This Is Our Squad, Let's Get Behind Them.

Hello again, mon Arsamis. Much has happened since I last posted (vacations have a way of making their presence felt), and I don't think I need to comment much on the Blackpool and Blackburn matches. Blackpool acquitted themselves well I thought, for a longshot promoted side with just 10 men; if our finishing had been sharper, we would have had 9 or more. Theo got his first career hat trick, and given his poor preseason, his renaissance was most unexpected for me. At least we didn't concede (although an early header after we broke the deadlock would have been put away by better opponents).

The Blackburn away match was, well, a typical Blackburn away match in many respects. Allardyce's gorillas attempted to push, shove, trip and foul their way to victory, we relied on our "Total Football" mentality, and thanks to goals from Theo and Arshavin, we prevailed. Much has been said about the goal we conceded, and I admit it concerned me. Sagna was caught too far forward, Samba took the ball out of the back unopposed, and when we saw Koscielny battling with the physical (and cuntish) El-Hadj Diouche, the French-Pole (Frole? Ponch?) was bested; Diouf crossed the ball into the middle for his teammate/namesake Other Guy Diouf, as Clichy stood stock-still, and an easy goal was scored. No fault of Almunia's, the team defence let us down.

Speaking of Almunia, as the transfer window closed on Tuesday with no further purchases, he has been solidified as the Arsenal # 1, for good or ill. I would have liked to have seen Schwarzer come in; he was our only realistic target, since City would never have sold us Given and Sebastien Frey is linked with us as a matter of course. Schwarzer, for me, is not a great keeper, but very good, and a huge improvement over Almunia and FabiIfuckinghatethatguy in their weaker areas (set pieces especially). But as Fulham couldn't find a replacement, Stockdale was injured, and since Mark Hughes is a complete and utter cunt, the sale was nixed and we were left with what we had.

Which brings me to the title of the post: This is our squad, let's get behind them. Having had a few days to cool down, I can say that I overreacted a bit to the news that we had bought no keeper, that having been identified as a period of need at the start of the window. I was livid, probably more upset with the manager than I've ever been before. But all I needed was a quick look around the blogosphere to peek at some of the comments submitted by Arsenal "supporters." Our own fans were calling Arsene Wenger, the single most successful manager in Arsenal history and a football icon in his own right, a pedophile, and apparently some began comparing him to mass-murdering despots (Hitler was definitely used as an example... not sure if Pol Pot got the mention but he's usually the forgotten mass-murdering dictator).

Most others didn't quite go that far but made it a point to continuously state that we are hopeless, will be lucky to finish top-10, blah, blah, snore. The typical doom and gloomers; even as a general pessimist, I don't understand this outlook. If everything is so awful and the future is already negatively decided, why bother worrying about the club? Where is the joy in having a team to cheer if you don't bother to take joy from it? I came across so many of these "fans" and their ilk, and engaged a few myself, that I quickly forgot my own rage at a signing that wasn't and was pressed into defending Arsene and the club against our own bone-headed supporters.

Much of this ire toward the manager, based on many of the comments I came across, has as much to do with Wenger's nationality and accent as it does any actual football-related decisions. As an American, I have a small understanding of this bias; America's relationship with France does not go back as long, nor is it as intertwined, as England's, although (in recent years especially) it has been rocky at times. But I don't habitually sneer when I hear a French accent and don't understand those who do. I also am able to approach my club football affiliation without national pride entering the picture. Would it be nice to have an American on Arsenal? Of course. Would I love the club any more because of it? Doubtful.

Those of you who've read The Modern Gooner for a while will know I don't wear rose-tinted glasses; I call them as I see them, and generally admit when I'm wrong, so I don't follow Wenger blindly. But I cannot abide so-called Arsenal supporters going out of their way to have a go at the manager, the players, and other fans who actually support the club. This is blind despair, and it is just as destructive as blind faith. Being a supporter does not mean you follow along pretending everything is fine even when they're not; but it also does not mean that you mire yourself so fully in self-pity and despair that you cannot see the sunnier side of things. Being a football supporter, being an Arsenal supporter, is a lot like life: there are highs and lows, good times and bad, light and dark. Knowing this balance allows us to appreciate the good and great moments, the goals, the cups, the celebrations, that much more, because you realize that things won't always be this good. Cherish the best parts and banish the worst without discounting them. Manuel Almunia is our goalkeeper, but there is a silver lining to this situation: he's not Lukasz Fabianski.

This is our squad. Let's get behind them. Victoria Concordia Crescit.