Arsenal have no personality

by Peter Pickles

Friday, November 14th, 2008

It’s time to ditch the fake tan!

Everything about Arsenal these days is manufactured around Wenger’s ‘beautiful football’ philosophy. The problem is that their ‘beauty’ only lies on the surface; makeup, false nails, implants, fake tan—none of this makes a woman beautiful inside, nor does it form the foundations of a great team. Arsenal are a shallow ‘beautiful’ side with no substance. Once the makeup is wiped off and the implants go pop and the tan fades, they have nothing left to offer; they have no personality, no confidence, no nothing. As soon as a semi-decent team challenge them, strip back their beauty to its fundamentals, it’s apparent they don’t have a contingency plan to deal with it. They can no longer rely on their beauty and actually have to make a conversation, or engage in some witty banter—or, so much worse: do something other than string together three hundred pointless useless passes that lead back into their own box.

This is because Arsenal spend so much time dolling themselves up, listening to all the compliments about their beautiful football, that they’ve never had to work on acquiring a personality. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy, and Arsenal need to stop believing their own hype, and take it back to the days of Tony Adams and Dennis Bergkamp, when the football might not have been as entertaining, but it wasn’t artificial or overly precious. They have no backbone, either.

We have Almunia, a once promising keeper who now looks shakier than Jens Lehman ever did (a difficult feat to pull off, considering Jens Lehman practically had Parkinson’s in the penalty area). Then there’s William Gallas, a pathetic, whiny, sorry excuse for a captain; a man who doesn’t exactly imbue confidence in the rest of the backline. In front of that is the potentially great Fabregas who has yet to replicate or sustain the amazing form that he showed at the beginning of last season. And up front we have the ever reliable (at least he’s consistently average) Adebayor; an eighty-thousand-pound-a-week steak that tastes like a Mcdonald’s cheeseburger—and plays like one, too. Any average striker can score thirty goals in a season if you give him seven one-on-ones per game. I’m sure even Francis Jeffers could have worked with those odds.

And all they amount to is a flimsy backbone, a weak gelatinous line through the middle, apt to fold under any type of pressure or scrutiny. Look at Chelsea’s backbone, or Manchester United—even Liverpool have a stronger central line than Arsenal. We don’t have a Terry, or a Lampard, or a Ferdinand, or a Van Der Sar, or a Gerrard—we have a group of ‘potentially’ great overhyped pampered children who amount to nothing more than a collection of pass-whores who haven’t learnt how—or when—to shoot. If Arsenal were losing three-nil to Barcelona at half time of a Champion’s League final nobody would expect them to claw level. And they wouldn’t, either. They would fold and die, like they did when they were one-nil up against Barcelona. But Liverpool did it. Then you had Manchester United, one-nil down with a minute to go; somehow they turned that into a two-one lead within the space of a hundred-and-twenty seconds. Arsenal never would have done that.

Arsenal know ugly; that’s not their problem. When the beauty goes, all they have is ugly. We just need to construct an actual personality, learn to be something other than just the silent pretty girl in the corner. Then maybe we can talk about winning things.

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  • tef1on

    Your an Arsenal fan? So you’re one of those ones that boo your own players at half time by the sounds of it! How about being supportive of your team. Everyone knows we have made mistakes in the last 3 years… But i guarantee you… No one could do as good a Job as Wenger has done

  • Martin Tibbetts

    Why can’t an Arsenal fan say these things? Its a well written and pretty accurate article about a team who can raise themselves against the big clubs but can’t be bothered to get out of bed to face the teams they deem beneath them. Surely an Arsenal fan is best placed to write this in an I’ll criticise my family but woe betide anyone else who does………

  • Stevie

    I’m going to have to agree with Martin here, to many people are scared to speak their mind, and what’s wrong with that? He’s not slagging Wenger off he’s just saying we need to toughen up, which lets face it, is very true, it’s a very well written article, metaphorically speaking. We all know we play amazing football, but what we would give for a new Tony Adams…

  • Darren

    so basically Chelsea are Kate Moss
    Man United Clauida Schiefer
    Liverpool are Niomi Campbell
    & Arsenal are Pamela Anderson?

  • Martyn Berg

    Very good article and I think very accurate in the assessment. Martin and Stevie are right. Its every fan’s right to disect their team’s shortcomings. That doesnt mean he boos them at the games or is unsupportive. There is a difference between being unsupportive and offering constructive criticism. It’s much more useful than blind optimism. Being a Spurs fan, I know a lot of blind optimists as well!! For my part, I think Woolwich are in desperate need of some guts and, as much as they’ll hate to hear it, they need what Spurs have had in the last few weeks, the desire to chase every ball down from minute 1 to minute 90+. Man Utd and Chelsea have always done this very well and, in my view, it’s a much overlooked key to their success. A natural leader for Woolwich would be a good start.

  • Peter Pickles

    @ Tef1on: as mentioned by some of the others (thanks for all the kind comments, by the way :-D) I wasn’t saying I hate Arsenal and now I’m going to defer to Chelsea or Manchester United (if I’m shifting my support to anyone, it’s gotta be Hull City…) but merely pointing out that even although Wenger might have the greatest intentions, that doesn’t mean his ‘beautiful football’ philosophy doesn’t have flaws. What happens whenever they play on a terrible pitch and can’t get that pass-and-move flow going? They complain… Maybe they’re right to; maybe the pitch SHOULD be better… but that doesn’t change the result. Or what happens when they play a team who don’t care about the ‘beauty’ of the game and just hack the shit out of all the Arsenal players, stunting every single attempted move about two seconds after its conception? They, um…complain again… And again, maybe they’re right; but being right doesn’t put points on the table.

    Arsenal need to be able to go pound for pound, push for push… Taking it back to the hot chick metaphor: imagine the girl has a bag over her head and has to find true love based on her personality alone…? It’s going to be a LOT harder than just flashing some cleavage… Arsenal need to learn how to play with a bag on their heads (although, not literally…obviously…cos that might be kinda hard…). They need to be able to score and create chances even when the other team don’t allow them to play the way THEY want to play… Any good manager will look for ways to wreck the flow of Arsenal’s game. Every good manager KNOWS that to beat Arsenal, you don’t let them play… You never hear manager’s talking about stopping Man U from playing, or Chelsea… that’s because all we HAVE is our beautiful football…

    But despite these flaws, I DO still support Arsenal and I don’t boo them or throw pennies at them (apart from maybe this one time years ago… but Anelka gave me the evil eye, I swear…) and I do think they have the potential to be a great team… But I also think I have the potential to rule the world; doesn’t mean it’s going to happen (but it IS going to happen…)

    p.s I didn’t actually throw a penny at Anelka before anyone starts on me…

  • Matt Quinn

    Great article Peter Pickles although (even though im not an Arsenal fan) i wouldnt change a single thing about Arsenal. I think they stand for everything football is about. I would be proud to be an Arsenal fan at the moment. I honestly would prefer to watch that football week in week out and come 3rd rather than play like Chelsea under Mourinho and win the league.

    Also, they were second top scorers in the league last year… suggesting their attacking substance and tac-tac-tac passing is better and more successful than the approaches of 18 other teams in the division. Bolton play up and at them football. They average less than a goal a game.

    Then again, maybe im biased….i love fake boobs.

  • Darren

    Peter Pickles, you’re a legend, I’ve not laughed as much reading yr comments since since a few Spuds fan said they would finish above Arsenal in the league!

    More Peter Pickles please! Dexy get this man a beer!!

  • Peter Pickles


  • Stevie

    one thing I will say is Sliverstre is absolute shite

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