The Liverpool game was noteworthy, in my mind, for some key points.
- Firstly, we attack well, and so do Liverpool.
- Secondly, we defend atrociously. And so do they.
- Third, it was one of the games of the season.
Lastly, we were wrong to boo the Ox.
That’s right; I don’t believe he warranted that treatment.
I see a lot of Arsenal, nay football, online media. The mix of views here was varied on the Ox booing situation. Claude on AFTV was opposed to it, yet DT believed it was warranted. Arseblog believed it was unwarranted (in their game preview, since they knew it would happen), but was part of the game nonetheless. Robbie on AFTV had mixed views on it, though Gooner Eagle Eye, Lee Gunnerbang and Ola, and Bergkamp Wonderland, were largely against it.
I must favour the “against” side here. I wrote an article specifying why I was sorry to see Ox go. And I still am now. Yes, he did not excel with us, despite showing great initial potential. However, these are the reasons why I believe the booing and vitriol was unjust:
He hasn’t dissed us
Van Persie and Nasri both left for bigger and better things. This is fine in itself, since we couldn’t have won the league in that 2011 to 2013 period. However, they both cited negative views when they left. RvP said that Arsenal was just a stepping stone for bigger things. Nasri, when he was in the “Agueerrrrrooooooooo!!!” league title win, said that we were happy to get fourth, whilst he actually got a trophy.
Now, leaving when we’re down is one thing. All players want to progress. But then one should do this with a degree of class and respect. I cannot speak for all of us as fans, though to me those were the principal reasons why I disliked (and to some extent still do, even though it was years ago) RvP/Nasri. It’s funny now to see Nasri say he respects Wenger and Arsenal (at least as funny as his antics in Euro 2012, and the allegations with the Californian Twitter accounts….)
Ox has been respectful, and was honest. He needed a place to boost his career.
No fixed position
Did he get a fixed position at Arsenal? Not really. He played at right-back (yes..right back….), right wing, centre-mid, number 10, left-wing, and both right and left-wing backs. Due to this, he may have been a bit disillusioned, and didn’t get what he hoped when he joined.
Being “Wenger out”
There is the thing that he liked a Wenger Out rant from an AFTV regular. For me, this is being puerile, since I don’t think he would do something to undermine his own manager. Nonetheless, it may be that Wenger (despite him being highly respected by current and former players alike) is part of the desire for change. Maybe, akin to Alexis or Ozil, he wants to compete. Granted, Liverpool and Arsenal are on a similar level in terms of quality. Though I believe we all need a refresher at times, and this for him was it.
If he’s leaving for a more supportive environment, then is he really a snake? He’s human. We all need good surroundings in order to flourish. I don’t think he’s been excessively better at Liverpool than at Arsenal. Though it’s clear he thinks Liverpool, for whatever reason, is a more progressive environment than Arsenal. And he has a point. Yes, the owners of Liverpool (FSG) are akin to Kroenke in how they manage their club. But they have expanded Anfield, bought top players such as Salah and Keita, and clearly hold a plan to progress. Klopp is a good manager, and has done well with the resources at his disposal thus far.
So the boos, in my mind, were not warranted. Yes, it’s sad to see him go, since he still has potential. But just leave him be, and wish him well. As long as he doesn’t score against us in the future, I’m indifferent to him, and hold no animosity.