[picapp align=”center” wrap=”false” link=”term=arsenal&iid=8559816″ src=”d/b/c/3/Football__Wigan_451e.jpg?adImageId=12602198&imageId=8559816″ width=”234″ height=”356″ /]
It was the kind of ending that nobody likes. The kind that hurts like a knife cutting your skin in half. For 80 minutes of the game on Sunday against Wigan, the dream continued. No one thought of the real truth with regards to the state of the current Arsenal Football Club. To be honest, I was one of them. It was only 10 or 15 minutes later did most realise that actually we’ve hidden behind a veil and that in reality, we were once again slightly short to win to win the league honours this season (no pun intended).
I’m not trying to be pessimistic. I’m not the person that likes to think that in anyway my club is not the best in the world. For a while, things were going right. We were very much in the hunt for both the league title as well as the Champions League trophy. But in truth, we were barely hanging on to the hope.
Losses on 4 separate occasions to United and Chelsea clearly showed that we were not ready to claim back the title we last won unbeaten. Four of the other defeats we’ve suffered were also against oppositions currently occupying the 4th and 5th positions in the league. Only Sunderland and Wigan bucked the top teams trend. In seasons previous, it was the other way round. We managed wins or draws against top sides only to lose or draw against lower oppositions. If the league is decided by taking away results against the top 5 or 6 sides, Arsenal would have already lifted the trophy. But who am I kidding, that is not how Premier League or football is.
I’m still in the belief that results against the top sides matter for little if we do not pick up results against the lesser sides. That we have done with great effect right from the off but in the end, 2 such games decided our fate. The one earlier this season at Upton Park, against a very poor and out of form West Ham side, we ended up drawing the game after taking a commanding 2-0 lead. A lead that was turned around in just 5 odd minutes from the 75th to the 80th minute. The second was of course our 10 minutes capitulation at DW Stadium.
The reason I chose to highlight just these 2 matches is the fact that we held a 2-0 lead in an away games against sides languishing in the bottom quarter of the league table for long period of time and still ended up dropping points late in those games. Had we got maximum points from these 2 games, we would have been in the same position as United and pressuring Chelsea all the way.
A lot of people talked about the need for more experienced players especially in central defence. Many fans still points back to January and wonder why Wenger only brought back Sol Campbell. I understand the frustration of fans as I myself was not too pleased that we brought in someone who is 35 years old and clearly can’t play 2 high intensity games a week. But then, I also understand why Wenger made that move.
It is clear that Vermaelen and Gallas are the first choice centrebacks. As a manager, Wenger cannot plan for both of them to be injured and bring in 2 extra players to cover for them. Financially that would be a very stupid thing to do. Management wise, it would leave a big problem of team unity should both be fit for the entire campaign and the extra players are just sitting on the bench. Not forgetting the fact that we already have Silvestre on the books as well as Djourou recovering from his own injury spell. Where would Wenger fit all these players in next season. Campbell has been brought in as a back-up. To play the occasional games when either Vermaelen or Gallas warrants some resting. Gallas played 26 league games and that is in no respect a low number. In football management, it does not make sense to always plan for the worst case scenario.
The same can also be said of the strikeforce. Although Van Persie is already known to be missing large parts of the season, we still had plenty of options within the squad to make do with his absence. Less quality for sure but definitely still should be able to do us a job. Bendtner was also out for longer periods than expected. There’s Eduardo, who is as prolific a striker as you find prior to his leg break, but the Brazilian has failed to deliver when required. The problem with him is more psychophysical than physical. Do not forget we also have the Mexican wonderboy, Carlos Vela and Theo Walcott who could also play centrally.
Those names are justifiable reasons for Wenger not to invest in a new striker, in spite of selling Adebayor and also Van Persie’s injuries. He was the one who brought these players to English shores and shown confidence in them. Eduardo, Vela and Walcott have been afforded praises in the past for their performances. Who could envision that neither of them would not be able to the job required. Bendtner has done well since his return but too much is expected of him. He can’t win every game on his own all the time.
So, I still stand by Wenger’s judgement not to sign any further players during the January transfer window. If those who have performed for him in the past but failed to sparkle these last few month even after being in the club for a period of time, there is no guarantee that any new recruit would fit in seamlessly and guide us to glory.
Desire is a discussion for another day. Based on transfer calls, I don’t fault Wenger but this summer will be one of anticipation. Every Wenger move will be judged. Final season in his contract, how well Arsenal fare next season will probably decided his future. At the moment, Arsenal need Wenger more than he needs the club.
Till tomorrow. Thanks for reading.