I am a Jewish Arsenal fan, a season ticket holder who goes to home games and, pre-fatherhood, also went to a number of away games. Being a North Londoner of Jewish persuasion, my friends are split about 60/40 in favour of the 1-1 at Newcastle's from up the road. My Spurs friends would readily refer to themselves as the Yids and part of the Yid Army (one can assume they are not voicing their support for the Israeli Defence Forces). But of course the term's usage extends far beyond the club's Jewish supporters. It's rife amongst the whole demographic of Spurs fans. The term is a self-styled moniker that we are told was borne out of oppression, prejudice and, ultimately, resilience.
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Arsenal's summer has been largely perceived as a bit of a failure, and with good cause – judging by what we've seen so far. But I find myself disagreeing with some of the broader arguments being drawn about the management of the club. I'd like to give you some context to where I'm coming from on this debate on spending. By now, you're all familiar with the notion that Wenger does not see value in the transfer market, that he and those at the club who decide these matters are not willing to pay the 'going rate', and this is what I believe as well. But, and maybe you're already aware of this, the 'going rate' or the 'market rate' does not necessarily equate to the 'fair value' of an asset, or a football player in this case.
Arsenal 1 Aston Villa 3
To quote Rudyard Kipling's IF poem, "if you can keep your head when all about you are losing their and blaming it on you [...] you'll be a man". The reaction to yesterday's Arsenal match has been so over-the-top you'd think we'd lost our first ten games of the season, not one match. Fortunately, we have a manager who doesn't view one match as season-defining.
The result in the Villa game was a bad one, but that in itself isn't a cause for neither panic nor radical changes in the long term plan. The game didn't change what we need to do to succeed in the long term, the positions we need to strengthen are exactly the same as they were before the game. So what was it that did change then, as the headline suggests, and what changed it?
I always say that the notion that the result in a single game would change our long term plan is a ridiculous one and I still stand by that. However, events in a game can impact the way that plan needs to be executed. That is what happened in the Villa game. The injuries suffered, Arteta’s included, and the red card to Koscielny will forces us to act differently in the market.
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