Is ‘Wenger Ball’ to blame for lack of Atmosphere?

Arsenal’s style of play is amazing at times. It’s a joy to watch. However within that last short sentence underlies a problem for me.

I’ve had this thought for a little while now which I’ve shared to a close few, explaining the reasons and all tend to see a point. The point is that I believe that our style of play is a contributing factor to the lack of atmosphere at the Arsenal.

Many will cite the lack of terraces and that all-seater stadiums are the main catalysts for lack of noise. I tend to agree and would live to see ‘safe standing’ introduced.

It’s far harder to sing with your arse stuck to a seat. Which is why you rarely see a pop star seated and even if they are then they’re on an high stall able to project their voice.

Yet I’m in Block 5 in front of RedAction standing. As much as they do a fantastic job trying to create an atmosphere they can’t do it on their own but there still periods were no signing happens and here’s why.

If you think of how and why chants start; its usually after an event of significance. A big game at KO in itself  brings noise…for a while. A goal obviously brings noise with chants of the score, scorer and overall pride. As does a big passage of play. Other reasons is an individual piece of recognition. A shot on goal, a save, a pass, a tackle or a piece of skill.

The problem is we’re being starved of moments to sing. We’ve been a team that holds the ball for long periods and usually in a position of the attacking third. Even a break away gets people on their feet expectantly but soon we’re back to ‘ticka-tacka’ and the quick break has gone. Yet we’re still expectant of something, we’re attacking.

It’s that waiting for that ‘something’ that is our problem. We’re on the attack yet as fans we’ve learnt to be patient in our build-up on the pitch. However because we’re being patience whilst we wait for that killer through ball, chip or pass, we simply don’t sing.

Think about it.

Theo bursting down the wing beating the full back. The east and west stands are getting to their feet. We’re all encouraging Walcott on. He crosses it inside / passes it to Giroud who shoots……. It’s wide or saved. Yet we’ll sing Theo or Giroud’s  name. Maybe a couple of generic songs.

More likely situation.

Theo bursting down the wing beating the full back. The east and west stands are getting to their feet. We’re all encouraging Walcott on. He cuts back inside. Passes it to Ramsey, he shifts the ball squaring it Ozil. Ozil switches feet and brings Cazorla in. Santi then passes……..

You get the point. We’re waiting! Maybe by now people have even regained their seats and sat down once again. Being direct get us singing.

If you look back at when Wenger took over (’96) and brought in his style of play it’s not long after the time that Highbury became an all-seater stadium (’93). By many away fans Highbury became known as the “Highbury Library” or just “The Library”.

This isn’t aimed at knocking Wenger or his style of play but if you look at United under Ferguson his team were very direct. Yes they passed the ball but they also took many shots. As I mentioned earlier a shot/chance would usually be met with a chant.

Whereas at times with us a lack of a shot has even had a negative effect with people almost pulling their hair out demanding a shot.

I don’t know what the answer is but we need to change our mentality and stop being entertained.

Our play is not the only reason but I think it certainly is a factor.

Next time you’re over at The Arsenal think about it. ‘Why am I (or others) not singing?’ You’ll often find it’s because you’re waiting for the players to do something.



3 thoughts on “Is ‘Wenger Ball’ to blame for lack of Atmosphere?

  1. CamdenGooner

    Yeh good article. I do agree with you to an extent.
    I’ve been to matches at both the Nou Camp and Bernebaeu and Madrid have a slightly better atmosphere and I think that is partly because of their more direct style.

    BUT I would say don’t forget how direct the early Wenger teams were. That team didn’t pass the ball around infinitely in the midfield. In those days the midfields we played against was always just a central two and we just used to cut through teams like a hot knife through butter. That ’98 team was as direct as they came. And while they were less direct, both the ’02 and ’04 were pretty direct as well and the atmosphere was already pony by about 03.

  2. jack

    We need to change the mentality of being reactive to what’s going on on the pitch and instead make noise and get behind the team for 90 minutes whatever the score. Longer lasting and repetitive chants with a drummer that teams such as palace and swansea have would help retain non stop noise.


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