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"Arsenal Is My Club", My Arse!…nal vs. Manchester United Preview (Part 1)

Arsenal vs. Manchester United - UEFA Champions League Semi Finals

By Rachid Parchment

Greetings and salutations.

Arsene Wenger, in his press conference, ahead of tomorrow’s crucial Champions League Semi Final 2nd leg against Manchester United at the Emirates Stadium was asked if he thinks he’ll stay on at the club in the future and about our future successes and this was what he had to say:

“I believe Arsenal is my club because it is my club, it is the only club.

“I believe in the potential of this club and want to give this club the opportunity to win the Champions League. That is why I work so hard.”

Now I’m not looking to misquote Wenger here, as we all know that by “my club” he means it’s the club he loves. Doesn’t take a scientist to figure that out. At the same time, however, the statement is a bit ambiguous as while he means it’s the club he loves, his actions over the past season suggests that he thinks it’s actually his club and his club only. Yeah it’s his club, but it’s also Peter Hill-Wood’s club. It’s his finances at stake if we have an unsuccessful season. It’s the the fans’ club as they spend their hard earned money to show up at matches and give their support and show appreciation to the players week after week [even though Wenger believes the fans don’t give enough support]. It’s also the same club I’ve supported for 10 seasons. The club that made me risk suspension from high school for breaking into the vice principal’s office and stealing a pass from his desk, photocopying it with a fake name on it so I could get home early to watch us draw 2-2 with Manchester United and throw the title away in 2003. It’s my club too.

What Wenger needs to realise is that losses in big games like this affect more than just him and his players. What about the fans? What about the emotional anguish many will go through if we throw it all away tonight after years of being so close but so far away? It seems it’s becoming the story of our lives as Arsenal fans now. “We gave it a good go this year and just narrowly missed out. Next year will be different, I can feel it.” Well enough of that.

It’s because Wenger feels it’s his club why he’s so careless with his squad selection and tactics. It’s why we’ve been enduring this youth development system for 4 years even though we’ve yet to see real success from it by means of silverware. It’s because of Wenger’s view why he thinks he can do whatever he wants with the team selection, even in big games. For example, why he chose to leave Song and Arshavin out of the FA Cup Semi Final a few weeks ago as he thought the FA Cup wasn’t important enough for us to win so it was quite appropriate to do a squad rotation in it. Another example is how he chose to play Samir Nasri (our closest option to a natural left winger) in defensive midfield and put Abou Diaby (bears no resemblance to a winger) on the left wing.

Well Arsene Wenger, enough of the tinkering on nights when it matters most. Pick your best squad tonight. Play the 4 4 2 formation. It’s all or nothing now. You’ve forced us into a situation where we need to attack for 90 minutes and get 2 goals against a backline with Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic in it. We need to pick the strongest squad available to us and put our starting eleven in their best positions.

Tonight we need to get all the critics off our backs, we need to prove all the doubters wrong. Not to put pressure on the manager or the players but our reputation is at stake tonight. We need to show that we’re not perennial chokers and underachievers. This needs to be the year we break out trophy drought. Another year of an empty cabinet simply isn’t good enough and should we lose tonight then it’s time for those in power at the club to cast serious doubts over Arsene Wenger’s future at the club.

It’s put up or shut up time, Arsene. Don’t let us down. A win tonight is absolutely vital!

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