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Norwich City fan on Arsenal FC: A soft spot for the Gunners

As a Norwich City fan, it's not often that my club and the Reds of London clash either on or off the field. Like most football fans, I'd like to think my club are of the highest quality, but with even a slither of realism it's really not hard for me to recognise that Arsenal are in a different league in more than just the literal sense. As a follower of a Championship club, I've kept a keen eye on developments in the Premier League with the obvious hope that City will be back in there sooner rather than later. However, aside from my arguably delusional dreams from the Canaries, throughout my years of following England's top tier I've developed a soft spot for the gunners. There are many things that I appreciate and admire about the London side, and having spoken to many others It seems that I am not alone in this – that unless you're a Spurs fan or any other rival of the club, then not many have a bad word to say about Arsenal. So, why is this? And why can't the same be said for the likes of the Manchester clubs or Chelsea?SpendingArsenal's financial practices are generally considered unusual for a Premier League club, let alone a Champions League side. Whilst many clubs splash out speculatively with an idea of prospective financing, Arsenal take the approach of self-financing: Only spending what the club makes. Whilst this might frustrate many fans who often slate Kroenke for being tight fisted, something which has become increasingly apparent this season, ultimately this has resulted in a philosophy at Arsenal that would be desirable to all fans who truly understand transfer policy - development of talent within and striking well researched deals. This has seen the Gunners produce some of the finest players of the Premier League era. The likes of Patrick Viera, Dennis Bergkamp, Freddy Ljunberg and Thierry Henry have all gone down as greats of the past 10 years, with each of these players having spent significant amounts of their careers at Arsenal, making their names at the club. Even now, many of Arsenal's first team players have followed in this same pattern, with Laurent Koscielny, Theo Walcott and Aaron Ramsey having remained as key individuals at the club for several years.Comparing this to the likes of Manchester City, Manchester United and even other clubs further down the league like Crystal Palace, the same cannot be said with their spending patterns. The point I am making is that it is refreshing that Arsenal continue to succeed without buying the league per se. WengerFor over 20 years Arsene Wenger has been the figurehead at the top the gunner's regime, coming to be known as one of the all-time great Premier League managers. We're all aware of the criticism that the Frenchman has come under not just this season but in recent years, but whether you're Wenger-in or Wenger-out, his loyalty, honesty, success and general character are admirable in the eyes of footballing fans throughout the world.Upon joining the club, Arsene encapsulated everything his players and sides have since done: a relatively unproven but recognisable talent. The risk of bringing him in quickly paid off with early success in '98 and '02. From this platform, Arsene went on to create arguably the most successful English top flight side of all time in the 'invincibles' of the 03/04 season, something no other side or manager has achieved in the Premier League era. Further, from 2004 onwards Arsenal began financing the development of thee Emirates Stadium, something which restricted Wenger's transfer policy, and often resulted in Arsenal selling their best players to Europe's other top dogs. The sales of Van Persie, Thierry Henry, Patrick Viera and Cesc Fabregas all encapsulate these, as the club did not put up much of a fight when they realised they could cash in on some of their fan favourites, needing the money to pay off the Emirates debt.In total, throughout the Arsene Wenger Era, not only has he stayed loyal to the club and remained as humble as ever, but he recorded £311 million in transfer profit whilst maintaining Arsenal as an English and European powerhouse. Although many Arsenal fans might be tired of Arsene, in my opinion, as a neutral, he deserves more respect having worked wonders throughout the past decade.OutsidersIn accordance with the cost of Emirates, Arsenal have generally since 2004 been considered outsiders for the League. Without the spending power of other clubs, and without the numerous big name signings and significant transfer sums year upon year, in my opinion, Arsenal are often never expected to win the League.However, because of their continual success, and proven manager, Arsene and co. are often seen as outsiders to win the league. Consistently occupying a place behind the league leader(s), often when it comes to match day it is natural for myself and others to be supporting Arsenal at the expense of the Manchester Clubs or Chelsea in recent years, with the trio having an oligopoly over the league since Arsenal's invincibles season, discounting the shock of Leicester City's victory in the 2015/16 calendar. Play StyleFinally, credit must be given where it's due, and Arsenal play the type of football that fans of the game all over love to see. I must admit, I love the counter attacking game utilised effectively, especially when it's the underdog team, however, with this happening so infrequently in the modern game, in my eyes Arsenal offer the next best thing: quick and fluid passing movements to break down defences in a possession style approach.One goal that will sadly stand out for me as a Norwich fan is Jack Wilshere's Premier League goal of the season back in 2013. As the tiki-taka move was executed perfectly I remember sitting there thinking you just have to hold your hands up to that type of goal, as Martin Tyler's commentary rang true; 'that's astonishing, it's absolutely world class.' It's not often a side can make you agree with such praise when they're scoring against you, but Arsenal have produced countless top quality goals against good Premier League opposition, something that is just a joy to watch as a neutral, and in this instance against my own team.