REFRAMING FAILURE – Le Grove – The Arsenal Opinion Blog

Thierry Henry is back it it again with his needling of the club. This time, it’s about where we’ll finish this season.

“For me, if they don’t do it, as I said at the start of the season, then it will be a failure.”

Ok, now Thierry is a god.

… but, he was also part of a pretty terrible takeover bid that went absolutely nowhere. He showed up to Spurs, dripping in nostalgia, sitting with a billionaire because he thought we’d lose against title contending Spurs and there would be a symbolic ‘old player savior’ statement.

You can’t deny that.

So then we get to mid-October and he says that he doesn’t understand what Arsenal are doing.

“I don’t know if things are going in the right direction,”

Here’s what’s happening.

Thierry stating that anything bar top 4 is a failure is him repositioning what success should be this season. At the start of the season, he said he didn’t get it. Then in December, he said that we’re shit against top teams, and we need to be more than just beating the teams we should beat (even though the big improvement is Arsenal beating the teams we should beat).

Now we’re in a great shape for top 4, he’s saying that is now the Expectation, anything else is a failure. He’s hedging on us not making it, so he can’t point at Arsenal being on the wrong path, then creating a ‘so what’ notion if we do finish top 4.

He’s reframing failure and in the process dimming how you’ll feel about a huge success if it lands.

It’s very transparent and quite boring.

There’s a whole collection of fans that have doomed all season that are now suddenly banging the TOP 4 IS THE ONLY WAY I CAN BE HAPPY drum.

Where were you after our summer transfers? Twitter search ‘doesn’t move the needle’ that was quite popular at the time.

Where were you after the first three games? Some were actually arguing with me on this site that Aston Villa were a bigger club. Everyone was cartastrophizing that we’d finish 8th. Almost no one was talking about how damaging a covid outbreak could be.

Where were you after the United and Everton results?

Where were you after the January transfer window closed?

What were you saying after United signed Rangnick and Spurs signed Conte? That Arsenal missed a trick? That our rookie manager would fail against the might of those two?

If you were calling time on this season during any of those points, then you really need to pipe down with ‘TOP 4 OR WE RIOT’ chat.

Top 4, with the youngest team in the league, would be a gargantuan achievement this season. It would be a feat of heroics from the players, it’d be a managerial and coaching masterclass, and it would be a huge W for the disciplined club strategy.

… but if it doesn’t happen, it shouldn’t be seen as the end of an era… because the era has only just started.

Spurs are coming to the end of a cycle and the start of a new regime under Antonio Conte. It’s pretty clear he doesn’t have the patience for a rebuild on a pittance. Nothing in his DNA says he relished the David and Goliath challenges. He likes being at the richest club and he likes big money NOW.

United are under new leadership with Ralph Rangnick. The leaks going on there are outrageous, their culture is toxic, and that will be very expensive to change.

West Ham have one of the oldest squads in the Premier League. If they don’t make CL this season, players like Declan Rice and Jarred Bowen will get hovered up by big clubs.

We’ve done the hard work, the foundations are set, now it’s about sprinkling some additional magic this summer to push to the next level.

The needlers constantly working out ways to reframe what failure would look like are very boring.

Thierry should know better. Majority of our fans in the ground certainly do.

Arsenal is on the right path. Top 4 will still be beastly tough. There will still be days that will shock you because that is just the nature of a young inexperienced team. But long term? We’re on the path to the top. The club has to keep making the right decision, keep tying down our best players, and sticking to the plan.

Right, short one today, see you in the comments.

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