By David Swaden

The last few weeks have been rather hectic in my non-Arsenal life, and have required me being on the road quite a lot. So here’s some thoughts on Arsenal past and present.

On the current crop, the result at West Ham was excellent. It was great to see Giroud score and, looking at his overall play, comparisons with Chamakh are richly undeserved and wide of the mark. I’m excited about the future for our new Frenchman.

However, if you take that week as a whole, it was very mixed. The Chelsea outcome speaks for itself. It was a very subdued game and the lack of intensity was highly irritating given the stakes. We just weren’t good enough. That continued into Wednesday’s Champions League and it took Olympiakos’ equaliser to finally get the message accross.

On the bright side, Podolski and Gervinho continued strong starts and Aaron Ramsey capped an encouraging return to form with a sumptuous finish. So inconsistent is probably the best description. If we are to have any impact on the title race, that needs to change sharpish. However, there’s just something about this team which suggests domestic cup success this season to me, we shall see.

Mainly today, I wanted to discuss an ex-Arsenal player, and a rather opinionated one at that. Step forward Ashley Cole.

There can be no doubting the most important fact about the left-back: He is a truly world-class player who, throughout his career, has delivered time and time again for both club(s) and country. However, just as regularly, Cole has also proven himself a rather awful role model.

What possible measurement could I give to show that Cole is a poor role model? How about this: When dearest Ash made his now infamous tweet, I posted a tweet on his poor show of professionalism. Within a minute, a 17 yr old Chelsea fan, who didnt know me from Adam, had got in contact to call me a c*nt. There we go, exhibit A.

The problem with Ashley is that for all his footballing ability he is, well, a bit thick. Footballers’ egos, and some more than others, are such that they seem to feel entitled to speak out on anything at any time. Unfortunately, when you mix strong opinions with a glaring lack of intelligence, the results can be very regrettable.

How many of us would expect to get away with calling our bosses “tw*ts” on social media with nothing more than a slap on the wrist? Surely the amount of money these people are paid must require some accountability and professionalism?

The FA desperately need to clamp down on England representatives’ behaviour and a new code of conduct is welcome. There is a dangerous and growing lack of standards in the game and a line must be drawn in the sand or I fear there will be consequences in the long-term.

Traditionally in Holland, badly behaved boys did not get rewards for Christmas, they got lumps of coal. Perhaps the home of total football has yet another lesson to give us.

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