A Louse and a Flea

By Thomas Williamson

The devil and the deep blue sea? Gooners are backing Chelsea on Saturday and in the title race

I must begin this article with an unequivocal declaration: I hate Chelsea as much as any Arsenal fan. I still feel a bit sick at the way they were able to barge in at the top because of Abramovich’s money which saved them from near extinction. I remember leaving the pub instantly when Drogba scored that penalty to win the European Cup, rather than watch them celebrate, and it will hurt me forever that they were able to reach that Holy Grail before us.

I remember cheering when Liverpool knocked them out in 2005 and 2007, and cheering on Manchester United of all teams in the 2007 title race. Their victory that year almost felt a bit moral to me at that time, as if the universe was correcting itself to prevent a team using money to turn the Premiership into a non-contest, with one team using its much higher spending power to romp home each year. Oh, how it is all coming back to me now: Terry, Lampard, Cashley, Drogba et al, winning trophy after trophy while we went through our nine-year drought. So, in almost any circumstance, I would be cheering on a team chasing down Chelsea in the title race, and who had been able to cut a 13 point lead to 4.

But here’s the thing. We are where we are, and between now and the end of the season, if Chelsea don’t end up winning the title then that will almost certainly mean that Spurs will have done so instead. Sure, the maths doesn’t really work and Chelsea have on paper an easier run in. But you just don’t know at this stage what could happen - no one thought Man City would win it after we beat them in April 2012.

Chelsea could yet bottle it and Spurs capitalise and claim the title, especially if Spurs win the semi-final at Wembley. And for me all that I have mentioned in the first paragraph goes out the window when I consider this possibility. It would be hailed by the media as a changing of the guard in North London and contrasted explicitly with our upcoming Europa League campaign. We will hear endless statistics about their lower income and wage bill in comparison to ours and how they have done it the “right” way with young English players, and how Pochettino is a transformative genius in the same vein as early Wenger.

Don’t get me wrong, if any other team were in Spurs' position and form I would be right behind them - but they aren’t. So, given this option between a louse and a flea, I know which option I choose every time.

19th April 2017 16:15:39


Comments and Reaction

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The Man From UNCLE  16:41pm 19th Apr 2017

Shoot me down in flames if you must, but however Chelsea got their seat at the top table, you have got to admire that not only have they stayed there (which others haven't, like Leeds, Aston Villa) the club has not only consistently challenged for trophies but of course have won them too - a clean sweep of all the major honours, which puts them in an extremely exclusive club. As for our neighbours, should they win the title and / or the double then so be it - no point moaning at others because our board and clueless manager have stood still. My old man, who played to a good level, told me years ago "that league table don't tell no lies". - Post No. 106482

Moscowgooner  16:42pm 19th Apr 2017

We have to back Chelsea - but sad that Arsenal have now become the 3rd club in London. In our last pre Wenger season we were the top club, ´normal service resumed´after the blip of 1994/5. We have come full circle. - Post No. 106483

mbg  18:45pm 19th Apr 2017

Whatever scenario gets this old arrogant egoistic weasel out of this club is fine by me, and the most embarrassing for him the better regardless of bragging rights, it's gone way way past that now, and can we become any bigger of a laughing stock that we are now thanks to him. We want wenger out. - Post No. 106485

mbg  18:57pm 19th Apr 2017

The Man From Uncle, good post my thoughts exactly. wenger out now. - Post No. 106486

markymark  19:33pm 19th Apr 2017

The option of Being offered either Chelsea or Tottenham winning the title is equivalent to "Would you like a pin inserted in your left eye, or your right eye Sir?" Think Spurs winning title could actual put more pressure on Wengo and stir up the lumpen proles who sit their not saying a thing (Leekey's silent choir). So in essence don't care, Wengo out! - Post No. 106487

markymark  19:48pm 19th Apr 2017

Leekey's silent choir.... The AKB Untold Debate Continues! Well there's not much you can do really is there? he should be allowed to leave with dignity, he did so much for the club he built the stadium you know! We only got the stadium because all the banks wanted Mr Wenger to stay for the entire mortgage of 20 years, that's what I've heard anyway. Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich would loved to have had him and he always kept loyal didn't he! He loves our club more than those nasty wobbies. He should get paid even more. He didn't beat his partner yer know. He just terrified her. Even the other clubs supporters love him so much they ask him to stay, which is very nice of them! 1/2/3 let's sing there's only one Arse...... oh no my voice box has collapsed.. oh dear I've wet myself too. Err that's it, time for my bed and some coco. Goodnight. - Post No. 106488

Paulward  20:04pm 19th Apr 2017

Would marginally prefer Chelsea I suppose, even though it would be very funny to see them blow it having been 10 points clear. Just hope neither of them do the double, that would be the nightmare scenario, if we do get to the final don't think even Wengers biggest critic on here could want us to lose! - Post No. 106489

CORNISH GOONER  20:22pm 19th Apr 2017

"Tough titty" &"we are where we are" springs to mind - that's what we all get for putting up with Monsieur Hulot when it was evident that he was well past it. Stand still as a Club & eventually others will overtake you &, in all probability, the process of decline will now accelerate. I honestly don't have a problem with either Spurs or Chelski - currently they are playing better & winning football. I notice that their managers seem very young - is there a connection? - Post No. 106490

Alsace  20:57pm 19th Apr 2017

Arsenal Wenger was given charge of the best team in London. In 20 years he has made it the third best. That is his legacy. Is he a parasite, the louse, or the blood sucker the flea? Either way he deserves to be removed with insecticide. - Post No. 106491

Leek fc  22:30pm 19th Apr 2017

£400 in the kitty and the Wenger bus demo can't shift 30 seats. Keep up the good work fellas. Sounds as if you need help with this protest. I'm sure some of the other semi final fans will help and donate. ha ha ha - Post No. 106492

mbg  22:50pm 19th Apr 2017

I don't begrudge the chavs their wealth and success one bit, I suppose it would have been fine if the Russian had bought us and splashed his cash on real world class players for us and made us as successful as them, and we went on to be the first club in London to win the Champions League. We want wenger out. - Post No. 106493

markymark  7:50am 20th Apr 2017

Leek the Squeak:- 1: Why has Gazidis called this season a conduit of change, why do we hear of a massive rebuilding of the team? Surely this is not necessary as Wenger built the team in the first place and said they are his best team. 2: Who is the better manager this season? Please rank Wenger, Pullis, Allardyce, Pochettino. Please respond, maybe in a 500 word articles - Post No. 106494

Redshirtwhitesleeves  8:28am 20th Apr 2017

For me it comes down to a lifetime of despising the spuds. I hope they never win anything. They are not even a big club, their obsession with us and the inferiority complex they have with us is laughable- the fact their new stadium is going to have 100 more seats or whatever it is just so they can say they have a bigger ground is s perfect case in point. I hope Chelsea beat them on Saturday and end up ahead of them in the league. Until the Russian blood money came along I viewed them as a nothing club. I can't stand them either, in my opinion they are the most tacky, least classiest club in England. Whichever way you look it at Arsenal are the biggest club in London, albeit being held back by a few selfish w*****. If we had a proper board and chairman they would be on the plane to Turin right now to beg Allegri to become our new manager. If only.... - Post No. 106495

TonyEvans  9:32am 20th Apr 2017

Redshirts - I'm with you re the Spuds. Not a lover of Chelsea either but if it's a toss up between the two I'm going for Chelsea for the League any day. As for the cup it would have to be City - I certainly do not want to see us in the final v Chelsea, and even more so the Spuds. No confidence in Arsenal at all not to embarrass us all yet again with another inept capitulation against decent opposition. - Post No. 106496

Bard  9:45am 20th Apr 2017

What a choice? Would prefer Chelsea because, they have been the top London club for a while now. However it would be worse for Wenger if the Spuds won it. How would it look if our biggest rivals whose wage bill is much less than ours won the title. Depressing all round if you ask me. - Post No. 106497

Yes its Ron  10:13am 20th Apr 2017

the animosity towards Chesle by many has always been misplaced. Its born of jealousy in the same way as many fans at one time used to be jealous of Arsenal. As for those Clubs, Utd and Liverpool being on a higher moral plane, dont make me laugh. Utd and Liverpool were the money bags Clubs for 40 odd years before Chelsea and each dominated in their respective era s because of that wealth. Utd in fact blew money for 26 yrs like confetti between 1967 and 1992 and cdt win a title. Liverpools great teams from the late 70s were all built on selective big money buys too. Dalglish, Barnes and Co didnt grow on trees. Like him or loathe what he stands for, the guy at Chelsea has the cash and gives it to his managers to spend when they need it to ensure they keep a good team on the pitch. - Post No. 106498

Yes its Ron  10:41am 20th Apr 2017

reshirts - Tottenhams trajectory now towards being a big Club is genuine though and not illusory as they've been for decades. I always think the worst thing about both Clubs is not so much about the Clubs and teams, but about the types who latch onto them both as supporters. I think thats where the detest comes from to be honest. Both have always played decent football in my view. I dont think theres anything fundamental about most of the players each Club has had down the years to deeply dislike. Its the perceptions and aura s of the Clubs that do neither any favours. - Post No. 106499

RobG  10:48am 20th Apr 2017

To be perfectly frank, I couldn't care either way. If Spurs win, so be it, they will have deserved it. I suspect Chelsea will take the League but the Cup is anyone's guess. It is us that concerns me. Nothing else. With this in mind the new Just Giving target is already past the halfway mark. I contributed yesterday. Keep it coming because this fight looks set to run. I still think that Wenger will insanely hang on for next year, in which case the Club sinks further into acrimony and discord. But that's their call not ours. And we have to keep the pressure up until that and his serial incompetence and hubris doom him to an exit, agreed or forced. Stump Up ! - Post No. 106500

Bob Bayliss  12:09pm 20th Apr 2017

And there, in a nutshell, is one of the key reasons why Wenger has got away with it for as long as he has. Too many Arsenal fans are prepared to turn a blind eye to the fact Chelsea have had our number for 13 years, ever since they beat us in the Champions' League Quarter Final during the invincibles season. They have humiliated us time and again, won countless trophies including the Champions' League, nicked our best players and left us trailing in our wake. But we've continued to obsess about Tottenham, because, you know, we have to hate them and as long as there is a St Totteringhams Day then we should be grateful. Do you know what? I see the bigger picture. I would rather this club were competing with Chelsea than obsessing about whether Tottenham do or don't win the title or FA Cup. And if we refuse to do what it takes to compete with Chelsea, then perhaps the unthinkable would be the wake-up call the club and many of its fans deserve. - Post No. 106502

TonyEvans  12:37pm 20th Apr 2017

If last nights Juve result v Barca is anything to go by Allegri would be great for Arsenal. Can you imagine a Wenger team shutting Barca out even once, never mind twice! I can dream of a manager like that at Arsenal again, but that is all it will be, as I am damn sure Wenger will still be masquerading as a top flight manager at Arsenal next season. It is no more than we deserve though really, with our largely apathetic match day fans. - Post No. 106504

Yes its Ron  12:47pm 20th Apr 2017

HI Tony - was good to see Barcelona humbled wasnt it. High time some of their preening strut and arrogance was knocked out of them. Having said that, theyre on the wane now i think. Not near what they were 4-5 years back are they. I hope Atletico win it for Simeone after his losing finals now Leics have gone. Allegis a good bloke though ass you say. Schooled in the Italian way clearly at Juve. PS I think Arsenal would have been more easily beaten by AM. - Post No. 106505

Redshirtwhitesleeves  12:56pm 20th Apr 2017

Tony/Ron- good points as always lads. Ron your right about spurs they are starting to look the real deal and their manager is top class if you ask me. As for Barca I'm watching their downfall with much pleasure after the years of play acting, cheating, referee favours etc that have blighted their period of success (although admittedly the football they play has been ridiculously good for a lot of that time) - Post No. 106506

TonyEvans  13:09pm 20th Apr 2017

Redshirts and Ron - Yes about time Barca were taken down a peg or two. I would also like to see Atletico win it for Simione (another great fit for Arsenal). Also agree that Spurs are certainly looking the part - first time I have ever really experienced a much better looking Spurs side than our own. Don't go back as far as their 60s heydays - thankfully! - Post No. 106508

mbg  13:38pm 20th Apr 2017

Bard, my thoughts exactly too much more embarrassing for TOF (and the more of those the better)if the spuds won it especially if it were against us, it would surely wake his remaining AKB luvvies up and piss them right off too, no st totterinhams day, watching the spuds climb the Wembley steps to lift the trophy as our nice boys shed false tears on the pitch, then them and the weasel skulking off down the tunnel, and then the next day watching them on their victory parade, what a scenario Eh ? all brought about by their messiah himself, i wonder will would they still respect him as much, i'd safely say the final nail in his coffin, do we want him out or not ? @no new contract, we want wenger out. - Post No. 106510

Bard  13:43pm 20th Apr 2017

Agree lads Barca are on the wane thats for sure. But what a pleasure to see a side able to defend properly. Barca had 17 shots and one on target. Reminds me of the great days of Baresi and co. Thought it was interesting how average Suarez looked when up against proper defenders. - Post No. 106511

jeff wright  16:56pm 20th Apr 2017

Tbh ,I thought that Wengo's desperation 3 CB's formation against relegation fodder Boro - whose strikers normally couldnt score in a brothel - was a bit of a shambles . Boro were actually rather unfortunate not to have got at least a point from the game .Worringly though with an horrendous run of tough fixtures ahead for Wengo there did not appear to be a lot between the two sides and Boro even managed to get a draw at the Emirates...no doubt the nutter bug eyes I'll give that woman a slap Moyes will be pointing this out to his cannon fodder .Even Wengo ,who is usually rather ebullient after any win ,struggled to put any positive spin on things after the win against Boro . He mumbled about confidence and needing stability blah blah blah... It seems to me though that Wengo has chosen a strange time to suddenly adopt a new defensive formation just days before a semi-final against a side who are much better than Boro are .It looks like Wengo's hand was forced on this tactical change judging by his body language and lukewarm comments regarding the new formation .It's anyone's guess how this malarkey is going to help breed confidence for the semi v City . If anything exactly the reverse because Keystone Kos, who had another iffy game the other night, plus the rest of the Keystone Crew hardly looked anymore proficient playing the 3 center backs game than they have done when tripping over each others feet and what have you when it's 2 on parade. It 's all really in reality just a case of 3 clowns at work instead of two ! You couldn't make it up. - Post No. 106512

Yes its Ron  17:30pm 20th Apr 2017

Great point Bard - Defending is an art form for me, not some thing to sneered at and ignored by gung ho advocates like Guardiola and Wenger aided and abetted by TV demands. Mate, Tardelli, Baresi, Scirea (loved him for Juve back in the day) Gentile and on and on and on. Endless. Ive always been an admirer of Italian football. Used to get to go see The Viola - Fiorentina, but been a while now. Fabulous players the Italians. classy, but able to be football assassins all their own way. For me, as European footballers, Italian footballers at their best are the only European players who get close to Brazilians in terms of technique harnessed to skill, power and football intelligence. Great football teams are ALWAYS built from the back Mr Wenger. Call yself a Coach pfff! Laughable. - Post No. 106513

jjetplane  20:50pm 20th Apr 2017

Chelsea looking a bit knackered and think they will be well beaten by the now towering Totts. Pep should piss all over little team Arsenal (Europa for a few seasons herein and bet Wengo will not win that either) so get with the PL prog and AB at the Chavs likes his football and goes to all the games so good luck to them but Conte knows he has a lot of rebuilding to do. Think the Totts are ahead of them now and in another league from Arsenal. Saw the Totts a few times in the 60s and was there for the big win in 71 and many others. Tables have turned but has I no longer recognise Arsenal as Arsenal it is easy to appreciate those funky handshakes between Alii, Kane and Song (how ****ing good is Song!). Get used to it because the days of London club rivalry are long gone and most of the Ems crowd would not understand a bit of naughtiness at a football match. It's all over and the Totts understand that more than Wernger's useless failing club. Remember also standing at the old Bridge with Osgood and the likes on the pitch. Great days and in our little crews there would be fans from all the London clubs. The rivalry for the most was a piss take but if you wanted something more it was always available. Really think the Totts could not give an arse about Arsenal and see no threat and they will be feeling sorry for their neighbours for quite a while. LeeeeeeeKIE how many coaches have you booked for St Totteringham's Day? Can Arsenal catch them over next five years? Will Wenger win the Europa Cup and put his Euro pursuit to bed? What decade are you living in? - Post No. 106515

jjetplane  22:49pm 20th Apr 2017

Rashford, Sane and Alii - there are some great young players in the PL. Then there's Iwobi (what happened to him? slipped back even quicker than Bellerin). Curse of Wengo. - Post No. 106516

Issue #269 - Out Now!

Gooner Editorial

15th January 2018

Being muscled off the ball by Bournemouth is like being mugged by your grandma

Online Ed: Another poor Arsenal display on the road just another signpost as we near the end of the Wenger era