The Blackburn aftermath: Lessons that have been learnt
I really lacked the motivation to write today. When I think about what lies ahead, I tend to give myself hope but Cartoon Network character Mandy in the Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy said that “Hope is wasted on the hopeless”. I can’t really deny that I’m gearing myself up for another trophyless campaign but this season has been in topsy turvy from August till date so there might be a twist in the tail end of this season.
A close ally of mine called me continuously after the game on Saturday but I refused to pick because I knew that he was going to taunt me about my dear ol’ Arsenal. When I finally picked his call, he saluted me for being an Arsenal fan through thick and thin. He also told me that he was sure that I wouldn’t have High Blood Pressure in the near future because he believed that I’d suffered enough as an Arsenal fan. Even though he’s a committed Man Utd fan, he’s a diehard reader of my blog.
After reading yesterday’s post, he left a comment on my blog.
“Chuboy: For the remainder of the season you will have to play catch up with US as Utd will play most of their games on Saturday and U will be playing yours on Sunday. On the 2nd day of April, the title was signed, sealed and delivered to Old Strafford!”
You can feel the confidence in his comment. I wouldn’t blame him though. He’s team played ours with 7 recognized defenders and still whooped our arses. Trust me, it doesn’t bring fond memories. He’s Chi-Ebuka Nworah, the closest friend I had in my department back in my days in my higher institution.
Arsenal surrendered their stranglehold on the title after that bore stalemate on Saturday. Our 3rd league draw showed that we haven’t still recovered from our horrible month of March. The Carling Spoon loss on the 27th of February will still be noted as the starting point of our downward spiral. The last league win we recorded was the hard fought victory against the Rugby outfit that cost us the services of El Capitan and Walcott. Both players featured sparingly in the month of March and their loss was hugely felt by the squad.
In Saturday’s game, Blackburn’s goalie had a reasonably easy evening despite the return of key figures like Fabregas, Walcott and African Blondie Song. Blackburn defended valiantly shoving off threats from corners and crosses into their danger area. Arsenal created numerous flowing opportunities but it was the same cliché in terms of no end product after million and one attacking moves. Sunderland, Newcastle and Man City can attest to that this season.
It’s still obvious that this present crop of players is still demoralized and lacking in confidence after enduring a grueling month that saw them lose the Carling Spoon, Champions League and FA Cup in 13 days. Two disappointing draws followed suit before Saturday’s bore draw. Arsenal is currently seven points behind the league leaders Man Utd and they have only 8 games left to resurrect their diminishing title challenge which aims at breaking that 5-year trophyless barren spell.
Arsenal has played 30 league games this season and I’ve come to a conclusion that there are certain lessons that have been learnt after watching the AW the Alchemist Boys squander another chance to close the gap.
Manuel Rivero Almunia is still very error prone and its high time Mad Jens gets drafted back into the squad. Even after messing up in the game against West Brom, Almunia didn’t do anything to appease the Arsenal gods and fans alike with a very shaky performance against Blackburn. I usually give match ratings at the end of any match day blog but I was too disappointed to think of it. Almunia would’ve gotten 6.0 from me. He has continued his poor form and uncertainty between the sticks.
Almunia is presently our custodian because we mysteriously lost Flyin Fabbi, Szszsz and Mannone in the space of 3 months. It was reported that he was already shown the exit door but a move to Turkey was blocked because of Fabianski’s surgery. Almunia’s problem down the years has been his decision making and command of area which has been exploited times without number by our opposition. If Almunia was at the centre of the goal yesterday when he faced that shot we would have been on the end of a narrow 1-0 defeat. We know that Mad Jens wasn’t too impressive against the Wigan Reserves but that was his first game in over a year. He also produced a few moments of uncertainty but Lehmann has a cooler head than Almunia right now. We play the adventurous Blackpool next and they know who to disturb teams with their carefree style of play. I still believe that AW the Alchemist might stick to Almunia but we have to remember that Man Utd will play games a day before us so the pressure of expectancy might consume a keeper like Almunia. If Man Utd win their next game, we will play Blackpool knowing that we’ll be 10 fucking points behind them. If Almunia acts another porn movie on Sunday, the Arsenal gods and fans alike will ask for his head on a plate. Literally speaking though but as always, in AW the Alchemist I trust.
Its high time Jack Wilshere the Whizkhid gets deserved rest. As a football manager, it’s always good to stick to your winning formula but Jack Wilshere deserves at least a week off. He’s 19 for Christ’s sake. AW the Alchemist started the 2007/08 campaign with a 4-4-2 formation.
DribblyMcNoScore Hleb-El Capitan-Flanimal-TR7
rVp was the first to go with one of his customary international injuries so Dudu Composure came in and did really well before Birmingham’s Martin Taylor ended his Arsenal career with collapsing his ankle in February 2008. TR7 also destroyed his hamstring in January which kept him out for 18 months. We also lost the Mercenary at some point but after playing week in week out from August, Flamini’s body gave up on him when we played Liverpool in the Champion’s League quarter final in March. I can remember vividly seeing the Flanimal kicking the ball out and sitting on the turf in Anfield Transylvania. That was unfortunately his last Arsenal outing because he joined AC Milan in the summer. Vermaelen also suffered Flamini’s fate last season in the game against our bitter rivals Twitch FC in April. He kicked the ball out and was replaced by Sol Campbell who put up a dominant performance despite several boos from the Twitch FC faithful.
Wilshere has been a bright spark in our season so far but he has played almost the same amount of games Fabregas played when he was in his age if not more. The only time Wilshere got real rest this season was when he earned himself a red card for lounging into BeanPole Zigic in October. Wilshere has been one of our most consistent players this season and has appeared for us an amazing 41 times this season. Wilshere also plays in a position that requires him to burn a large amount of calories and energy yet he plays as if he stole some DNA from Liverpool’s Dutch Mr. Dick Stamina and Man Utd’s Wong Fei-Hong. Wilshere frightened us on Saturday with his shoulder injury scare and I’ll take that as a warning for AW the Alchemist.
The only scary issue is that Wilshere’s deputies are not capable enough. Diaby is very consistent in inconsistency while Denilson is a disgrace to that footballing nation known as Brazil. At least his better than Lucas, that’s a plus. He needs to learn a thing or two from Chelsea’s Ramires the Great Lizard. The only reasonable replacement would be Rambo but he’s still struggling with injuries. Wilshere is also giving himself more trouble by agreeing to Stuart Pearce’s demands to feature in the U-21 Championships. This lad will definitely suffer from a burnout.
It’s high time we give a run out to the Moroccan Chamattackh, rVp can be deployed on the right wing if needed or rested. For those who like stats, Chamakh scored 10 goals in his first 21 appearances. While B52’s groin was in turmoil and rVp’s ankles where in shambles, Chamakh played a major role in getting our equalizer against Liverpool, scoring that vital goal against Partizan, the winner against Birmingham, both goals against Wolves and that all important 3rd goal against Aston Villa. rVp’s return relegated Chamakh to the bench while he has been brought on as an impact player. Chamakh’s intelligence and workrate has been hugely missed in our side. In as much as I love rVp, he hasn’t hit top gear after that his short term injury. Chamakh had to make do with the Cup competitions scoring only one goal in the 5-0 thumping of Leyton Orient. He had no goal in the Carling Spoon though.
Chamakh’s main strength is his aerial ability and Arsenal hasn’t exploited it in the season half of this season. With 8 games to go it’s high time we change our approach in games. Using Chamakh will add dynamism to our play.
Sagna’s crosses haven’t been as consistent as his play. There’s no denying that Sagna is one of Arsenal’s, EPL and World football’s most consistent and respected players. Week in week out, he displays performances of the highest defensive caliber as well as maintaining sublime fitness playing averaging 45 games per season for Arsenal.
His work ethic is also amazing with the fullback balancing his attacking and defensive play magnificently. He’s never shy to surge down the right wing, continually contributing with strong energetic runs and natural pace. However, Sagna’s crossing has been a slight concern this season. Football is a team sport so all players in their different positions attack the ball using different techniques. The goalie clears the ball upfield or passes to a full back. The center back passes to the midfielders, passes back to the goalie or clears it out when the defense is in danger. The midfielders have a lot of responsibilities with the ball while the striker’s sole purpose is to shoot the ball goalwards. Arsenal is renowned for its pin point ground passing and telepathic movement but the full backs also have to play a major role in the attacking play. Sagna delivers good crosses but he needs to improve a bit. Kudos to him for maintaining his level of consistency, he’s Mr. Consistency by the way.
Andrei Arshavin should be kept regardless of how this season ends. I know that AA23 has struggled with his form and confidence this season but he’s still an important player for Arsenal FC. As lackadaisical and lazy his play might be at times he still produces moments of immense quality.
Arshavin has scored 10 goals this season and has created a lion’s share of assists this season but with added competition for places, it’s sure to force AA23 at his best because he knows that the younger lads are raring to go behind him. This hasn’t been his best season for us and he has been frustrating to watch sometimes but we still need to stick to our senior players. After winning the league in 2004, AW the Alchemist flushed out the invincibles with time and it’s obvious that we’ve lacked that youth and experience balance.
I am a big fan of Hotty McOwl and I truly hope that he remains with us for years to come.
Finally, Arsenal does not deserve to end the season as the Champions of the Premier League. Let’s face it. I’m one of the truest Arsenal fans you’d ever know. The 2010/11 campaign has seen Man Utd and Arsenal emerge as the main contenders for the Premier League title but United have shown that they are much more deserving than Arsenal. Just like us, Man Utd hasn’t produced football of the highest standard but the main difference is that Man Utd knows how to grind out that desired result. Unlike Arsenal that constantly attack sides without real venom, Man Utd have dug really deep in a number of games to achieve victory despite playing poorly while being behind by a considerable margin.
I still don’t know how we would have reacted if we went 2-0 down to Aston Villa with 10 minutes to go. There are so many other United games I would have written down but it would be like a pin sticking into my skin.
Injuries are a major part of football but the ability to deal with them and maintain composure with momentum shows what champions are made of. Manchester United has handled that better than us but in life, “you don’t always get what you deserve”.
That’s a wrap for today