So, 2 days after we dropped 2 more points. Points that puts the league title out of our hands. We are now 7 points behind Manchester United with a game in hand and they still to visit the Grove. Even if we do make up those 6 points, we’ll still need United to drop points in order for us to move ahead.
To be utterly honest (and this hurts), I don’t see United winning all of their remaining 8 games. Something which Robin Van Persie also believes. However, along the same lines, neither can I see us doing that either. Confidence is fragile at the moment and we’re not the same team we were prior to the Carling Cup final.
Saturday’s result hurt Arsene Wenger the most. This is his project and there’s an indication that his project is beginning to fail. I still believe Wenger is the right person to be in charge of Arsenal. That apart, seeing his charges failing to deliver is heartbreaking. His post match comments after the Blackburn game was a breath of fresh air.
Wenger lamented the fact that we were one paced and predictable. There was no blaming of the pitch condition or any refereeing decisions or the robust way the opposition play. Quite simply put, we were just not good enough. It’s a damning statement on the health of his team. He may have protected them in the past because they are still budding players who could still make it. This season more than most, one has the feeling that this season has been Wenger’s final target all along.
Martin Keown explains in more detail here. I believe he is right. This is the season for the project to come into fruition and if that doesn’t work, changes will have to be made. Quite a few players are on the chopping board. Their future at Arsenal Football Club depends on their performance this season. The likes of Denilson, Abou Diaby, Nicklas Bendtner, Tomas Rosicky and Manuel Almunia are quite literally playing for their contract.
That is not to say those are not good players. In their own right and moments, they can be as effective as the next Arsenal player. But that is exactly the problem, the consistency of inconsistencies. Should they be shipped out next season, they’ll have no one to blame. The manager has shown them the ultimate faith and believe in their potential. Many other players in other teams will not even get the same number of chances to make it right.
But there will come a time when the faith ends. Phillipe Senderos is a prime example of this. All it took was for a couple of bad games against a world class striker in Didier Drogba and his Gunner dream was gone. Those in the current squad has had more chances to prove and redeem themselves than Senderos ever had.
They only have to look at the performance of one Jack Wilshere to know where they stand in the squad. This, although hugely talented, is still a 19 year old kid who is practically in his first full season who the first team. A small player in stature who is currently holding the Arsenal midfield engine room all on his own. A player who earned respect even in his worst game. A player who is willing to die for the Arsenal cause. I wonder how many other are like him.
That being said, mathematically we’re still in this fight. As much as I think that we won’t be able to go on a 8 match winning run, I still want to believe that we can. These players cannot give up just yet, not when it is mathematically still possible. At this point, we must not worry about how the other fares and just care about ourselves, our results and our performance. We need the team to show that they deserve to wear the red and white of Arsenal.