War makes rattling good history; but Peace is poor reading.

I have been reading a whole lot of Thomas Hardy’s quotes lately and I think I have learnt a lot from it. Short quotes can surely have great impacts and the deep meanings that come with them gets seasoned over time. I would have loved to share some with you but I think we have different tastes and I am not willing to bore you with unnecessary stuffs since what you’re here for is purely footie business.

I’ll jump straight to the business with a this quote from Thomas Hardy, it goes thus;

“War makes rattling good history; but Peace is poor reading.”

When I first read this quote, what first came to my mind was the Biafran war in Nigeria and I got to realise that even though I was not yet born during the Nigerian Civil War, I clearly know who Chukwuemeka Ojukwu is and I can say a lot about him… but then wait, Alvan Ikoku is on the 10 naira note and most people do not know who he is. I’m sure they would if he was a notorious serial killer. Alvan Ikoku was a Nigerian educator, statesman, activist and politician. He did a lot in enhancing good education in Nigeria even though he came across a lot of resistance from the colonial government. I’m not going to bore you with history though, I am just trying to point out how selective the human brain might be as we all suffer from the freudian “recency syndrome”.

Relating this quote to football is quite easy when you see the way a few fans reacted to the Arsenal win against Montepellier, they seem to be unhappy because they believe that Arsenal were subdued in the second half of the game even though this is all we wanted back in those days when we play well and lose a game. We all say we do not care to win ugly as long as we win, we beat montepeller away now and opinions look to have changed. I think it’s time for some fans to realise that football is not a one-sided affair where you can just go on the pitch and beat whoever you have in front of you just because you have better players. If it was that easy, I am sure Madrid would have beaten Getafe and Sevilla. And that is just not a league game, this is the UEFA champions league and we just met the french champions who won inspite of the riches of PSG; they are truy debutants in the UCL but they can’t be rated as minnows alongside CLUJ and Bate Borislov (wait didn’t Bate beat Lille in France yesterday?) Anyway, I believe we all have a right to our opinion but I want to inform you that if you expect us to beat every team easily just bacause we have a better team than them, you should be ready for a very long season.

I like the way Arsenal plays; the passing game, the beauty of the triangular play, the way we create chances and the way we put the ball behind the net but in recent years, I have not been a fan of the way we defend and this season it seems we are defending quite well and then getting more clinical with our goal scoring chances. It is also worthy to note that the core of the team has recently been changed and we are bedding in a few new players who have been gelling so easily that a footie stranger will not believe that they have only played  5 competitive matches together.

I am not going to delve into the review of the match as I believe you already know that it was a game of two halves where Arsenal dominated the first and the host dominated the second. I expected all that matters to a football fan to be the result but it wasnt to be. How people got to forget how well we played in the first half is hilarious, how they got to ignore the result is more hilarious, how they ignored the good work we did in the defence is annoying and the way that they seem to have forgot a few sad occurences of previous seasons is quite shocking. Maybe I am being sentimental, maybe it is because I have seen Arsenal outplay teams a lot of times and fail to win, maybe it is because I still can’t get the 2-1 loss to QPR last season out of my mind, a match where we outplayed QPR but had to lose because of the errors we made defensively.

I guess nobody cares about who deserves to win a match when Arsenal loses but they sure do when Arsenal win so we can go ahead and deduce the fickle fact that, the team that plays better in the second half of an Arsenal match deserves to win. Interesting, isn’t it?

Do not get me wrong, I love good football as much as the next man unless the next man is a chelsea fan but I do appreciate a hard-fought victory, that’s the beauty of the game. If I want easy victories, I will support Barcelona and when they crumble like they will in future, I will cross over to another club who gets easy victories. However, I have chosen to be an Arsenal fan and I have to take what I get and hope for improvements to be made, I can’t expect every match to be a stroll in the park like the Southampton match. On the other side, I would have loved Steve Bould to have made a few substitutions early when some of our players were showing signs of fatigue and I’m sure he must have realized his mistakes when he watched the match  again so I will only doubt his sense of judgement if he repeats such mistakes again. Maybe he was worried about two things, holding up to the lead and pleasing Arsene Wenger, I’ll have to wait till we play our next match will him in charge before I jump to conclusions.

In other news, Diaby revealed his thoughts about the match saying;

“The goal was to get three points tonight and that’s what we did. We are very happy even though it was not easy.  We expected that they would worry us because they have good players, and they play good football.  They were dangerous in attack but in the end we managed them well. Olivier Giroud has not scored but he must be patient. It is a bit frustrating but when he scores his first goal it will be the beginning of a long run. Now we must confirm our good run. I got my yellow very quickly and I felt the referee wanted to give me a red but in the end I managed to handle it.”

I am sure if it was Arsene that said something negative about the referee, he might have been banned. I sometimes wonder what the footballing authorities have against Wenger, maybe it is time he starts talking through a third party.  What I’m also happy about is the unity in the team, it might be early times but I’m pretty pleased with the message the fit players have been passing across, did you just think Sagna? No, he isn’t fit. Recently, TV5 talked up about Giroud’s lack of goals and how he beleives he will score soon, Diaby also said the same about the player in his recent interview. What gives a player more confidence than positive comments from his teammates?

I still fail to understand how people get to criticize him so much because he has failed to score a goal, I really want him to score soon so that this “he hasn’t scored” saga will be done with.

Speaking post match about his feelings regarding returning to the club where he first announced himself to the footballing world and where he helped then win their first ever Ligue 1 title as the top goalscorer in the league, Giroud said:

“I was expecting a good reception and that was the case. I was touched, but I had to concentrate on the field. Fate decreed that I am here, and I am particularly pleased with the victory at the end.     It was very emotional. I tried to ignore the context, I think I did well because even if I did not score tonight, I was decisive with the final ball. I’m pretty happy this evening. We’re still undefeated.”

It just seems Arsenal players have grown more intelligent and they weigh their words perfectly before they spill it out. I’m so proud to be a Gooner right now and I hope we have a cause to smile after playing city on sunday.

That’s all from me for today. Thanks for reading.

You can follow us on twitter @GoonerGist



  1. First!

    Good piece. I love the references to history and literature and I must say I’ve learned more about Alvan Ikoku already.

    Now that matchday 1 is over, can we compare our performance with the other English teams? City lost away to Madrid and I believe the scoreline flattered them, Chelsea blew a two goal lead and United were poor. Everything has to be put in perspective, this is not saying these teams are poor but this is the UCL and the teams here are quite good and its usually a different ball game to the domestic opponents. You never really know what your opponent will bring to the table besides the fact that the UCL motivates all footballers. Look at the scare Spartak gave to Barcelona last night.

    What annoys is hearing Arsenal fans praise United for hanging on to a lead and then turn around to moan at Arsenal if we achieve a similar result. For me, its 3 points in the bag. We still have tough trips to Germany and Greece, who knows what we’ll face there? If we win our three home games, that’s 12 points. More than enough to qualify.

  2. Thanks bro. My point exactly! I am also quite surprised by the way people judge teams but as they say, opinions are like a cloud, we see what we choose to see.

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