Wigan 2-2 Arsenal
A beautiful high is always going to be followed by a crash, but things really aren’t as awful as people think they are. There is some absurd comment flying about and whilst everyone is entitled to an opinion, a bit of rationality can go a long way.
Athletes at the top are becoming more and more injury prone, this goes for every profession. There are countless examples in football, look at Rafael Nadal in Tennis, Johnny Wilkinson’s fitness struggles in Rugby, Andrew Flintoff when it comes to Cricket.. the body can only take so much strain (not just competitive matches, the training schedules are punishing). Take into account our injury record and a disaster could have taken place at a vital stage of the season.
Things need to be weighed up though.
Is it better to have 60 minutes of Samir Nasri and Alex Song for example, or 20 minutes when we are needing to score and they have not had ample time to warm up and prepare. What is the greater risk?
I can fully understand the eight changes, one of course was enforced with the absence of Cesc Fabregas – but the omission of van Persie from the bench annoyed me. He has been back for the best part of two months but he has very rarely played, again I understand not starting him but not having him even as an option on the bench is quite ludicrous. I guess what I am trying to say is that it is fully understandable making the changes that were made, but not having sufficient players to bolster the side if it comes to that point is more of the issue. Arsene Wenger’s substitution decisions frequently get on my nerves but that is something that just isn’t going to change. There is no right or wrong verdict on his team selection really, we lose its a bad decision, win its genius and draw… a wasted opportunity yes, but the bigger picture is also important.
Would I have made those changes? Most of them is probably the answer. I would have kept one of the midfielders from the Chelsea game just to try and keep some of the nucleus of that team, but that is about it. The situation with Djourou is clearly that he can’t take back to back games and is being managed by the boss to as and when he plays, that is fine, but it doesn’t excuse the major flaw of this team: the central defence.
I have not gone to air on my views on Koscielny and Squillaci – here you go:
Koscielny has big potential, I see it, technically very good and he is a very good decision maker. Right now he should be fourth choice though. Squillaci is also a fourth choice type defender, and in my opinion not good enough for Arsenal at all. At times our center backs look like flies headbutting a window, they just never seem to learn and also lack communication – something that is so, so important in defensive situations and for, yes you guessed it, set-pieces.
We need two defenders, one to improve on Squillaci.
Back to my original point though, some of the reaction has been astounding. I am not really talking about blogs, I’m talking about 15-20 minutes into a game and people are writing off our title chances. Each football fan is a little bit balmy and the nature of the game means we are all fickle as hell but come on, get real and get behind them. Even if you don’t like a player or even the manager – fine, you are entitled to that but support the club, the club is bigger after all.
It is worth remembering that this is only our third draw of the season, we have lost five and United have drawn those five games, it is a negligible difference and I think part of the frustration boils from that. A draw away at Wigan isn’t an awful result, especially given our immense improvement in results in the north-west, Arshavin has also scored nine goals in that region. Lethargic, frustrating and lazy? All accusations with substance. However, he gets results. That also has substance.
Keep on supporting and believing. Win against Birmingham and we have had a very fine festive period, win against City at home and it would be a massive launch-pad for us to try and bring home a silver pot in the new year.
Thanks for reading.