Many teams fail to reach their goals over the course of a season, that is the nature of the sport, but for some reason the travails of Arsenal seem to dominate the media landscape much more than the shortcomings of any of their contemporaries.
The struggles of Chelsea will be discussed but not obsessed over. The decline of Liverpool will be debated but never to the extent that the team from the Emirates is analysed.
Maybe it’s because Arsenal alway seem to promise so much with their style of play, maybe it’s because Arsene Wenger has developed a superiority complex in the face of his teams frequent inferiority when faced with their biggest rivals, or maybe it’s because they seem to have the uncanny ability of finding the most exquisitely painful methods of throwing it all away at the very moment that triumph is finally within their grasp.
Whatever the cause a fairly low-key Premier League title race has been enlivened by the almost fantastical manner in which Arsenal have thrown away points with the same abandon that a child throws away Christmas wrapping paper.
Two nil up to Spurs becomes a defeat, 4-0 up to Newcastle only earns a point, and when they take the lead with the latest goal in Premier League history against Liverpool they somehow contrive to allow their own record to be broken ninety seconds later, and throughout it all the manager stands on the sidelines bemoaning the injustice that is unfolding, once again, before his eyes.
Ironically Wenger could claim that his young side is actually making progress. They finished fourth in the table two seasons ago, third last year, and could well finish (at least) second this time around.
The problem is that this isn’t the way that it feels. I doubt many regulars at the Emirates regard this team as champions in waiting for next season. Fabregas seems ever more likely to be gone, and the likes of Arshavin and Rosicky have become peripheral figures when they were bought to be the fulcrums of the team.
But you know what? They are great to watch. Whilst Manchester United grind out points from sub-par performances and Chelsea use their strength to overpower weaker opposition, Arsenal remain an enigma wrapped in a conundrum wrapped in a defensive blunder.
No matter how good their position there is always the possibility that they will unaccountably fall into some metaphorical swoon like the modern-day equivalent of a Victorian heroine who wakes up to find that they have suddenly lost everything.
It may not be great football, and it may not be great character, but it is undoubtedly great theatre.
We should cherish them whilst we can.
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