The day after and I feel raw. I feel raw like a Sanchez hamstring injury. I feel tense like a Koscielny hip tweak.
I could go on like this.
So, let’s start today by tackling a few of the disobedient defenses that have come my way since yesterday.
There seems to be a popular notion amongst some fans that you simply can’t rest your best players. Like, somehow they are undroppable because our squad is incapable without them.
I totally disagree. Here are the facts, you can’t play all the games. Sure, Chelsea butchered their squad last season. Jose had an interesting strategy, which seemed to be… blow the league away in the first half with your best 11, pray in the second half. Chelsea did a great job. They rested players during breaks and they were very lucky with player breakdowns. However, they dropped out of the Champions League and their form dipped dramatically in the second half of the year. Then this season, Mourinho is on record as saying that approach has had consequences for fitness and form this year.
Hazard has the same goals tally as Sanogo this term, Cesc has been shocking, Matic and embarrassment, Diego Costa has gone from the new Drogba to bench warmer… it’s sad times there.
You pay for what you do to your players in the end.
Anyway, the focus is on Arsenal here. Arsene has a squad. It costs £200m to service. So he believes in it. Therefore, he should utlise it. Joel Campbell had a great game in the week. He is capable of playing against Norwich. The same for The Ox. He can easily deputise. Both are Champions League players, both are internationals, both have a degree of pedigree.
If they don’t, why are they in our squad?
… and look. If we couldn’t rotate against a newly promoted team that had lost 5 of 6, what do you think is going to happen now we don’t have those players? What, field a 10 man team?
You rotate because you have the long-term in mind.
United, throughout Fergie’s tenure were the masters of rotation in the first half of the season… so they’d have the freshest players in the second half. Ferguson was the master of psychology. Teams that had the fear, he’d roll out a weak team, because he’d have them beaten mentally. Then in the run in, his players were fitter, faster and more hungry than the rest.
Wenger should do that. You preserve the bodies, you keep competition in the players legs and you keep minds sharp.
If we’d rotated and drew, people would still moan
Yeah, sure we’d still moan. Our second 11 should be beating Norwich. Look at the caliber of players we have in comparison. Look at the resource and training facilities we have on hand. We should be trashing them. Back in the day, our Carling Cup team would be tanking teams like Norwich.
Fact is, we played a first team and still DIDN’T win. So now we’re moaning about a shit result and a broken side.
But here’s the thing… I am ALWAYS more concerned about having fit players. The result is important, but sometimes things don’t go your way (WBA). Yesterday, things didn’t go our way because we picked up injuries. The breakdowns caused the result. Give me a loss yesterday, but a fresh Santi, Kos and Sanchez and I’ll be fine. Because we are always better with those players. We have a chance with those guys. Now they’re gone because we were stupid. Now we have less of a chance.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing
Don’t even play that card. I’ve been talking about fitness for 6 years, you’ve been talking about fitness with me… we all saw this one coming a month ago.
Foresight is what we have. Why hasn’t our manager?
I can’t leave you with a hellish post, so we need to draw on the positives. But, we’ll assess the badness first. Cazorla and Sanchez will both miss Olympiacos and more. So we have the ever regressing Mertesacker and the shaky looking Gabriel in the backline… and I guess we’ll be relying on Joel Campbell on the right along with Ramsey in the middle.
Worry there is on Aaron. He’s not being eased in, which could spell trouble.
Anyway, Theo will be on the bench for that game pending a disaster. We’ll also have Chambo in, who, after an overly harsh critique from me yesterday, did put in some great crosses.
We then need to get past two very average teams in Villa and Sunderland. Then it’s City. We could have Alexis back by then. Rested and raring to go.
So we might limp our way to January.
I’d be going for a defensive midfielder and the Polish chap would be hot on my radar. Then I’d be looking at a centre forward with power and brutality to come in and shake up that front line.
Also, if I was Wenger, I’d be sitting in with Shad and Bouldy and I’d be asking them what the fuck is going wrong and how can we stop the rot.
… they’d give it straight and I’d take it on board and do what they recommend. Which would hopefully be a smarter approach to rotation and some strategically guided rest time over Christmas.
We can’t let this season slip. December is of major importance. Let’s make it happen. Let’s pull it together. Let’s come out of this season with something more major than a big fat excuse.