Never a truer line shared Mr Wenger. One thing I’ve always believed with football fans and players is that support is a two way thing. Fans pay big money to watch good football. Well, in an ideal world. However, if you’re not getting good football, fans also respond well to players who show passion and fight out on the pitch. I’d say for the last two seasons, we’ve really lacked that fighting spirit. Last year, it was pretty apparent Captain Cesc wasn’t interested in the team. It was also clear that Samir Nasri had turned to the darkside over Christmas… and the fans had to watch the team limp pitifully defeat to defeat.
This season we’ve watched a pretty average team take some batterings, we’ve seen resurgent form, then we’ve seen shambolic football return briefly. Now we’ve found a groove. We have our strongest back four back lining up every game. Previous flops have come good and the team has started to learn how to play with each other. It’s clicking at the right time and the focus is clear as day.
We’re a dangerous team again.
Robin Van Persie is a massive cog in the danger machine but now we have a Theo Walcott who seems to have found some sort of rhythm to his game. He’s not world class, but he’s a scary winger to play against. Even if his cross success rate is at the lower end of the scale, the fact he’s fast enough to give himself double the chances of most wingers to cross still makes him a threat.
Heading into the last few games, I’d really like to see either Chamberlain or Gervinho kick their games up a gear. The Englishman exploded onto the scene with a few superb performances… however, like all kids, he appears to have lost his way a bit. He needs to relax on the field and stop trying to force his game. Gervinho hasn’t exactly set the world on fire this season, which is a little disappointing considering the outlay. I think he’s a good player though. He has the trickery, he just lacks a bit of composure with his first touch. He also needs to give his final ball and finishing some serious TLC this summer.
Having a squad is the really key benefit for us at the moment. We actually have some genuinely threatening players to pull from the bench. It’s a shame none of them are strikers, but having Chamberlain, Ramsey and Gervinho to call up if needs must is a big step forward compared to calling on Djourou or Park Chu-Young.
The run in will be tough, I’m sure we’ll lose a couple, but I’m confident we can still take a top four place. Thomas Vermaelen is confident we can take a top three position
“We won’t be looking at Tottenham, only ourselves. That’s the important thing for us, not what other clubs are doing.
“Yes [Arsenal are favourites to finish third], we just have to keep the focus on our own performance. At the moment we have had some good results against some difficult teams. We have shown good mentality.”
Nearly all the messages coming out of the club seem to be around self focus. I can understand why the players are saying that, but I struggle to believe the players aren’t looking at the table every week. That’s what makes competition exciting!
Just so you know, I’ll be focusing on what Spurs are doing and saying. Here’s Brad Friedel…
‘It’s definitely not doom and gloom, definitely not a pressure situation where lads are losing confidence and things like that,” he said.
I’ve seen that many times and that’s not what’s happening right now. If you look at the last four results we’ve only had really one of those that wasn’t a Tottenham performance and that was Arsenal away.
I don’t think it’s about holding your nerve, I think it’s about going out and enjoying yourself and expressing yourself because those are the types of players we have.’
Err… not a pressure situation Brad? Are you sure? Your manager certainly looks under pressure. The 10 players in front of you look under pressure and from where I’m sitting… it looks pretty doom and gloom. As for the run in not being about ‘holding your nerve’… what the hell are you talking about? Spurs have totally lost their nerve! Sure they might come back into the race this weekend, but on the face of it, Spurs have choked and it’s going to take 4 truck loads of Mental Strength to come back into the fold.
Reading are also looking at the mechanics of a high flying finish. They’ve taken our great hope of a home grown striker on loan. Benik Afobe will join them for the rest of the season. Everyone at the club seems to have a very high opinion of him. He’s had his injury problems, that’s why he’s been sent out. This is a massive chance for him. He’s playing for a team that has an embarrassing lack of striking riches at the moment… the stage is set for him to impress and nab the 3rd or 4th spot for himself next year.
Finally, I’ll leave you with a line from Wenger about Koscielny and Vermaelen…
“Defensively they are not the tallest but they have a fantastic leap and both of them have good pace. Vermaelen looks like a frustrated centre forward because he has the timing to get into the box as well.”
Fantastic leap… he’s mentioned it at least 6 times? Can it go on the list of Wenger clichés yet?
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