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Wednesday 3 November 2010

Will we ever learn?

Is it just me, or does it feel like Groundhog Day, where we storm ahead in the Group Stages, then take our eye of the ball and end up having to make a bit of a scramble to get into the knockout stages, when we should really have been on cruise control.

We’ve got a tricky game in Portugal next and instead of storming into the last sixteen, we could end up having to play a full strength team against Partizan in the last game because we need a result.

Worst still this defeat could end up taking all the steam out of the momentum we’ve built up these past couple of weeks and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if we end up making hard work of the Toon on Sunday as a result.

It seems as if Arsène sets far too much store in the need for rotating players, in order to try and keep them fresh. But there’s very little point in players being fresh, unless we end up involved in those important end of season games which are likely to test their energy levels. Besides which, nothing keeps players fresher than that crucial winning momentum and by the same token, fatigue creeps in a lot quicker with defeat.

See Ancelotti’s Chelsea this evening. He pretty much sent out his strongest XI at home against Spartak Moscow and although it sounded as if they were a long way from their best, they still had more than enough in the tank to roll over the Russians and maintain and build on the head of steam they’ve been building up in the Champions League.

Moreover by sending out a weakened side, Wenger will have only fuelled Shaktar’s determination to prove that we were wrong to take them lightly and it sends out the wrong message to his own dressing room, where flat-footed Gunners think they can get away with giving the ball away cheaply all evening. And the likes of Clichy isn’t sufficiently focused two minutes from half-time to appreciate that he’d be best putting the ball into Row Z, rather than conceding possession in a dangerous area and his midfield team-mates, the likes of Eastmond and Wilshere, complacently believing Clichy will take care of business, don’t bother to track the runners.

And don’t talk to me about Bendtner and Eboué! I had to laugh when one commentator suggested the Dane made a run to distract defenders, allowing Theo room to shoot. If he did, it was about as much running as Nick did all night, as he was sat on his heels all evening and as a lone striker, he was as much use as the proverbial spare penis and only slightly less infuriating for his apathy as Manny Eboué was with his customary headless chicken impersonation.

I’ve always believed that there is very little to be gained in terms of keeping players fresh, if you are forced to send the likes of Chamakh on to chase the game with 15 mins to go, as the French striker will have ended up no less spent than if he’d played the entire 90. In my humble opinion we’d have been better off starting with our strongest possible XI and then taking players off for the latter stages once we’d secured a win, as the players involved would have been no more fatigued for Sunday’s game and psychologically speaking, they’d have come home feeling a whole lot more positive!

Ho hum, two steps forward, one step back! So what else is new. Although it's only slightly more galling this time around, with our friends from the wrong end of the Seven Sisters Road crowing like it was going out of fashion. Bring on Spurs in the knockout stages so we can well and truly put a spanner in their glory, glory delusions

Keep the faith



Martin said...

I think if Fabregas is playing at the weekend there'll be no need to worry about the toon. The result is annoying but our record in Ukraine is poor. Plus the team that played wasn't too far off the strongest available. These things happen but I'd be concerned that we have no leaders in midfield when Fabregas isn't playing.

Anonymous said...

That was the strongest team bar Sagna and Koscielny. Bendtner and Chamahk are much of a muchness and Sagna wouldn't have prevented a defeat. Koscielny would have done better as he can read the game.

The problem is that Djourou and Squillachi are both players that have to play with a better partner, together they are very poor judges and always allow an attacker the space to cause problems, they are positionally clueless. Clichy has been poor for years now, add the three together and you are lucky to leave any away ground only having conceded two.

Otherwise no big deal really, we never win there for good reason, they are very hard to beat.

Anonymous said...

Clichy is a joke and a liability for years. He's just pace and nothing else. Can't cross, can't defend, can't concentrate. So frustrating. Every time he opens his mouth, it's always about ambition this and that. He just can't do just a simple thing in training, that is learning to cross.

Anonymous said...

Groundhog Day, like the author says. I've been reading this blog for a while and I sense a jaded tone creeping in. And who can blame him.

Clichy just can't be coached on his weakneses. He just can't be, 5years have passed and he makes the same mistakes.

It's pinball every time the other team attack - they might score, they might not, depends on where the ball pings off. There is no sense of defensive cohesion, defending as a unit, from our players. Again, it must be that they are not coached how to defend.

Anonymous said...

I would vote Eboue as the worst player on the pitch. He was all over the pitch but never where he needed to be and his passing and crosses were pathetic. Next, came Clichy who can neither defend nor attack. His crosses were poor as usual. And Theo, after the initial goal, reverted to the old Walcott, losing the ball with ease and poor decision making.

Anonymous said...

Reply to first Anon - It was nowhere near the first team mate - Kozzer, Varmaelen, Cesc, RVP, Sanga, Song & Arseboy make up the missing names.

All of the above generally start if fit and on form.

Thought we played OK, Eboue aside, and it was only a deflected goal plus ANOTHER clichy moment that sank us.

Anonymous said...

stop ranting as if wenger didnt put his strongest side. So Chamakh on for Bendtner n Sagna for Eboue n Koscielny for Djorou going to make a huge difference? It was clichy's fault, eastmond was out of his depth, Eboue is a decent right back, chamakh would have made no difference evidently seen through his few mins on the pitch where he couldnt do anything because there was no service!

Anonymous said...

Chamakh is not French. If you are writing a blog on Arsenal at least get right the nationality of the main striker.

Pat said...

Don't bother commenting if YOU don't get your fachamakh was born in France but chose to play for the country of his parents, Morocco.
So put a sock in it!

ArsenalForever2004 said...

Are you serious? We never had our first choice midfield and as any one with a brain knows the midfield is the most important part of the team whether they are protecting the defence or helping the attack.

Eastmond would not even have got in if Frimpong was available let alone Denilson, Diaby, Song and Ramsey. Rosicky as much as I like him has been used as an impact player from the subs bench and is ageing a bit.

Away in Europe, Wenger tends to play a defensive midfield - if Song and Diaby/Denilson were available, the would have played alongside Wilshere with Rosicky coming on for impact especially if Arsenal were going for a win from a losing or drawing position.

Besides it was not really about Arsenal playing particularly badly, it was more about Clichy being a muppet always trying to dribble in stupid areas and not being smart enough to realise that away from home against a very good team you don't take any risks defensively.