Manchester United players will walk out as champions at the Emirates and the Arsenal players are expected to pay us the respect of a guard of honour. It should be noted that this isn’t a mandatory requirement and not all clubs welcome the newly crowned champions on to the pitch in such a way. I think it says something about Arsene Wenger to sanction it, given how fierce the rivalry used to be between the two clubs and managers, and we should have a fair amount of respect for him being big enough to pay us our dues.
It won’t be a nice afternoon for Arsenal fans. Robin van Persie left them eight months ago and they claimed he was a mercenary. The Premier League top scorer insisted it was the thought of trophies, something Arsenal haven’t achieved since 2005, that drew him to United, not the money. It’s got to be a kick in the teeth for them that the first time he returns to the Emirates since signing for United it’s as a champion. Had City not won the league with the last kick of the ball last season and United were the first team they played after winning the title, imagine having to watch our players give a guard of honour to Carlos Tevez? Painful, but still not as painful as Sunday will be for Arsenal. We’re always there or there abouts whilst Van Persie leaving, along with the likes of Fabregas, Nasri, Song and Clichy, was almost like the final nail in their coffin. Any slight hope they may have had about competing for the title any time soon died when he joined us.
So, whilst I almost sympathise with Arsenal fans, there’s nothing I can say about the latest Twitter trend amongst the Gooners to call for their fans to do an Arsenal Poznan when our players enter the pitch.
To give a bit of context, the Poznan is a celebration that even Manchester City fans turned their noses up at when they first saw it. “What the fuckin ‘ell is that?” they chanted when Lech Poznań fans celebrated a goal their team had scored against City by turning their backs to the pitch and jumping up and down. It’s a cringeworthy celebration that plenty of opposition fans use to mock the blues when their team scores, including United. Arsenal fans have done it before too, as a piss take, which would make you think they had an understanding of just how gimpy it is.
Arsenal fans on Twitter (I’m hoping these fans aren’t representative of their fanbase as a whole) have planned to do the #ArsenalPoznan, whereby they’ll copy City’s celebration and sing their chant about winning the league at Old Trafford in 2002. That song is bad enough as it, particularly when you consider United have won six league titles, the European Cup, the FA Cup and three League Cups since they won the league in Manchester, but on Sunday it will be more meaningless than ever. They’re becoming like Liverpool fans, celebrating success from over a decade ago, whilst United fans have seen their team win the league earlier this week.
We will see on Sunday just how willing their fanbase is to embarrass themselves. It’s nothing to do with “class”, a buzz word for Arsenal fans, but rather the sheer humiliation of imitating Manchester City fans whilst our fans are celebrating another league title. The words “small club mentality” get banded about a lot between rival fans when involving themselves in “banter”, but Christ, this is taking it to a whole new level.
Still, if Van Persie needed another reason to be happy about leaving them for us, watching an ARSENAL POZNAN will certainly do the trick.