Are Arsenal on the verge of greatness of flattering to deceive?

By Avenell Dave

Arsenal are top of the Premier League.

That puts them at the pinnacle of the domestic game, ahead of 91 other professional teams and hundreds of semi-professional and amateur clubs.

We're in the next stage of the Champions League and can realistically expect a glamour tie when the knockout stages begin early next year.

We're through to the semi-finals of the Carling Cup and must be favourites to win the trophy despite other PL teams still being in the competition.

Despite all manner of setbacks, including injuries to key players (Verminator, Cesc and RvP), we've still reached all the targets that must have been set at the start of the campaign.

Of course, it's still early and what really matters is what we do in May.

The fact is that none of the trophies up for grabs is out of our grasp and yet the feeling seems to remain that we are going to be lucky to do anything significant this season.

The fact is, Addicts tend to be pessimists. We've seen our team snatch defeat from the jaws of victory on far too many occasions - going back to Swindon in the early 70s and worse - that we never totally have faith in our team.

There are so many fans that don't even remember the George Graham years, let alone the reigns of Stewart Houston, Don Howe, Terry Neill or Bertie Mee, all of which mixed occasional glory with long term malaise.

Graham changed the history of the club but then changed his own philosophy.

Where Arsene Wenger can be criticised for being too cavalier, Graham broke up a superb team in the search for defensive, turgid stability.

It brought us a few cups but no friends.

Today's team is littered with players many of us have no faith in; makes basic mistakes that cost us games; and endures the regular upheaval of having its top players tempted to pastures new.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: too many fans at Emirates are either ambivalent about the meaning of the word 'support' or they are just too frightened to back the team in the way it needs.

Maybe it's just the demographic of the people in Club Level but on my first foray to smart seats last week, I couldn't believe how quiet this group of perfectly pleasant fans could be.

But there are huge great areas of the ground where the rest of us sit and it makes no sense for us to remain silent.

Maybe the heart of our team IS weak. Maybe nothing us fans can do will make the slightest bit of difference.

But I want every team coming to our home to live in fear of a comprehensive defeat.

I want the noise from the crowd to give us an advantage and help this team become what it threatens to be.

Yes, last night was frustrating.

The partnership between Laurent Koscielny and Sebastien Squillaci isn't robust and RvP needs time to get onto the same wavelength as his colleagues.

Are we papering over cracks and getting away with it or is this side on the verge of doing something really special, as Arsene Wenger would have us believe?

Time, fellow Addicts, will tell.

I pull my hair out when I see how some of the players perform and the simple mistakes they make, but I remember when we all got fed up with the team in 1998, when we hadn't won the title in six and a half years.

Ian Wright opened the dressing room window and had a go at the fans after a home defeat to Blackburn.

Then everything clicked into place and history was made.

It may be foolish to think the same thing will happen again, but what's the point in supporting our great club if we don't get behind the team while the chance for glory still exists?