Ok, ok. It’s time to move on. The weekend is something we will come back to no doubt, but for now, we have a match in the Champions League to look ‘forward’ to and for the sake of all our sanity’s I think that’s what we should do. I bet by the end of this blog I’ve come back to it. I’m totally Jekyll and Hyde over this whole thing at the minute.
I know it will be hard, I know that most of us will only be pretending to move on, but what else is there for us to do? We can argue over what went wrong, if it was the players fault, the managers fault, or the fault of the new moon rising in scorpio.
The fact is, we probably won’t ever truly know. Never before have fans had less impact on their clubs than they do now at a time when we have access to more information and fellow fans.
We can raise our objections, put forward our theories, but the fact is, if Arsene says he doesn’t even read the mainstream papers, what do you think the chances are he would come voluntarily to the raft of Arsenal blogs online. Even if he did, it wouldn’t make a jot of difference.
I don’t for one minute doubt that Arsene, out of everyone involved in the weekend’s debacle, is feeling the hurt as much as us, but Gingers For Limpar says in his blog:
“They need to take note from Sunderland, who after their 5-1 defeat to Newcastle had their chairman, manager and main striker publicly apologise for the defeat on the club website. So far, the response has been the total opposite of what is needed – I’m genuinely speechless the club thought it appropriate to publish this piece, on our winning mentality, or this piece on how it is a “a strange coincidence of facts” that we sometimes switch off at the back. It’s simply not good enough from the club, and they risk a backlash against the team that frankly helps no-one. Arsenal need to bite the bullet here and apologise for Saturday – they owe us that.”
Even I’m not going to argue against that. I can see that we have a fragile mental state, I’ve been saying that for what seems like an eternity now. I could see that legs had gone. None of that excuses what happened, but there are always ‘reasons’ – what they are may not be to your liking, but it isn’t all doom and gloom even though it can feel like it at the minute.
So. Braga. What are we going to get? Will we see a backlash of epic proportions, or a shadow-side as we rest the ‘big guns’ ahead of the match v Villa at the weekend?
It’s a tough call. Win tomorrow and we are qualified with a game to spare, one where we can play the second string with no fear of it costing us. Then again, if the team were knackered on Saturday, what would they be like on Tuesday? And then again on Saturday?
Like I said, it’s a tough call.
Personally, I’d rest Cesc and play Jack in his place. Nasri has earned a break and TR7 should come in for him. RVP, Arshavin and Clichy have not travelled, so that hints at Gibbs, Bendtner, and Theo starting.
Clichy has a ‘small’ back problem, Arshavin is being rested, and Van Persie is being left at home to work on his fitness as he is not ready to be involved at the top level. Wenger’s logic is that he would be on the bench at Braga, may not get on, and would have wasted three days when he could have been at home working on his fitness.
The thing about making all these changes match after match is that you get no chance of team cohesion. Wenger himself has said that he doesn’t like to make more than two-three changes from game to game, but in the last few weeks we have seen many, not all forced through injury and the result has been peaks and troughs of form.
In reality, the changes don’t affect the team as much as their mentality does. We NEED to learn how to concentrate for ninety minutes, it shouldn’t be that hard, and it’s not like they have to do it all in one go. We NEED to stop saying we’ve learnt lessons and actually learn them. We NEED to stop hearing statements from Arsenal such as ‘sometimes we switch off at the back’ – at £50,00 – £100,000 per week that simply isn’t good enough. Hearing Wenger say “It’s not the first time that has happened and it is one of our weaknesses” makes me want to scream. It has visibly been one of our weaknesses for a few season now, WHY IS IT STILL A WEAKNESS? If it isn’t the players then the coaching staff must be looked at. What do we do that means our players are not capable of concentrating on what is 50% of a football game – not conceding?
I guess I’m still on a rollercoaster. One minute I think to myself ‘it could have been worse, Chelsea could have won and we are still in with a shout’ and then in next minute I’m so frustrated at what I saw at the weekend. I’m like that when I don’t understand something, and, like most of you, as upbeat as I try to be, I don’t understand what went wrong at the weekend.
Whatever side takes to the field tomorrow night, one thing is for certain – any sign of a capitulation or less than 100% from every player in an Arsenal shirt and the backlash will be beyond anything I have witnessed in my 25 years of following Arsenal.
That’s not something any of us want.
Interesting from Twitter:
RT @Orbinho: 47% of the goals Arsenal have conceded this season have come from set pieces – the highest proportion in the Premier League.
RT @DarrenArsenal1: On a positive note, im hearing that Wellington Silva is looking very very good in training
RT @Orbinho: Tottenham have four points fewer than at the same stage last season. Contenders my arse.
RT @hahostolze: I have it on solid authority that Kakuta will NOT sign on at Chelsea and Wenger will take him on, letting Sunu and maybe even Watt leave…
RT @Orbinho: The Gunners have hit the target with 75% of their shots & scored with 31% in the Champions League, both competition highs for this season.
RT @ladyarse: @Orbinho that’s some difference – 75% on target in CL but only 36% in PL (based on the stats I have anyway)
RT @Goodplaya: The answer, I think, is to give every Emirates fan a whistle and as soon as we see them switching off, we all blow our whistle as one.
RT @Orbinho: This is the worst tally of points for a league leader after 14 games since 1992-93, yet Spurs are still 6th and 6 points adrift.
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