With all that is going on, you might forget that we have a game tonight. Arsenal travels to Bloomfield Road to face Blackpool looking to at least maintain the gap to Manchester United. It was 7 points on Friday but United’s win against Fulham increased the gap to 10 points. Let me concentrate on the matter at hand first before I give my take on Arsene Wenger’s comments.
Blackpool are currently in 17th place just 2 points better than bottom place Wigan. In fact they are only 5 points from 11th place Fulham. That shows you just how tight the bottom half of the table is looking. Everyone from 9th position onwards will be looking precariously over their shoulders for the rest of the season.
No matter what happens at the end of the season, Ian Holloway can be very proud of his team. They have stood up to the challenge at the highest level of English league football playing a brand of football that even Wenger would approve of. Charlie Adams is of course the talisman and the return of DJ Campbell up front will give former a chance to find the right pass to find a speedy striker.
Good thing bout Holloway is that, they won’t put 10 men behind the ball. That is not the way they played throughout the season and there’s no reason to anticipate any changes tonight. That will suit us and we know how difficult it is to play against a side whose only intention in the game is to stop us from scoring.
On to Arsenal, we should have our midfield inspiration back in the starting line-up. Cesc Fabregas has been given the all clear to return to the first choice side as he looks to lead us to our first win in 5 games (league and cup). It will not be an easy task especially when we don’t have Alex Song available. Statistically, we tend not to do too well without the Cameroonian. Theo Walcott is another absentee as might be Bacary Sagna.
With that in mind, this is how I think we are going to start;
Abou Diaby would the manager’s choice to replace Song and while he’s taking over the nominated defensive midfielder role, I suspect he’ll get lots of help from Jack Wilshere. Up front, other than missing Walcott’s electric pace, we have a very good trio of attackers. Samir Nasri will have to live up to his nominations as one of the best player in the league this season by finding back the form that made him such a huge favourite prior to February.
I hope we win tonight. Even if the title is out of our hands, I still want us to finish as strongly as possible and as close as possible to United. If we end up winning it, good. Otherwise, we would at least put up the fight until the 38th game. Now, moving on. I would like to discuss the furore that surrounded Wenger’s comments on Friday’s press conference.
I would suggest this right from the start. Read nothing of what journalists writes and listen directly to what Wenger says. If you see the footage of the interview and judged that he really don’t mind finishing 2nd, then I’ve got nothing here for you. But if you believe he was quoted out of context, then read on.
What Wenger is trying to send out is the message that he wants his team to do the best that they can with the potential/talent that they have. He was neither implying that they already did their best or that the talent is not there. All the manager is saying is that if his players do that week in week out, he’ll be happy and will consider it a success. If even if they did the best they can and still stumble to a better team, he can still accept it. Case in point, Barcelona. Although you can argue that Birmingham are not up there with the Spanish champion but neither can you say that we were at our best at Wembley.
So, all I’m saying is that as fans, we should not let our emotions get the better of us. I understand and shares your frustration of our lack of trophies throughout this lean period and the losses of this season. But try looking from the other side of the glass. Do you think for one second that someone who’s won so much in his career is satisfied by finishing just second in the league? Give Mr Wenger the credit he deserves.
Let’s go for the win tonight and put all this behind us. We are all on the same side.