Because less players equal more space to pass and move

Early Pessimism

And what do you see?

Today at work I had the pleasure of sitting on a table opposite another Arsenal ‘fan’. During the standard Monday morning football chat with his friends, he managed to assassinate Arsenal’s title chances/hopes of finishing within the top half within the time it took me to finish my apple.

I would have been impressed, had he not been so far wide of the mark as to make Emile Heskey look like a prolific striker.

I shall try as best I can to transcribe his, well, whine: (In response to his friend, a fellow Arsenal fan, pointing out that someone had predicted Arsenal to finish second, behind Chelsea) “No chance. We’ll never finish second. We haven’t bought anyone. We need at least three new players. What we need is a £15-20m player to say to the rest of the squad we want to challenge. To lift the mood. And well, if Cesc goes we can forget about ever winning another game in my lifetime.”

Ok so I may have slightly ad-libbed that last sentence, but seriously. The most worrying part of this view on Arsenal’s sudden plight is that the points don’t require a whole lot of arguing. For example, ‘we haven’t bought anyone’. Well, damn Wenger letting Chamakh bide his time in the reserves all these years, as he looks pretty handy. I bet, oh, I don’t know, Bordeaux wish they used to have a player like him. And just because no one can pronounce Laurent Koscielny’s last name doesn’t mean he doesn’t exist.

We do not need at least three new players. We need two – cover at centre-back and a new, brilliant goalkeeper. I for one however am convinced Wenger wants to win the league with the human equivalent of a traffic cone between the sticks so he can improve on the unbeaten season by winning the Premier League with a team of 10 every game. In an ideal world I’d ship out Almunia and Fabianski, bring in a new Number 1 and have Szczesny as his back-up, with Mannone in the reserves. That is besides the point though.

We do not need a £15-20m player just to ‘lift the mood’. Spending money purely to motivate players to do their job properly is a ridiculous notion. If that sort of money gets spent on a goalie with the ability to catch a cross and look at least a little bit authoritarian then yes, it’s a good investment. Would it lift the mood in the camp? Maybe. Would it take every Arsenal fan’s heart out of their mouths when defending a corner? Yes.

Fabregas is staying. Even if only for another season, he is staying.

The mood in the camp? Unbeaten in pre-season, youngsters stepping up, Fabregas finally staying and we have Eboue. I’d suggest it’s pretty good, and better than the camps of those around us.

We’ve had a better pre-season than most. We have three whole Englishmen in the England squad. We’ve trimmed the fat (literally in some cases) and added some muscle. We have competition for places.

I don’t know where this doom and gloom comes from or why it persists in clouding some of us at this time of year. I just think if your honest opinion of the team you support is to ‘not even bother this season’ – and that’s word for word this time – then do us all a favour and stop calling yourself an Arsenal ‘fan’.