FINDERS KEEPERS.

Oh! It’s been a torrid couple of months for us as fans, isn’t it? Unreal how we dip at this time of the year every season. But from what we have seen in the past, the correction will come; that’s just how it has been.

 

There has been too much written about all this and the manager. There have been protests and reportedly a plane will fly over the Hawthorns as part of the protests against the manager. Honestly though, all of this has been too much for me, personally. To me, us not getting results and not fighting is down to two things – Arsene Wenger and also the players that put on the shirt and represent Arsenal Football Club; it doesn’t feel like they do.

 

We’ve had problems with tactics, last minute changes in tactics because of injuries to players, surprising team selection and no visible fighting spirit among the players. There have been times when we have had poor run – ins yet managed to get points out off every game and I wrote a piece about the strong mentality of the players… it’s all gone, boom! Disappeared!

 

There is no anger, no rage, no desire to get things right that the players are playing with. I am sure they want the results to be in our favour, they want to win but it is just not happening. This somehow got me thinking if we need “fans” playing for us. Obviously by fans I don’t mean you and me, but those professional footballers who are not only in awe of the club, but are passionate about playing for it – players who have come from the youth setup to play for the senior team.

 

Not all of them have the talent to break in to the first team, but those who have the ability to play for the club at the level we play at. Two names interest me in this regard – Wojciech Szczesny and Jack Wilshere; both of them on loan. There is no question about their potential to be world class, which we need too, there is also their fighting nature that they bring to the teams.

 

Now there have been question marks over Szczesny’s attitude, which came into highlight after his antics off the pitch after the Soton game on the first day of 2015; and he has to control that. But, he has that peculiar attitude about how he carries himself on the pitch which bring in so much positivity. He has that attitude that I think is must to be successful, little bit of it at least, and you do need it when the opposition is daunting or the times are tough. That one huge fist pump in the air after a huge save can absolutely bring in some fight.

 

Wojo doesn’t lack passion either for the club, does he? We all remember his celebration after Arshavin scored the winner against Barcelona at the Emirates some 6 years back! There is no doubt that a team needs maturity at the back, but it also needs that extra bit of zest that gives the players around and the fans a lift.

 

Jack Wilshere. I think it is fair to say that he is Arsenal through and through and that it won’t be an over-statement. Always ready to jump in for his team mates and stand up against those trying to bully our players – doesn’t matter if it is Gareth Bale he has go face to face with or Michael Owen he has to push away.

 

Giving that something extra when on the pitch always, is what wins the fans over and that is one aspect when it comes to Jack. In a midfield that had Xavi, Iniesta, Busquets and Fabregas playing for both, Barcelona and Arsenal respectively, 18-year-old Jack Wilshere was the standout player. No doubt he showed us what a prospect he was going to be because of the technical side of his game, but he also showed that hunger sticking it in, flying into those 50-50 tackles and winning them.

 

The point I am making here is that quality alone is not enough to get through a rough patch, it also requires a strong character and that fighting spirit within to come out of the rut. The desire to achieve and to win trophies is something every player will have, but to do it for one particular club, and with all the capabilities, is what will make all the difference. We have found these two gems, nurtured them from a very small age, and it is time we keep them.

 

 

 

Kshitij Gokhale

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