By Avenell Dave
It's hard not to get despondent about the failings of Arsenal.
We hear year after year that Arsene Wenger believes in this team, that we're showing character and developing and certain results are used to underline that.
But there are some facts that remain.
We are seven points behind M*nure with a game in hand and while there is still hope, the chances are that we are going to finish the season trophyless again.
We've won only once in the last seven games since the defeat to Birmingham at Wembley and that was against a Leyton Orient side who have gone into freefall since.
Yes, we have injuries to key players that are a strong factor, but therein lies the problem of a lack of quality understudies and squad players who simply don't meet the given standards.
And Arsene Wenger speaks about this being the strongest squad he has ever managed.
We are paying the most expensive season tickets in the world and price rises are imminent.
CEO Ivan Gazidis speaks of bringing in new commercial experts who will take the club to the next level even though the biggest deals - in kit, sponsors and stadium partners, are long term agreements.
And there comes a point where the patience runs thin.
Addicts I know are fuming that Jens Lehmann was on the bench yesterday and 'why didn't we sign Mark Schwarzer by finding the extra £500k necessary?'
Why did Wenger bring on strikers and then take of the wingers to supply them in a game we should have won at a canter, especially when faced by 10 men?
I can speak of my understanding that the club doesn't want to be saddled with debt or a sugar daddy.
I can speak of Wenger's wish to grow organically and build a bond rather than spend money we either don't have or he doesn't feel is value to spend by bringing in big names.
I can speak about the fact that T*tt*nh*m and Citeh have spent a lot of money on players in the last couple of years and I don't see any new trophies in their cabinets.
But then I see how distinctly average we have been for so much of the season and I wonder if Wenger realises his plan is not working.
Whatever we think of the anti-Arsenal pundits, some of what they say is right.
We don't have enough leaders.
We don't have enough players running around fighting for the ball or doing something decent with it when they have it (Jack Wilshere is a rare example of a fighter in our team and he must be bemused at the ambivalence some others show).
We have not spent money on buying decent players when big names have left, even if we do reinvest.
Is Chamakh a good enough replacement for Eduardo or Adeb*yor or Henry?
Is Denilson or even Song a good enough player to fill the Vieira or Flamini void?
Is Andrey Arshavin good enough to fill the boots of Marc Overmars, Robert Pires or even Jose Reyes?
Where is the pace in attack that used to be our trademark when we were at our peak, scoring goals before the opposition could regroup rather than looking to build with precision instead of purpose?
Where are the beasts (Adams, Keown, Vieira) who snarled at opponents and gave us a chance?
Why are so many of the current squad marmite players who some of us love, some of us hate?
It is difficult to love this team.
It is difficult to get our heads around the fact that while M*nure can turn 0-2 scorelines into victories, we can only turn them into draws and are more likely to turn a 2-0 or 4-0 advantage into a defeat or a draw as we did against T*tt*nh*m or Newcastle.
It is difficult to know how to transform this side from nearly men to really men without wholesale changes that simply won't come.
It is difficult to find hope.
But, even playing as badly as we have done for much of the season, we are still second in the table, way ahead of most of the other teams and for that we deserve some credit.
We may come back into the title race by luck, we may not.
But for those who want M. Wenger out and start abusing him as I have seen this weekend in Twitter, whether he wins us another trophy or not, please don't darken the Arsenal door anymore.
We all want to win, we all want to be better than we are. That we are not is heartbreaking and expensive.
But if you don't want to support the team through thick and thin, regardless of the shortcomings, well, you're better off supporting someone else.