Many things can be said about watching Arsenal.
Whether it’s before, during or after a match, waiting for transfers to arrive or fit players to return, being an Arsenal fan means that, at the very least, you are kept in close touch with your emotions.
Here are 15 we experience on a regular basis, in no particular order.
Why is he there? Where’s our full-back? Why is he playing as a number 10? Where’s Szczesny going? What’s going on? Why are they doing these things? Why do they keep doing these things? Why did we sign Park? So many questions yet so few answers.
If I can see it, then why can’t they? Frustration has been the all-too-familiar companion of confused Arsenal fans over the past ten years as we all discuss, with startling clarity, the additions and changes that need to be made to the team while being fully aware than no matter how obvious they are we are likely to have to wait years for them to be addressed.
8-2, 6-0, 5-1, 6-3. Bradford and Gervinho. Blackburn Rovers and the FA Cup. The Capital One Cup. Broken legs. Broken souls. Manchester United, even when they’re crap. ARRGHHHHH!
Not quite the same as frustration, exasperation is that thing you feel when the side concede again from the first shot they’ve faced. It’s a step up from frustration built on witnessing repeated acts of stupidity.
It never matters how confident you are feeling ahead of an Arsenal match, experience has taught us all that disaster lurks around every corner and it only takes one slip for the whole shebang to come crashing down around our ears with truly disastrous consequences.
You know they could get a spanking but, somewhere in the prehistoric region of your brain, lurks a tiny bit of crazy that anticipates things going better than expected. A sort of nervous excitement, anticipation is best experienced before massive games when the stakes are at their highest.
The rarely felt emotion, surprise, made an unexpected appearance recently at the Etihad and judging by how it left us all feeling, it really should turn up more often.
This is the feeling you have as Arsenal ship goal after goal to a Jose Mourinho or Brendan Rodgers side. Or when you watch anything involving those two, in fairness.
This is what you feel after experiencing 90 minutes of the above.
This is the feeling you get when Mike Dean has just awarded Wayne Rooney another penalty for diving.
Whether it’s watching players we once loved lift aloft trophies with clubs we hate or watching the same clubs outbid us for every player we go for, envy is also the overriding emotion Liverpool fans feel when they think of Alexis Sanchez and what resides at the very core of every Tottenham fan.
They drive you madder than a box of frogs but you never leave. That’s true love, that is, truer than many of us ever felt even as we delivered our wedding vows. The love for Arsenal, for many, puts them even above family.
Is there a better feeling than walking into work on a Monday morning after Arsenal have just stuffed Tottenham? Or anyone, really? We live vicariously through their achievements and allow them to lift us up as if they were our own accomplishments. Head back, chest out, when Arsenal win (and, preferably, all other rivals lose), it’s time to get out your strut.
The positive emotions are in short supply in this list but when they come, by god do they make up for everything else.
The elation when we finally ended the trophy drought back in May or the feeling that filled us all as we came from two goals down to beat Tottenham 5-2 (twice) is rarely bettered. Beating City at the Etihad? Going a season unbeaten? Winning the double? Scoring amazing goals, grabbing unlikely comebacks, signing a marquee player, it is far from a short list when it comes to the things that bring us joy as an Arsenal fan, so much so that it balances out all the negativity above.
Give me more of that.
More, Arsenal, more!
Arsenal-related joy is my crack.
A mixture of all of the above
Let’s face it, if you’ve watched more than one Arsenal game in your life you are only too aware that, in the space of 90 minutes, they can trail you through more emotions than the majority of marriages manage over 25 years and it’s not uncommon to experience all 14 above in the space of one afternoon.
Watching Arsenal may be many things, but it is never, ever, dull.