Top five radical directions Arsenal might go next
Arsenal football club has a niche. We all know its nuances: flimsy defending, posh London fans who boo their own team and financial sense. It’s safe and comfortable knowing that Arsenal are like this. And it looked like things would go on that way forever yesterday: the team was 2-0 down at home to Aston Villa in the FA Cup, there was some booing – it was just like always.
But then they came back and won 3-2. They showed some mental fortitude. They didn’t throw away the lead late on. Theo Walcott scored (after a clearance hit him). Now we don’t know what to think. Where next for this radical, new Arsenal? We’ve looked into it and come up with five possibilities.
5. Maybe Van Persie won’t be sold in the summer
Arsenal love selling their favourite players. It defines them – the famous Wenger quote, of course: “how the fuck else do you fill a summer?” But the new line that appears to be coming out of the club is “if Theo Walcott’s going to be scoring goals with the back of his head then maybe the world is ready for an Arsenal that doesn’t sell anyone who’s any good?” Maybe Robin Van Persie will stay this summer? Still, probably not.
4. Arsenal fans will appreciate what they have
Arsenal fans love abusing Arsene Wenger. As well as his ludicrous obstinacy he also has prepared Arsenal better than any other club for Europe’s impending financial megapocalypse. Maybe now they’ve seen a comeback they’ll consider just where they would be without him. About the same place probably, but about £200 million in debt.
3. Arsenal will sign a decent centre back
Seeing Richard Dunne offer Arsenal a penalty and a way back into a game, perhaps the club will have realised that joke-defending is not always very funny. The pain on Alex McLeish’s face as Dunne threw away Aston Villa’s FA Cup run might well have triggered the realisation at Arsenal that you’re not supposed to laugh when your own team defends hilariously; you’re not supposed to create a back four made up of clowns, specifically so that you can laugh at it. “Ah, so you laugh at other teams, not your own? Shit” – Arsenal management, 2012.
2. Thierry Henry says, ‘it’s not about me, honestly.’
Thierry Henry may have scored 227 goals for Arsenal over a career spanning more years than we can be currently bothered to check, and without him the club would have been unable to recover quite so well from the loss of Ian Wright and Nicolas Anelka, but it’s not about him. The man himself. ‘I may be utterly brilliant, and the youngsters around me may not be fit to clean my boots with their spit, and I might be the greatest striker – nay, man – to have ever lived, but look at my statue! I’ve got a statue! Me.’ Granted, you have to read between the lines, but the subtext is clear, Thierry Henry is now in thrall to the team.
1. The club gets new coats for substitutes.
“Yes, they were toasty, but we have to admit that we looked ridiculous. It started out as a joke: ‘yeah, let’s order 250 of these oversized life-jacket things,’ we laughed in the office. Someone must have pressed send by mistake and then we were stuck with them. We weren’t actually going to have the players wear them but then Wenger picked one up and loved it. He started insisting on all players and coaching staff wearing them. It’s time they went – we’ve donated them all to charity shops but they’re not selling well I’m afraid. Do you want one?”