A massive game is approaching as we head into the New Year and 2022.
Incredible to think what a crazy couple of years we have had as human beings on planet Earth.
What a time to be alive, 2021 was hopefully a little bit better than 2020 for most of you, but blink and you most certainly might have missed it, such was the frenetic pace the last year came and went by.
As we head into another year with fresh hopes and dreams and aspirations to look forward to, Manchester City are probably the worst team you could pick to be facing.
They are looking every bit like the Goliath steamroller they have become and our game at lunchtime on New Years Day will be a true challenge of where this Arsenal team are heading.
But here’s the deal. I’m feeling rather confident, I’m feeling rather upbeat, and for the first time in a good few years, I actually feel like we are heading into this game with a very real chance of turning them over.
Give me a chance - I would like to articulate just how and why it is that I have this feeling.
Something is happening at The Arsenal
Something is happening at the Arsenal, we have found a team. Whether it be by lucky accident, or as I suspect a well planned thought out process by our current manager Mikel Arteta - the fact is for the first I’ve in ages we can head into this fixture with a bit of self belief and a little bit of confidence that we might be able to get something.
No longer a feeder club for Manchester City, this team have earned the right - and rightly so - to head out onto the hallowed grass of Ashburton Grove believing we are capable of beating them.
That in my humble opinion is a major milestone and improvement over seasons gone by, sure we might have nicked a result here and there against our fellow giants, but this feels different.
Admittedly talk is cheap, and it may well turn out that we go 1-0 down after five minutes, closely followed by a second about 10 minutes later and the team may well capitulate.
But I don’t think that’s going to be the case. I can sense this team is going to fight, I can feel that this team is not going to give up. Whether that be physically or mentally, it’s my firm belief that this current Arsenal team is going to heading into this fixture, for the first time in a long time, truly believing we have what it takes to beat Man City.
How times change
There was once upon a time where all of this wibble up above would be deemed as ludicrous.
Manchester City have been down as low as the Third Division in my living memory. (League One for you youngsters out there).
Just think about that for a moment if you will, put yourself in the shoes of a Manchester City fan who on May, 3 1998, witnessed their beloved team getting relegated to the third for the first time in their miserable down trodden history.
Us Arsenal Fans were celebrating Marc Overmars opener in an FA Cup final against Newcastle they were crying into their chips and gravy having been relegated from Division Two.
When you look at the landscape now: De Bruyne in full flow, and Sterland banging in the goals, sitting proudly on top of the Premier League, being marshalled by the outstanding managerial attributes of Pep Guardiola.
While Nicholas Anelka was banging in the second on thqaat gloriously sunny afternoon at Wembley during the 1998 final, more than one of their fans would have been slightly perturbed to consider that the team they had followed all of their life might not actually be in existence the following year, as bankruptcy was a very real concern for them.
Forever in the shadow of the noisy neighbours up the road, they were probably looking towards laying off the tea lady in order to survive - as opposed to signing off 100 million quid on a foppy haired player with rolled down socks from Aston Villa.
Would you swap ESR for Grealish? I wouldn't
Jack Grealish, as promising a player as he is, would you take him over our own home grown, Hale End product who also chooses to strut his stuff with rolled down socks?
I know I wouldn’t, give me the choice on any given day, I will take ESR over Grealish every time - did you see that 'no look' pass he laid on for the penalty against Norwich?
What can you say about this young lad, he has already declared that he is happy to stay at the club all the way through his career, glides across the pitch like Leo Messi on a good day with the ball, and is now starting to add goals to his game as well.
I do love a homegrown player, always have done, you can’t beat the joy of feeling connected with a player that has come up through the ranks, you can feel and see that they have that extra yard to give.
Look all over the pitch, would you swap Ben White for John Stones?
Would you rather have Sterling up front or would you be happy to settle for the younger hungrier Martinelli who we can safely say has better days ahead of him in the long run than pretty much any other centre forward in the Premier League.
For the first time in ages I feel we are deserving of our place on the same pitch as this Manchester City team.
In previous seasons it’s felt like we have been sending out our reserves against them such was the rush to pay off the debt of our stadium, offloading a string of our best players to them which catapulted them past us and onwards onto glory.
What a time it is to be alive to be a Manchester City fan. It’s no wonder they are still pinching themselves every time they see their team pull on their famous sky blue colours, trotting out each week, absolutely crushing whoever or whatever it is that is put in front of them - but this is The Arsenal they are up against now.
Heading into a New Year fresh resolutions just one day old, what better time to be facing them?
What better time to deliver a chink in their armour?
I have been having a good old time of it recently on Twitter, engaging with Arsenal fans, whether they be true match going fans or armchair openers like myself, I have been breaking bread, seeking out the nay sayers and the doom mongers amongst us.
I have a very simple clear and concise message, which can be summed up in one sentence and one sentence alone, I am a very simple human bean when all is said and done.
I saw a beautiful tweet which resonated with me quite strongly, “the key to happiness is having low expectations”.
Simple but armed with truth, it resonates and sits nicely alongside my ethos and general message to all Arsenal fans in its simplicity which is: Get behind the team.
If you are familiar with any of the articles I have written this season for the onlinegooner, you will see this drum being banged by myself over and over and over again, so much like when Jesus said to paddy that he sung it so well, I think it is my actual duty in this season too bang that drum again.
Get behind our team
If you are going to be in that ground for this titanic match, don’t moan when the pass is misplaced, seek within you the roar that comes from deep within that will inspire, if we go 1-0 down.
Don’t hang your head and think all is lost, start a song on your own, find your voice, and encourage those around you to do the same.
The team needs you, furthermore this team will respond, we have over 100 years of history and class and tradition that eclipses the team in Sky Blue.
We have never been near the third division nor the second, we are The Arsenal.
Vicotoria Concordia Crescit
Victory grows through harmony.
Chilling in its simplicity it’s all you need to know. From the boardroom to the dressing room and back out onto the terraces, only through harmony will we be able to topple this Goliath heading towards us on New Year’s Day.
If you think for a second that Bukayo Saka needs to hear your opinion on how well he can hit a ball think again, he needs you behind him 100 per cent.
I’ve never seen a team booed too success. I’ve seen Leicester win the league somehow, but I’ve never seen a player in any era be buoyed by having abuse hurled at him.
I have seen an Arsenal team go into the lions den of Anfield on a mission impossible to win a game by a score line of 2-0 and needing to keep a clean sheet to deliver us a league title.
So what’s my point?
Manchester City are human beings, much like you and me, no better no worse.
It’s only when you put 11 of them together, and the combined groundswell of belief of having 50,000 fans all rowing in the same direction that the miracles begins too happen.
Or as it did in my case with 5,000 of us up at Anfield in 1989 - but once you get past it and when all is said and done, there are actually more important things in life that take precedent over football.
Such as visiting a child with cancer in a hospital over Xmas while everyone is tucking into their turkey, or much like the gesture that Granit Xhaka recently offered up to a lifelong Arsenal supporter living in the US, who had a trip planned to the Emirates for the postponed game against Wolves, when he kindly stepped in and provided him and his wife with a trip to the game against Manchester City.
These things are what’s important, remember this when you are tempted to dish out some stick thinking that you are being big and clever like the herbert on that YouTube channel who gets over excited for clicks and views.
Remember who you are and the club that you are representing
This is Arsenal, we have class on our side, and if we all row in the right direction enough, there is enough in the history and the DNA of this club to suggest that miracles can occur.
Stopping a rampant Manchester City dead in their tracks would be a damn fine way to start.
Last point I wish to make is that I have brushed past the Norwich result, I’m not really in favour of hitting a team or a man too much when they are down, and needless to say that was a pretty hapless Canaries team we brushed aside last week - but that result has given me the confidence to write this piece and given me the confidence to be feeling like I do as we head into this fixture.
All I can say is that this team and this manager will always have my full backing regardless of the result.
If we get spanked I’ll find the humour in it and keep on moving.
Victoria Concordia Crecit. Victory only comes through harmony, remember this whatever the result against City.
Deliver us three points and we are back in the title race, get beaten it’s not the end of the world, if you need to spew some poison, come and do it at me on Twitter instead of the players in the ground, I’ll do my best to convince you that you are talking nonsense or die trying in the process.
It’s one simple rule for us fans, we get behind the team, clues in the title you are a supporter. DWI (deal with it)
Over and out for 2021.
Peace to you and your families, I’ll see you on the other side in 2022 where I will continue to bang the drum of getting behind this team very very loudly with positive energy and not poison.
Follow View From The Armchair on Twitter @viewfromthearm3
VIEW FROM THE ARMCHAIR IS A LOYAL GOONER WHO USED TO WATCH THE ARSENAL FROM THE HIGHBURY TERRACES IN THE 1980s. READ MORE FROM HIM
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