“I don’t think we have gone backwards in the quality of our squad,”
“If you look at the five players that we bought [Alexis Sánchez, Danny Welbeck, Calum Chambers, Mathieu Debuchy and David Ospina], you cannot say that one of them is a failure. I can’t deny that we are behind much more than last year because we had a depleted squad since the start of the season and no stability. The fact we got so many important injuries at the back cost us too much. We lost Debuchy and Koscielny at the same period for three months. It’s too much.
“We had too many players who came back after the World Cup not ready to compete again and then you look at the number of players that we lost when they just came back to their best. We had no Walcott, no Wilshere, no Özil, no Debuchy, no Koscielny, no Giroud, no Arteta for long periods. It’s like you have half of the squad out.”
Arsene is back. He’s back on fire as well. Wenger thinks we haven’t regressed squad wise. I’d say he’s probably wrong.
We have 6 senior defenders, which is pretty shabby even by League One standards.
We have a very unbalanced midfield that boasts two players in Arteta and Flamini who weren’t good enough last year and are now a year further past their prime. Aaron Ramsey has regressed. Jack hasn’t kicked on and Santi is now 29 (the age of turning).
I think it’s fair to say we’ve only really kicked on progress wise upfront. We now have a Sanchez, who, let’s be fair, is worth two players… and we also have WELBZ, who takes the pressure off of Giroud.
Squad wise, there’s not really a lot to shout about. Any progress we’ve made has been lost to age or regression.
I also think it’s weak to keep blaming the World Cup. Like no one else competed in it. No one ever asks Wenger why City, United and Chelsea all seem to be coping ok (United are clocking more points than us with a worse injury record than us!).
Point is, Wenger is citing things that are mostly in his control as the reasons we’re doing poorly. If he was saying, ‘look, we’d be doing really well if we were tactically smarter’ we’d all be up in arms. Having a weak approach to fitness is exactly the same as that. He cites the aftermath of bad planning as the problem, when he should be focusing on the multitude of reasons he’s in that position in the first place.
Someone Tweeted something along the lines of, ‘I shan’t complain about rotation as I’m not aware who’s tired’… quite often see stuff like that when people are trying to shut down a reasonable debate about something. You don’t need 100% of the information to make a pretty structured argument… because you never have 100% of the information even when you’re the manager.
Here’s some things we do know ahead of the game today.
> Alexis has been playing in the redzone… because Wenger said so.
> Calum Chambers has played too much. We know, because Wenger said so.
> Per Mertesacker has played too much because Per has said so, Wenger has said so and it’s reflective in his less than average performances.
> Santi has played too much because he’s played in pretty much every game. He’s 29 years old. He’s looked exhausted. That’s a man due an injury.
> Chamberlain has played too much because he’s injured and looked very unfit against Liverpool.
Rosicky is available, so there’s no reason he couldn’t drop in for Santi. Ballerin could be available to slip in for the damaged Chambers. Campbell is always fit. Lukas is always fit. I think Theo is in with a shout.
You could do a lot of things to make up for the loss of Sanchez for 60minutes. This is QPR. They really aren’t a good side. We should be able to find a balance to dismantle them. We should be able to find a way to bring good players into the fold today and deliver a result.
If we rotate and we don’t get the result, the response shouldn’t be… ‘well, we shouldn’t rotate’… the response should be, ‘how do we do better next time?’.
I hope Wenger rings in the changes because we have a two tough games coming up. On a personal level, I really can’t deal with losing to West Ham. Their fans, who haven’t really been interested for 2 seasons are all coming out the woodwork now they’re in the top four. I’d also like to make sure we deal with Southampton in the new year. We take maximum points from those three games and we’ll be in good shape for when the calvary return in January.
Hopefully it’s a fun game today. I can’t make it. If anyone is in the Upminster area and wants two tickets, drop me an e-mail or a tweet to collect them.
SEE YOU TOMORROW AND HAVE FUN x