So Arsenal were knocked out of the Champions League last night, leaving the team with no silverware (again). It’s easy to revert to the Hug A Gooner sentiment from the post 8-2 drubbing by Man United, the loss to Sunderland in the FA Cup and, obviously, the defeat by AC Milan that put the team into the almost impossible situation of last night.
But that would be wrong to do. Last night was different.
Last night, an Arsenal side missing several key players, an Arsenal side sans Fabregas and Nasri, beat Milan 3-0. That’s not what’s important to me – and, no, I’m not saying this because Arsenal fell short. What mattered to me was the attitude the players showed. That, for me as a fan, was vital, not the scoreline.
It would’ve been so easy – and perhaps even justified – to play a reserve team and rest the senior players given the first leg. It would’ve been so easy for the players to go through the motions, get the 90 minutes done and dusted, and then move on to the game on Monday. Because, let’s be honest, turning around a 4-0 result was never likely to happen. But that’s not what happened.
No, the team came out to play. Wenger chose and attacking side and encouraged them to push forward. And, for the first 50 minutes anyway, Arsenal were utterly dominant. They played with flair, passion, heart and soul. As a fan, that’s what I want to see.
The attitude shown last night will have the fans fully behind them. It’s an attitude that will lift the players as they push for third in the Premier League (or maybe even second?). It’s an attitude that, maybe, will create uneasiness among the teams Arsenal will play over the next few weeks.
Last night I was proud to be a Gooner. You can hug me if you like, and I’ll hug back as a smiling fan.