Look to the future is Arsene Wenger's mantra once again. Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater maybe another.
All said and done a stirring defense of this team's performance and a pointed reminder that a real team cannot be bought. It is a placation to the team's supporters increasingly disgruntled at the lack of urgency shown towards the only and most meaningful title left.
But in the midst of it is a sense of victimization. On two levels. The first, an "us" and "them" gulf that seems to separate the club from Man Utd and Barcelona. Thus, Arsenal did not lose to any other team, they lost to good ones. But that did not stop Wenger from trumpeting winning a quadruple before the FA Cup encounter or the Barca second leg. The context: United were at a low ebb beaten by Wolves, Chelsea, and Liverpool and we had the good fortune of carrying a goal advantage to Barcelona. Now how did we go from dishing it out to eating crow?
The second and most relevant level. These are criticisms leveled by "people who have not worked half a day in football." By that dint, not to be taken seriously but by golly are they tiresome. Now, this means armchair pundits like me - who've never put an ounce into the sport in any other capacity other than kick leather. But we've been Arsenal fans for years and we remember a Wenger era when his teams looked and did beat the crap out of anyone and everyone. "Fragile" is not how one characterized players like Adams, Keown, Bould, Parlour, Vieira, and Petit.
" People's opinion is people's opinion and we have to accept that in our game," he said. "As long as you are second in the league, I am ready to sign for the next 20 years and stand up for that."
These are mere bumps on the road. In fact, if you read right Wenger seems to be saying it is alright to come second every time in a world gone mad on the football machine that believes buying their way to a title is the only way. I wish sometimes Wenger, with all my heart would give up his football job and become SEC chairman or the US Treasury Secretary. We suffer because as supporters of a club we only understand the straight and narrow, whereas, Wenger's real purpose is to save the world we inhabit. It is a transformation he thinks will only be appreciated through time. Patience, my friend! I've heard it is a virtue.