Good morning Grovers, you may think this post is late because I was drinking last night. You’d be wrong. I’ve been penning this since 7. My arm is in so much pain. Damn that bin. Damn it to hell.
Anyway, we’ve got a lovely trip to Wales today to play Swansea. We’ve not had a lot of fun against them this season. We’ve not really enjoyed the company of Michu either. So really, it’s about time we did have some fun against them. Now, things that’ll be going against us today.
1) Swansea have had a week to prepare for us both tactically and physically. They’ll have been working on ways to nullify us today, so we should expect a pretty strong test. I’d imagine they’ll press us like they did in the first game and I’d imagine they’ll put pressure on our midfield to force Per Mertesacker to be the one playing the ball out of defence. He’s not the most creative of passers, but he is usually the most accurate. I think he was the other night with something like 88% pass completion.
2) We’ll be slightly knackered after the game in Germany in the week. How Wenger has positioned that result with the players is key. How the players have positioned that result is also important. Did they see it as deflating because of the bigger picture, or have the seen it as a positive stepping stone… the type of step that could finish the season on a high note? Maybe. I hope so. The fans need something to cheer this year.
I’m hoping the coach continues his policy of rewarding good performances. If he does give the mentally transformed Lukas a run in the side, I hope the keeper can reward him. I’d really rather not see Szecdesdfkhnarvy in the side. I’ve heard a few relatively negative things about our normal number one that all centre around a complacent attitude. Wenger spoke about competition at the highest level in the press conference, but for me, half the issue we have with this side is that there is no competition…
“Everybody faces the same competition and the players who come in have been on the bench for a long, long time. The job of a top-level competitor is to deal with that.”
Not everyone faces the same competition. In fact, very few of the starting 11 face competition. You don’t need two world class players for each position, you need a world class player and a bit of world class potential… or a world class work horse for back up. Our number one hasn’t had competition on any level over the last two years. He lacks motivation and that can be said of a number of others in the side. The fact they can turn up and play against Bayern Munich away from home… you know, an exciting match, kind of says a lot about the set up these days. Like I’ve said all year, the players are better than the position in the table indicates. The boss isn’t getting the best out of them these days, which is a real shame.
Anyway, today would be a very nice place to kick off a run of wins. We have to win every game until the end of the season to be in with a chance of qualifying in the top four. I still think we can do it. Spurs have lots of games coming up and the jitters have already kicked in. Chelsea, according to one of their fans in my office yesterday have two games a week until the end of the season, which again, for an inconsistent side is a positive. A win today puts us within touching distance of both.
Which side turns out today? No one knows. Not even the players. Lets hope for the fans sake, it’s the one that’s going to turn Swansea over with ease.
Finally, before I go, I noticed that Arsenal have ramped up their charm offensive on the blogosphere. It’s interesting for me, because I work in an industry where bringing on bloggers for brands is standard practice. When you’re a sports club, you don’t have to offer financial inducements to do stuff like this. Being on the clubs main website is enough of a back scratch. From the clubs perspective, they’ll have people on first name terms, which, they hope will lead to positive press in the good times… and an easing up in the bad times. Not only does this help them shape opinion, it also means younger bloggers start up with the ambition of being on the clubs main site as well… kind of the opposite of what I think being a blogger is all about.
When you become an extension of the Arsenal PR machine, you invite uncomfortable questions. Clever work by Arsenal though. A very American approach to digital marketing.