Arsenal: How Fans Are Coping with This Horrid Start to the Season

Whoever thought they'd live to see the day when the Gunners would stop firing.

One goal in three matches thus far in 2011-12 (two league draws, one narrow Champions League playoff victory) has many fans in uproar.

Why hasn't manager Arsene Wenger spent 35 million pounds burning in his tailored-suit pockets from the Fabregas deal, in order to reinforce the squad? (A squad in obvious need of reinforcement!)

For those who watched Saturday's dreary affair (brilliantly coupled by the actual second-half summer-in-London torrential downpour), it was pure torture.

That squad out on the Emirates pitch was no Carling Cup, youngster-driven Arsenal side. Rather, it was the best team Wenger could field for a vital Premier League match, and it reflected the state of Arsenal at the present moment.

Young, largely inexperienced, and lacking in quality going forward.

Things are not looking good.

While Liverpool's acquisitions of Andy Carroll (especially Luis Suarez) last January showed just how far an injection of quality can go in resuscitating a moribund side, Wenger has looked increasingly unsure about spending big in the transfer market. Yet, as ESPN Soccernet writer Mark Lomas wrote in a recap of the Arsenal-Liverpool match, the Uruguayan Suarez showed just how much 22.5 million pounds can get you.

Perhaps a dose of Phil Jagielka here, maybe a pinch of Leighton Baynes there, a sprinkling of some striker who actually scores (cough, cough Marouane Chamakh) on—er...—up top, and voila—you have a side that could make a serious run to the top four, and another season of Champions League football.

So simple, that.

All joking aside, something needs to be done. Because at present, Arsenal are coming dangerously close to resembling a bad girlfriend.

Now, I'm not talking about your sixth-grade fling. I'm talking three-year long, neither-of-us-will-break-up-with-the-other-because-we've-come-too-far, but we can't stand each other anymore type of relationship. The kind of toxic storm that leaves you with a bad taste in your mouth as you wake up each morning. The kind that makes every day a notch greyer.

Anyone who's ever been in what Dane Cook would call a "[email protected]#*" can understand: we've loved the Gunners a long time. Recently, they have tortured us incessantly; yet we refuse to drop them. They still mean too much to us.

Watching them play, we recognize their many shortcomings, and wonder why we cared about them in the first place. After we see them lose 2-0 to Liverpool, and our day is effectively ruined (at 6:30 a.m. PT), we want to break up!

But then comes the gap between games, and, as the adage says, the absence of Arsenal on our TV screen makes the heart grow fonder.

As we await the next fixture, we slowly slink back toward liking that team. We remember only the good times we had, and begin to miss them terribly.

We reason, "Hey, we could make this work again. I miss them too terribly for it not to. I won't ever be angry at them again."

And, lest our hearts grow black with regret, we give it another shot.

And then they play again. And we get angry. And wonder why we cared—again. The cycle spins 'round and 'round.

So, as we experience the latest Arsenal withdrawal after Saturday's match, we look for ways to cope. Just as ice cream and nights of binge-drinking have saved so many jilted lovers throughout the ages (er, for the first example, at least since the invention of the icebox), Arsenal fans turn to the wonderful world of YouTube in their time of need.

While we wallow in our misery, unwilling to meet the light of day, avoiding friends who might drag our pain to the forefront with a passing mention of the club, we turn to the highlight videos representing good times past. A flickering computer screen in a dark, low-lit room. It's soothing, no?

We watch Bergkamp spinning his Newcastle defender like a top before coolly slotting home. We marvel over Henry's flick up-and-shoot over Manchester United's Barthez. Bergkamp scoring here. Henry scoring there (they, uh, scored a lot).

Like the Brandtson song, Mexico, we're "fighting off the memories, and all the living in the past." By, er, living vicariously through highlight videos.

Funny how five minutes of highlights set to the tune of obscure 80's pop-rock can help take the edge off internal pain.

So here's my list, without further ado.

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