A blog following in Dennis' footsteps. Ajax, Arsenal and Dutch football
As shown on www.wmformation.com
There isn’t a true, definable and teachable recipe for greatness. This goes for anything: from science, to art, to professional occupation, to teamwork. What makes it even more difficult, is that association football is a mixture of all those things. “What makes a great champion?” Players and managers alike have been trying to answer that question for as long as the ball has been more or less spherical and the turf slightly green. The one thing that is clear, is that it’s never a matter of sheer talent or quality. Champions are the ones that never give up, the ones that keep on fighting. The mental component of success is as – if not more – important than pure, physical abilities. However nebulous this may sound, it is exactly the reason why the future holds promise for this Arsenal team. Lacking the flair of players like Fàbregas and Robin van Persie, this team has the ‘screw the world’ mentality that Arsenal have lacked since the days of the Invincibles.
In the 2010-2011 season, Arsenal had a supremely talented squad. It was that team that produced one of the most memorable moments since the move to Emirates Stadium when the Gunners beat Barcelona at home. The return leg, however, was a disaster. After the smoke had cleared, Arsenal were knocked out of the Champions League, having lost the League Cup final against Birmingham 9 days earlier. From that match at the cauldron of Camp Nou on until the end of the season, Arsenal won only 2 of their remaining 11 games. They were defeated, their ‘mental strength’ sapped.
363 days later, on a Tuesday night in Milan, Arsenal’s 2011-2012 Champions League campaign ended at the hands of the local Associazione Calcio. Anyone with a cannon-shaped heart feared another collapse. They were almost right; Arsenal’s league record until the end of the season consisted of 6 wins, 3 draws and 2 losses, narrowly avoiding a complete catastrophe on the final day of the season.
Almost an entire season of rebuilding, losing a key player and being mocked later, Arsenal yet again find their Waterloo in Europe’s biggest club competition after impressively beating Bayern München by too small a margin. But this season, something is different. At a moment in the season where Arsenal teams of late would have given up, this team fights, this team wins. Arsenal haven’t lost since the game at the Allianz Arena, winning 75% of their matches since that Wednesday night in Munich. “Isn’t this merely a matter of quality, or tactics, or squad depth?”, one might ask. I do not believe it so.
This Arsenal team has grit, work-rate and determination, in a very un-Scott Parker-esque way. Arguably lacking world-class players, our current crop has recently rediscovered Victoria Concordia Crescit; Victory Through Harmony, guided by experienced players and on-pitch leaders like vice-captain Mikel Arteta and Per Mertesacker. It is that belief, showed all over the pitch, that is absolutely vital for Arsenal’s top-4 aspirations and seasons ahead.
We lost time due to players leaving because we did not win any trophies. Logically, the fact that important players kept leaving is one of the reasons why Arsenal did not win the aforementioned trophies. However, the consensus of Arsenal fans seems to be that those years are behind us. Despite want the media will tell you, winning when you don’t play well is a sign of champions, even when it’s Arsenal. It gives us something to properly build on, more so than that one player that makes the difference. To train and play among warriors who know what it takes to win whatever the cost may be.
That is why I believe that this team – with a couple of additions – has the potential to once again break the mould that Arsène Wenger has used to sculpt our club the way it is today. Another special team that radiates both class and determination, that will bring Arsenal back at the pinnacle of world football. Let us stand firmly behind this team , for we together can help achieve what we have been longing for. Harmonious Champions, Victory Through Harmony, Victoria Concordia Crescit.
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