Porridge and endurance | Arseblog … an Arsenal blog

Porridge and endurance | Arseblog ... an Arsenal blog



It was quite funny to read some comments about Declan Rice not celebrating his goal against West Ham on Sunday. After Arsenal were accused by all and sundry for over-celebrating against Liverpool, now we’ve gone too far the other way and not celebrated enough.

Alan Shearer, for example, said:

When I saw it I was thinking ‘come on!’. Look, I know what West Ham means to him but I’m not really one for not celebrating goals. You work all week to score goals. Everyone knows what West Ham means to him and all that so I get it, but if it was me, I’d have been away celebrating.

Forget the celebration police, we’re dealing with the celebration porridge inspectors right here (the CPI). The first porridge was too hot. The second porridge was too cold. Goldilocks/Arsenal, must find the porridge that is neither too hot, nor too cold. The one that is ‘just right’, and then we can eat it all up and nobody can complain. Except they will then complain that we didn’t celebrate sufficiently, or failed to show respect by celebrating too much. This is a fight you just can’t win. The goalposts continually shift. The tunnel that you are required to ‘just get down’, has a hidden entrance.

So, I say go all in with the celebrations now. Win a throw in: Ben White stops to get a tattoo (it’d be done quicker than some of the throws he actually takes, in fairness). Martin Odegaard wins the toss: a troop of dancers emerge from the tunnel for a cabaret routine. Leandro Trossard scores a goal: each player whips out an actual set of binoculars fitted with special technology, like in Minority Report, that can identify people who will commit crimes in the future, and scanning the crowd they target 11 potential criminals who are immediately hauled away by the CPI who have now been repurposed to the special future crimes unit because celebrating is seen as ok.

In seriousness though, I can understand why Declan Rice didn’t actively celebrate his goal, even if a big part of him must have been dying to do so. He obviously has a lot of affection for West Ham, and having lost twice against them this season, icing the cake of an emphatic Arsenal win was the perfect moment to just draw a line under it all. The fans who had remained in the London Stadium the other day had stopped their pantomime booing of him at that point (choosing instead to castigate their own team for being rubbish), and although some might say overtly refusing to celebrate is kinda sticking the knife in in and of itself, I think he just wanted to put all the nonsense to bed once and for all.

Next time he scores against West Ham though, I want the full works. Him dressing up as Goldilocks while the three Gabriels act out the role of the bears and there’s porridge everywhere and … I think I’m going a bit too far with this one.

I think it’s ok for people to enjoy things that happen. Call me a crazy old liberal if you like, but it’s true. It’s why when things were good last season, I was so keen to soak it all up and just have fun, because for the most part, football isn’t something to be enjoyed as much as endured. That might sound counter-intuitive when it comes to a pursuit we invest so much time and emotion in, but it’s true.

For example, the win over Brentford this season was 89 minutes of endurance, then a couple of minutes of celebration when Kai Havertz scored the winner. Afterwards, of course, you take that on and it permeates the rest of your week in a positive way, but the game itself isn’t necessarily enjoyable – at least by any definition over which there might be some consensus.

Even a win like the one over West Ham had 30+ minutes of ‘Ooh, we’re quite good but will this end up like the last game we played against them?’. Then the floodgates open and you can enjoy things then, but those kinds of victories are fairly rare. There’s been so much comment and discussion about how this season is missing something in comparison to the last one, but I think there’s an element of chasing the dragon with that. It was never going to be as enjoyable.

38 games isn’t a sprint, it’s a test of stamina and … endurance. Time will tell, but I think we’re set-up better to go the distance this time around, rather than being the pace-setters last time out. And if we do, the endurance will equal maximum enjoyment. Until the transfer window opens and people lose their minds again, but that’s the circle of football. So it goes.

Bye for now.


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