via @arsenal instagram
Arsenal came away from Stamford Bridge unscathed and without doubt the happier of the two teams. A 0-0 draw shouldn’t normally be cause for celebration, but against the backdrop of Anfield away, a clean sheet and a point felt pretty exceptional.
The question I posed pregame was whether Wenger had the nerve to do something interesting, and without doubt he did. Fortunately, Mesut Ozil disappeared before the game (rather than during), dropping out due to an injury. The big miss from the players available was Alexis Sanchez who dropped to the bench after scoring a wonder goal in midweek. Wenger truly reasserting some power and also rewarding Danny Welbeck for some solid performances.
The calm before the storm. Arsenal vs Chelsea tomorrow has me fearing for our season. I think there are some interesting questions that are going to be answered.
‘Does Wenger have the nerve?’ being the main one.
Wenger has had to slip back to a flat back 4 versus Liverpool, and against Cologne. His team was torn open against Leicester. It was destroyed against Liverpool. It looks shaky against Cologne.
Does Wenger have the guts to stick out a back 3 against Chelsea? Or will he play it safe. What will the manager think? Will he channel the mindset of the cup final, or will he be realistic based on what he’s seen so far and play it safe?
We know Ozil is not a big game player, we know he’s leaving, so what’s the thinking? Do you give Ramsey the number 10 role and push Ozil outwide as we try to find a new shape? Or do you just throw him in and hope he fancies it?
What do you do about Sanchez? He’s playing for himself at the moment. He’ll be doing that all season. Do you bench him and give WELBZ another go? Or is that suicide?
Wenger has landed himself in a situation where he has to assess whether players that don’t care will show up in games they don’t show up in when they’re in long contracts. It really is a psychological test of which we’ve not had to deal with before.
How is Wenger going to fire up his squad. I kind of feel the players know they’re second rate this year and the attitude has been to just lie down and accept that. What can Wenger do to recreate the passion of the cup final? How can he have the players feeling a million bucks? My worry is if we lose a goal early, the heads will drop and they won’t come back. What is the solution there? Do you change up the starting line up and give someone like Jack a go in there and tell him to make people accountable? Do you change up some of the players positions? Do you introduce Reiss Nelson for the greatest ever debut? Do you deep block and play like Stoke back in the day?
Do you try something completely new to shake things up?
The fear is we just go at this like we go at any game. Same old, same old.
It’s a massive game for our season. If we lose, it’s over. If we win, we’re back in it. We won’t be able to recover our away form over the next few months to make a difference to the season, and other teams really are looking pretty good at the moment.
A massive game for Wenger.
See you on the other side.
Cologne fans put on a pretty spectacular showing yesterday. Turns out those Germans are quite cunning. Turning up in Islington, singing their songs, invading our ground, BUYING OUR CORPORATE SEATS.
Very amusing. I love that there were genuine concerns about German folk infiltrating the home end like it was going to be an issue. Please, the only time there’s an issue at Highbury is if the half time bar is out of Cabernet.