Before the game I sat there and wondered to myself…
How many mistakes would Fabianski have to make to be considered a liability?
Why when 3rd place is yet to be confirmed would Wenger think it a good idea to play a man who near enough commits a goalkeeping crime every other game? Why was he still trying to convince us that his young Polish keeper was going to be great?
Wenger’s stubbornness no doubt cost us the league this year and after yesterday’s team selection, there is a very good chance it could cost us 3rd place meaning we’ll have to qualify through the preliminaries in the Champions League next season.
The game started off relatively brightly for Arsenal. We fizzed the ball around the pitch and looked in control. Fabianski claimed a fair amount of high balls into the box and after about 20 minutes, Sagna flicked on a front post corner to RvP who was at the back post to nod the ball into the net. 1-0 up against a lower half of the table team should have seen us cruise to victory. However, as we all know, this team is built on brittle foundations. Blackburn had tactics in mind. Those tactics? To target a keeper Wenger believes to be great. They used every opportunity to launch high balls into our 6 yard box, knowing like the rest of us, Fabianski would make an incorrect decision at some point and we’d concede.
Just before half time, that moment came. Blackburn were putting two players on the keeper. They hit a looping ball to the back post, Fabianski tried to claim it but got under the ball and could only muster a flap, Blackburn returned the ball back across the face of goal where David Dunn was on hand to slot into an empty net.
The second half began and it seemed like Wenger had given one of those silent team talks, possibly just letting the players listen to their ipods. We came out looking uninterested and demotivated. The boys looked like they were in summer holiday countdown moment. It was disgraceful to watch and showcased that we’re no where near a championship winning team.
Blackburn don’t have the best players by a long way, but what they lack in technical ability they more than make up for with fight and discipline. They continued to pummel the Arsenal area with high balls and it didn’t take long for our terrible keeper to drop another howler. This time a simple cross was fired directly at Fabianski, he got under the ball, made a horrendous attempt at a punch, Samba simply nodded in.
Wenger sat on the sidelines flapping his arms more wildly than all his keepers have done this season. I didn’t get his point? Blackburn weren’t playing unfairly, they had identified our weakness and exposed it for the world to see. Wenger seems to believe that teams like Blackburn should set up to play Arsenal in a way that suits Arsenal. The ex-Prem champions don’t have half the funding or facilities we have, yet Wenger believes they should try and out play us! He lives on a different planet!
Here’s an idea Wenger. How about taking a closer look to home before you start blaming everyone else bar yourself?
All those players out on the pitch are your players and they failed you miserably. They don’t look like they can be assed. That is a disgrace to the 3000 away fans that travelled up to see you. That is a disgrace to the millions of gooners watching on TV. Everything is given to our boys on a plate. They don’t have to work for anything at Arsenal and it shows. Since going out of the Champions league, the players have switched off. It doesn’t matter though. They know full well you don’t get picked on form at Arsenal and you don’t get sold as long as you keep your mouth shut.
How about accepting the fact that the Premier League is a physical place to play the game of football and that sticking players on the keeper is fair tactic? If you had a good goal keeper in the squad that sort of tactic wouldn’t be employed. If you had players in the team with fight in them, they wouldn’t get bullied out of games. Yesterday, I hardly noticed Diaby and Nasri, they were that anonymous. Since Porto, Nasri has gone off the radar. He doesn’t have the stomach for the Premier League, he should try his luck in Spain or Italy. Massive disappointment. Diaby? Well, after he’s had his customary 3 good games a season, he goes AWOL. He looks lethargic and a long way of the physical stature of PV04.
Bar a few exceptions, the players on the pitch yesterday disgraced themselves and put another black mark against project youth. Carlos Vela was so out of the game it was difficult to make a judgement on him. For a player supposedly fighting for a future at our club his showing was nothing short of pathetic. Theo Walcott? Similar story as always. Unless he can get in a race, the best he can do is fire a cross or shot into his front post defender. You know it’s a bad afternoon when your best attacking player is Eboue.
Robin Van Persie’s return to the team proved to me that we wouldn’t have won the league even with him staying fit this season. Our problems are deeper than having a great striker on the pitch.
When you’ve got a manager who refuses to blame the keeper for his howlers, you have to question whether he is seeing any of the above problems?
Wenger isn’t in competition for trophies anymore, he’s in competition with his detractors. That competition in all likelihood will leave us in the same position this time next year as the Arsenal post 2004 de ja vu virus strikes again.
Personally, I don’t think Wenger is the man to lead us back to glory. He’s stuck in 1998 and had refused to move on. He won’t acknowledge tactics, he doesn’t punish poor performances and he rewards failure. Not just that, instead of raising the bar, he’s in a constant battle to lower it. No manager should be telling the fans 3rd place in an over achievement.
Wenger, unlike Fergie, looks unable to adapt for a second time. He wants plaudits for how he plays the game, not for the amount of trophies in the cabinet. We’re now known as the nearly team and judging by Wenger’s comments on transfers, we’re probably not going to address that this summer. He constantly reminds us that his players are extremely young. Well Arsene, I’m sure Titus Bramble was young at one point… he was rubbish though and he grew up and turned into a rubbish player. Being an average young player does not mean you’ll become a great 25 year old. Look no further than Senderos for evidence on that front.
Watching the demise of a once great manager has been slow and painful. I no longer have faith in him. I’ve wrestled with this in my mind for a long time, but watching our season go from potential greatness, to painful mediocrity has been awful. Listening to his ever familiar press conferences about the youth of his team and how he will be sensible in the transfer market is an all too familiar sound.
Deep down we all know the truth… Wenger hasn’t got it in him to change his ways and the board don’t have the balls to tell him.
It’s a sorry old situation we’ve got ourselves in.
See you in the comments.