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Wide open

We have to be focused on our game and be focused on what we do best. We need to play football the way we did against [insert a team Arsenal did well against], that is the sort of situation we have to get back into. We have to show that again. Unfortunately it wasn’t the case against [insert a team Arsenal did poorly against] but we have to be sure it is there on Saturday. It was a disappointing result, we know that, and now we have to dig in and just go forward because Saturday is around the corner and we have to make sure we are ready for that.

That quote is taken from Johan Djourou here. But just as easily could be taken from any other time during the course of this season as well as the recent seasons. Djourou has become somewhat of the player to be used after disappointing results to churn out the we will fight and come back stronger lines. I can understand not many players would want to say anything let alone repeat the same lines after such a performance. Someone had to do it to raise the spirit and more often than not, it’s Djourou.

I’ve really got no problem with that. Perhaps it’s a company line, perhaps it’s a PR move. You can’t fault these things but you can fault the reason why these quotes had to come out. It’s not the first time this season and as I said earlier, it’s not the first season that we had to do this. Teams have off days and lose. That’s just the way football is. No one can be unbeatable all the time.

Yet, I find it increasingly hard to understand the woeful performances when all odds are against that happening. We all know what is required out of the team when they line up on the pitch for a match. We all have seen how we don’t get the result that we want simply by turning up. Mistakes happen, another way of football or life but it worries me that we don’t learn from those mistakes. The pace and nature of the game these days does not allow for any switching off. You do that and you’ll find yourself being a goal or two down. Arsene Wenger said as much in these comments.

It’s the duty of the manager, the coaches and the leaders in the squad to ensure that concentration is optimum at every single second of the game. Players need to be aware of what’s happening around them. We can’t just lay the blame on Mikel Arteta being injured and hobbling on the pitch for us conceding those 2 goals. Someone has to take responsibility and be in charge. Drop one or two men back to cover for Arteta. Assume the responsibility until we managed to make the change. We’ve seen in other matches how when a player goes to pressure high up the pitch, someone drops back to cover for him. Why we didn’t do that against Wigan is beyond me. Again, points back to the concentration and awareness parts.

The bad news doesn’t end there as Wenger also announced that Jack Wilshere will play no part in this season after all. The progress for young Wilshere is slow and as I’ve said before, without any proper football for us, I find it hard to believe that he’ll be playing in any major tournament comes the summer. It’s a big setback for him. From playing almost every game and being lauded for his performances for both club and country to not playing at all, it takes a toll on the mental side of things. But Wilshere is a strong and determine person on the pitch, hopefully that is mirrored off it as well and he comes back stronger after this.

Finally, there’s the Cesc Fabregas quote from the Champions League press conference last night. Two ways to look at it, depending on where you stand regarding this particular former player. From one side, it’s a simple comment. One which states that he’s playing in a new team with a different system to us. Which explains why he has picked up more tactical nous and playing with a little less freedom than before. On the other side, it is an admittance of the way he played for us which wasn’t very good. In the sense that I think it hurts Wenger more than it should to us.

In any case, when a player joins another club, it is very rare that they will say the old club is better than the new club. That is just asking for trouble from the coaches, team mates and fans of the new club. It is also toeing with the company line. It is nothing new and we should understand that instead of letting it frustrate us. Perhaps he could’ve use different words to put out the same meaning. English isn’t his first language if we can remember that.

As for the Champions League tie tonight, I really don’t care what happens. But if I’m a betting man (which I don’t deny I am), Blues would not be my pick. Enjoy it, if you can.