considered as naïve by some here. I’ve since realised that it is possible for a fan to attend every match with the baggage and belief that this team will let him down with its “complacency” and “arrogance”. I can only imagine it must be a pathetic and depressing situation to be in. I don’t think Rafa and his players received as much a damning and stinging criticism from their supporters during their so-called “crisis” recently. Even Barnsley fans I’d imagined would have harboured some hopes and belief in their team when the faced the might of man united. In an organisation, the person who voiced publicly what he perceived as problems without alternatives or suggestions is of not much help to the operations. Worse, by asserting that the problem is an incurable illness and discounting the promise of the team to improve and rectify the situation serves no purpose and is totally unhelpful.
I perhaps should have explained myself better. In the arena of debate, terms such as positive serve zero purpose but to prevaricate from the issue, ultimately they are meaningless terms. What I think is what I think irregardless of any envelope you want to pile my opinions into. Ultimately, my only duty here is to say what I think, I don't have a duty to be "positive" or negative." I think you've taken that comment a bit too seriously, I apologise if you found offence in it, but any derision was only casual. Like I said, that's just my opinion and I have no wish to enforce it on anyone else. Again, this is the nature of debate, sometimes people will give opinions you don't agree with. I think you're confusing ferocity with the circular nature of a forum, I would have been happy to express my displeasure once and move on. Some people disagree so I try and answer. That's what a forum is all about and I'm always happy to put across my point of view and to hear other people's. It's what keeps sites like this one going and having worked in education and now development, I think a debate is the single best form of discovery and education. I think also that too many probably read my columns here and misunderstand why I go and how I behave at games. I don't unload any frustration onto the team nor bemoan anyone, nor do I even so much as groan when a pass is misplaced. I enjoy going to games, I have a really good time with some really good people, otherwise I wouldn't do it. I am very highly sceptical of this team's capacity to learn this particular lesson, yes. But if that looks "a pathetic and depressing situation" it certainly doesn't feel like one. I've seen a lot worse things in life than throwing away a two goal lead in a London derby, believe me. I tend to be philosophical about it and express my views here, where they are of some use and football is the sole focus. If you think I left Upton Park on Sunday and went home and started beating up dry wall and kicking my cat, I can only correct you. I've been in a fair few hopeless, pathetic and depressing situation before, watching a football team isn't any of those things to me- despite my occasional frustrations with them.
Little Dutch
That Westham gam was classic arsenal always very fragile side
I’d intended to leave it as it was after my last post, accepting that two opposing views were unlikely to converge, but thought otherwise after seeing the term ”prevaricate” being used again. I could dismiss the first instance as an “accidental brush”, but the repeated use of the word on me tells me that you meant what you say and that is a serious allegation on my character. What exactly have I said or done that was false and deliberately intended to mislead and misstate anyone in this forum? The mere use of terms such as positive? I’ve no issue of you stating that these are meaningless terms in your opinion but what gives you the right to accuse and judge that I’ve intent to deceive? And don’t even think of telling me that I’m taking the comments too seriously or reading too much into them. If someone comes over and gives you a tight slap on your cheek, would you tell yourself not to take it seriously for it was just a friendly pat? I uphold the value of being respectful to others and try to be as mindful and careful as possible when posting comments (last few included) so that they are addressing the points/issues and not against or being disrespectful to the person. Unfortunately, this respect had not been reciprocated. If I’d made a mistake, or I could see that my comments had caused impairment to anyone as a person, I would not hesitate to issue an apology with absolutely no reservation (certainly not something like “I apologise if you found offence…, but any …was only…”) A forum is all about people exchanging views and debating issues, this I fully agreed with you. But it has to be a 2-way traffic and respect must be mutual. It doesn’t work if it meant that when you issue a comment you’re putting across your point of view but when someone else express opposing view they’re being “confused” or attempting to “pile your opinions into the envelope”, and the points made are “meaningless”, or worse, they are trying to “prevaricate”. Like I say, opposing views are unlikely to converge and I fully appreciate and understand this. But I believe views exchanged in a forum should purely be focused on issues and not at the expense of a person’s character and integrity. When I mentioned a “pathetic and depressing situation to be in” I was merely expressing my immediate imagination on how a fan would feel in that position. And that is that, nothing else. Trust me, I’ve not for a single second been worried of how anyone would behave or feel in a game or how they had reacted after leaving upton park (I mean, it would be pompous on my part if I’d imagine that someone else would do that for me) I honestly couldn’t care less. There’re far more meaningful things for me to be concerned of than this.
Again, I have to say you've blown this a long, long way out of proportion. I accept responsibility if I wasn't clear. When I said I didn't feel "positive" or "negative" to be useful terms, I meant to me and me only. I never, ever wish to inflict my philosophy on others, that's my point of view and that's my outlook. If other people consider them useful terms, fair game, it's really not an issue to me. I just don't look at things that way. As for the rest, I'm sorry mate, you've taken it way, way too seriously and inferred contrary meaning to my words. I am incredibly surprised you took a term like "prevaricate" to be a slight on your whole character and everything you stand for! Seriously, where did that come from? I am absolutely baffled. My fault here is probably not explaining myself clearly enough, but as I never, ever meant any slight on your character, your profession or your integrity or anything else at any stage, then I think you are being massively over sensitive here and I don't feel the need to defend myself for such innocuos comments, the meanings of which have been contorted (not intentionally, I don't think, but you've grabbed the wrong end of the stick and lobbed it half way into the Forest of Dean). Like I say, I apologise if you misunderstood me- though I do think you've so massively misunderstood me it's untrue- but I don't apologise for crimes I have not committed and any meanings which you have inferred which, frankly, I cannot see for the life of me how you've come to.
Little Dutch
I am neither incredibly surprised, nor absolutely baffled, by your response. While I've to acknowledge that you've undeniable talent and potential in words, I think you're being massively egoistic to see things other than from your own perspective. The irony is this is not dissimilar to your assertion of the team's "arrogance" that started it all.
I've just said that you are more than entitled to your own view, as I am entitled to mine. My only duty of care is to give my point of view. I'm not saying nor have I ever said that that's how I think everyone else should think. If people want to make quantum leap size inferences from harmless words like, "prevaricate" and the fact that I don't tend to look at things in life from the point of view of "positive" or "negative", and try to insinuate that they are massive slurs against anyone and everyone, from their philospohy to their job, then no, I don't frankly see that as my problem. If you look for offence, you'll usually find it anywhere. It's not my job to insulate you from that. From my point of view, you thinking I have tried to offend you or call you a charlatan or a liar is a massive, massive, massive misinterpretation. Seriously, you 've actually tried to tell me my words were intended to insult people who try to help troubled kids!
Little Dutch
Temasek you are making mountains out of anthills. There really is no personal affront that should be taken from anything LD has said. You are being far too sensitive. Back on topic though it seems Cesc reckons it was fear rather than complacency that cost us 2 points against West Ham. “When West Ham got their first goal, maybe because of what happened against AZ earlier in that week it meant we were not focused enough, and conscious that they might score again” he said.

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