Some people are getting more than a little tiresome with their endless negativity. Apparently this is the worst Arsenal side ever and it's the worst Arsenal defence ever too. Some people are even seeing Bruce Rioch's Arsenal days as some kind of blissful utopia. It's strange how far from reality one can drift.
I'd just like to point a few things out to the more negative amongst us. When Bruce Rioch managed us and we scraped fifth we were not a great side, the football was invariably pretty dire and we were pretty reliant on Bergkamp or Wright nicking a goal. The grass was most definitely not greener back then.
Currently we sit in fourth place, although Villa may well overtake us tonight, I admit we're not going to win the league, however it's not the bloody end of the world. There have been some poor performances, however there have been some outstanding ones too, certainly our lack of experience and depth of experience may well have been the cause of this lack of consistency.
There's no doubt that some players who have been starting are not good enough if you're going to be challenging for the title, however this does not mean that these players deserve routine abuse and criticism, as if they are the worst players in history to ever pull on an Arsenal shirt. Some people have remarkably short memories, I will just mention the names Kiwomya, Helder, McGoldrick, Morrow and there are many more.
I've watched Manu, Chelsea or Liverpool churn out unspectacular grinding wins this season on a rather frequent basis, just as Manu did against Boro last night. Boro could easily have taken the lead, they had a great spell early in the second half, Manu got the lucky goal and won in the end. It wasn't dissimilar to the way in which we ground out the Pompey win, yet I doubt their supporters will be so very critical and ungrateful in victory with the three points.
The way in which the manager has taken criticism is also beyond belief. Although there's no doubt he is to blame to a degree, he is criticised whatever he does these days. If he doesn't criticise the players he's accused of being overprotective of them, I shudder to think how badly our young experienced squad would have reacted to being slated in the press by their manager.
The inconsistency of this year has been down to mainly our lack of experience in the team, but also slightly down some other factors including unfortunate injuries to the likes of Walcott, Rosicky et al leaving as short in certain areas. I don't think it's been down to a lack of effort, a lack of experience - yes, a lack of quality in certain areas - yes, a lack of effort - no.
It's very easy for Tony Adams to comment on, but one should remember that without the rose tinted spectacles of retrospect Tony did have his problems off and on the pitch and was hardly the perfect role model for a long portion of his career. An interesting question, but would fans now react in the same way and be able to forgive a player for such unprofessional behaviour? I'm betting that the current spoilt breed would want the alcoholic Adams of yesteryear kicked out the club straight away without a chance for any support and a recovery.
If we put eleven forty year olds on the pitch and then they unsurprisingly got hammered on a regular basis, would it then be sensible to question the attitude of these players? I think not, and I think this also applies to our extremely young and inexperienced Arsenal side. Some questions are not so legitimate or clever. The buck does stop to some extent with the manager, although there are still quite a few things well outside of his control, but the lack of experience in our squad appears a very legitimate point to make.
However despite the disappointment of this season so far, let's not become so spoilt and negative then we stop even enjoying the victories, that we stop appreciating the many positives of being an Arsenal fan this season. In fact I remember very clearly being ecstatic when we clinched the UEFA cup spot on the final day of the 95/6 season, I get the distinct feeling that our new spoilt breed of fan would probably be whinging whatever the end result. If you always look for the negative then you shall find it, especially if your memory is so short that you ignore all of recent history and lose a sense of perspective.
The same ungrateful whinging was far too prevalent last season as well, we narrowly missed out on the title, and this was largely down to some shocking refereeing in key games. We punched way above our weight, played some sparking football and only went out of Europe because of some dutch theatrics. True there were no trophies, but it was a good season. We should be very careful for what we wish for, because there are plenty of premiership sides which have spent a lot more money than us and are doing considerably worse. We should be very careful, losing perspective and forgetting the past is dangerous, one can start taking things for granted, for example we all know what happens when people start taking peace for granted.