Usually the Arsenal United game is one you look forward too, but you don’t. Do you get me? You look forward to the occasion, but the end result is usually a bit disappointing. A bit like a Justin Bieber gig. Am a right? Am I right?
Anyway, United come to the Grove fresh off the back of a disappointing game draw against Fulham. They’ve been absolutely terrible all season. There is no ‘Moyes factor’. He’ll come to Arsenal armed with his book of genius tactics.
‘Ball into the box lads, just whip it in’
That’s a worry, we conceded to two balls into the box at the weekend, that being said, they were set pieces. You’d have to hope that a back four that contains Mertesacker will be reasonably adept at defending that type of formation. We at least know they won’t have the same possession they had against Fulham. As long as our full backs maintain some semblance of a defensive unit with the back 4, we should be fine.
The trick tonight for us will be which side shows up. We’ve had an extra day of recovery, so we should have that little bit extra over them. Wenger said Liverpool was an accident, well, for me, it was an accident that was waiting to happen. Like Jim Davidson doing stand-up at a Mosque. We’re too slow out of the starting blocks and we allow good teams’ ample opportunity to plunder our goal. The worry tonight is that Rooney, Robin and Mata are senior and intelligent enough to decide they’ll play their own game… on the deck, through the middle. They’ll all be up for this, so we need to be sharp to their game and not take an easy three points for granted.
Everything is in our favour, they’re in terrible form, the strike was called off last minute and Chelsea dropped late points last night. The footballing gods spared us, for once. Win tonight and we’re leading the ridiculous mixing pot that is the Premier League table.
In other news, Jack Wilshere is taking a pasting from all quarters. His ability and attitude being called into question, which I find quite unfair. I know he’s been less than impressive over the last two seasons, but I think there are a few points to note.
Firstly, he’s very young and very injury prone. He’s had to battle back from a nasty repeat injury that’s played havoc with his fitness and confidence. It took Rambo the best part of three seasons to find his zip.
Secondly, he’s not a first choice player. He’s back up. There are plenty of players that sit ahead of him for me. He’s in the middle at the moment because we don’t have Ramsey or a fit Diaby. Both are ahead of him for me. He’s mostly found himself plonked outwide this year. When he’s played in the middle, he’s looked lost and ineffective.
That leads me onto the final point. Now he’s being played in the middle and I’m not quite sure he really knows what he’s supposed to be doing. Some players don’t need to be micromanaged; they just instinctively understand what they’re supposed to be doing. Others need to be prescriptively told where to go, what to watch out for and how they fit into the side. Aaron Ramsey was one of those players. Wenger doesn’t seem to have an individual plan for players, it’s more like, ‘hey, go out there and make a sweet connection with the beautiful game’… that’s cool when it’s Cesc, but not cool when it’s a floundering Jack Wilshere. Is he a number ten? Is he a deep lying playmaker? Is he a holding midfielder? Is he box to box? Who actually can tell me from watching Jack they know what that hell he’s supposed to be doing?
I also think there’s an area of player development Arsene struggles with… bad boys. If players aren’t cut from the ‘totally nice Sunday School’ cloth, he tends to struggle with them. Look at all the players he’s developed into superstars over the years…
- Thierry Henry, a true gent of the game.
- Bobby P, handsome and polite
- Paddy V, a warrior on the pitch, teddy bear off it
- Cesc Fabregas, could throw on a plaid shirt and work as an account guy in an agency
As soon as there are players that have a bit of attitude, I feel like he struggles. Andrey Arshavin being case in point… world class player, bad attitude… was enough done to awaken that spectacular beast? Lukas Podolski, so much potential, but he’s lazy? Why not work with him? Now we have Ozil heading down the same path… is he being pulled into a room and bollocked? Hey, maybe not even that. How about given more of a carrot?
‘Ozil, you could become the new god around here… but people don’t think you have it in you. Madrid also thought you were weak, but we believed in you. Are you going to prove you’re not weak? Are you going to show Madrid what they’re missing out on, because currently, you’re not.’
If Jack Wilshere was being managed by Mourinho, would we have these same issues? I mean, Jack will get where he needs to get, I just think Arsene could turbo charge it if he enforced himself on him… not in a sexy way… but you get what I mean. Different people need different management tactics. I think if you fall outside what Wenger finds comfortable, he can’t deal with it. There’s no way he’d ever have been able to develop Rooney like Fergie did. But then again, I think Arsene Wenger could take Kagawa now and turn him into the beast he was at Dortmund.
What I do find absolutely hilarious because I’m laughing at myself is that out of the British core that we signed, we’re not really doing too well. My concern, laughably, was that Rambo had been over paid. The reality is that Jack was over paid for what he’d delivered on. Kieran Gibbs is second choice left back and Jenkinson will be lucky if he lasts another season. Theo… well, he’s very good player that we very much miss.
There are no definites in football. Did that contract Jack was given make him a definite in his own mind? Did the £60k Rambo was given make him hungry to earn more? Were we reckless again by giving out big dollars based on potential rather than what’s been achieved? All big questions and questions I know can’t be answered with black and white answers. Simply put… the best players aren’t motivated by money, they’re motivate by glory.
Best bit of advice I was ever give was, ‘don’t chase money, chase success… because the money will follow’
… maybe something they should stick up in the changing rooms of the youth team?
Anyway, have a great night, tear the roof off The Grove and let’s have a night to remember for all the right reasons!