So much action this weekend?!
Yesterday, Spurs were totally destroyed by Liverpoool. They barely worked for it as once again, Tim Sherwood offered up nothing tactically. Say what you want about AVB, at least there was a hint he had an idea about management. Poor Sherwood sits in the stands like a sulky brat teenager whose just even ask to act out a biology exam he’s failed to prepare for.
Liverpool have won 8 on the bounce now. They go into games against City and Chelsea now… Title defining. It’s a huge turnaround for the Scousers who on paper, had a pretty average squad at the start of the season. I thought Rogers would get it right at some point, but not this soon.
He’s shown Arsenal a thing or two this season regardless of what happens now.
1. You can force your best player to stay. Robin had a year to go on his deal, throwing away £25m is a bit kamikaze, but so is throwing the Premier League to a rival. Liverpool held onto their man, supported him with a good team. Now he’ll stay. I thought they’d have trouble motivating him. I thought he’d sulk like Cesc did. How wrong was I? Very wrong.
2. You don’t need a big reputation to do well at a big club. United messed up with Moyes because he didn’t really have an pedigree. Liverpool invested in a vision and a style.
3. Fitness. They have a smaller squad and have player 10 less games. Still, if you look at how they set up, there’s plenty of rotation that goes into their game. They’ve managed stints without Gerrard, Suarez and Sturridge. Rogers picks his starting 11 6 games at a time. He ensures everyone gets a run out and feels motivated, he picks the right players for the right side and he has his players fresh for the action half of the season. Liverpool don’t have 4 key players out… and Gerrard is a notorious crock.
4. Tactics are key with Liverpool. They have to be when you’re not one of the best sides. He picks a system based on who he’s playing and who he’s starting. It’s pretty logical, get the most out of the attributes you have on offer and pick of the weaknesses you face in front of you.
5. Liverpool have proved that good management and sharp thinking can overcome massive spending. Something I’ve pushed for years here. City and Chelsea isn’t an excuse for underachievement when you’re at the top level. Ferguson dealt with them and he’s had a drastically lower budget over the past five years. Dortmund proved budget is not important in Germany. Even Jose when he won the Champione League with Inter.
All the walls of excuses have fallen down around Arsenal this season, there are none left. What we have this season is of our own making.
Wenger is on the defensive, obviously he would be.
“We have leaders. We have gone through an absolute nightmare, we have gone through a storm. It is difficult to protect the players from that. The critics come very quick, fast, very hard. The only way you deal with it is to respond in the next game like we did.”
I’m not sure the response in the City game at home was quite the response Arsene thinks it was. We don’t tend to suffer when we’re not under pressure. The City game was a minor irrelevance really. The Chelsea game was where it was at. That was the moment we needed to stand up and be counted. If City had come at us like Chelsea did and not been so happy with the point, I’ve no doubt we’d have been tanked.
I’m still not sure what percentage of our problems come down to leadership. Always a bit of an unquantifiable message there. Is that how much someone shouts? Is Tim Sherwood a leader because he flaps around on the sidelines like seagull caught in a fishing net?
I think the leadership issue comes from Arsene. I think our players struggle to lead when they don’t know what they’re doing. How are players supposed to react when they’re not given the tools to do so? I mean, you could say that players should be able to change formation at the drop of a hat… football intelligence and all. But if that’s not the culture of play at a club, then it’s probably not second nature.
Our next game is a against Everton, we have 8 days rest, which is nice. They played Fulham yesterday and beat them after a poor first half. Apparently Lukaku was pretty immobile and wasn’t really offering much because they couldn’t get the ball to him. Martinez brought on Naismith at half time and changed the game which they won 3-1.
We should be too good for them, but with our injuries and there power, it could be very tough. We’ll see though, top 4 should be a minimum this year. If we don’t achieve that, well, much introspection you’d hope.
Right, that’s me done for the day. Have a good one!