There is so much riding on this game today, a season is defined by where you finish after playing all your games. However there are a number of games on your calendar throughout a season that require a victory at all costs or at the very minimum no defeat. Usually those games are reserved for your local rivals where pride is put on the line and there definitely is no love lost between us and Tottenham. But today the match against Manchester united holds equal standing to the north London derby due to a number of factors that have arisen over the past year.
We have always enjoyed a mutual rivalry with united due to our epic challenges for the premiership title back in the late 90’s and early noughties. But two key factors have raised the bar on this clash to the level of which victory would have grown men crying with glee.
We all know the factors I have mentioned: the 8-2 and Robin van Persie.
Now looking back at the match on that ill-fated afternoon in August we were taken to the cleaners, we were in a bad place; our squad was in turmoil as players instigated their departure from the club leaving us in limbo. With key players gone, injuries to senior players on the day we ended up playing united with one of the most patched up starting elevens I had ever witnessed. Players making their debut, players untried at the highest level, players who had already negotiated moves away and were just filling a gap and which was quite evident were more concerned with not getting any injuries to spoil their medical.
The united team smelt blood and as we know arsenal fans we went on to witness one of the darkest days in our clubs history. The manner of the defeat brought such shame and disappointment on the name of arsenal football club that it will take more than victory today to erase the memory from our heads. A victory would help though.
Since that ill-fated game we did purchase players who steadied the ship and managed to turn our fortunes around slightly. There is no talk of crisis anymore like we had back last august but there is talk questioning how far this club has moved on. A question that will continued to be asked until we finally return some silverware to the trophy cabinet at the emirates AND the walking, talking stain on our clubs history that goes by the name of Robin van Persie finally buggers off.
Never has a man who has achieved so much with the club and then showed such disrespect by sticking two fingers up to the club and joining one of their main rivals. We have over the years had our differences with the likes of Emmanuel Adebayor or Samir Nasri but as we all know they were mercenaries and nothing those players do surprise us. They both joined our club with whispers of disruption and baggage at previous clubs, they initially knuckled down and showed their talent but their ugly sides surfaced and our club is a better place for not having those types around.
Robin van Persie is a player who spent many years at arsenal; we stuck with him through all the bad times he experienced with injuries and his short temperament. Arsene Wenger helped develop his game until he has become one of the most recognized and respected strikers on the world stage. He was club captain and he has experienced the top players leaving the club in the past. He knows what would be tolerated and what would not sit well with the club. He knows arsenal history and was fully aware of his actions when he made the decision to leave arsenal to join Manchester united.
We saw the passion he had when Adebayor joined Manchester city, that clash they had embodied the kind of bleed for your club mentality that fans of all clubs love. It could be just that the two players just never got on but still all the words he mentioned in aftermath of clashes with Adebayor showed how much he disliked the decision to leave the club for rivals in the name of money and quick trophies. How quickly times change.
Robin van Persie is finished with our club, those eight years spent with us mean nothing, he is not welcome back in my eyes and I would never acknowledge any achievements he received for our club.
Arsene Wenger has called for the fans to respect Van Persie and has likened the hate to some of the racial issues that has dominated football for the past few weeks. I’m sorry but I have to disagree with Arsene there. I am not encouraging hate on a player because of his nationality or colour of his skin. I am not condoning any physical violence directed at the player and I am not condoning any verbal abuse that goes beyond football banter (i.e. booing). But I do feel Robin needs to know how arsenal fans feel about him, he needs to be aware his actions over the summer were a disgrace and that he is never welcome back at arsenal in any capacity other than visiting when representing his new club. When his career is on the wane and he is desperately looking for a new club I do not want to hear Arsene has allowed him to train at London Colney to regain fitness and find a club. Those kinds of doors are shut on the player forever and I want him to know that.
To our fantastic away supporters, give him hell but keep it all above-board. Robin Van Persie is not worth risking getting yourself into trouble for.
It’s a tough ask for our boys to pull off a victory to gain back a smidgen of redemption from that 8-2 defeat but It’s not impossible.
We can do it.
Enjoy your day people.Enjoy the game
Please feel free to like the Facebook page. Win,lose or draw share your thoughts with me.