Daily Archives: March 20, 2013

Thoughts on Some Unhappy Players in the Team

Szczesny Foreground

With the international break coming up this weekend, many Gooners remain hopeful that Arsenal’s contingent travelling to different parts of the globe will return unscathed. This also means that we’ll have to wait for a considerable chunk of time before seeing our dear Arsenal rip sorry Reading apart…hopefully.

While the Gunners will be gnashing their teeth as this break came when they were hitting top gear, that lot on the White half of North London will take the interlull as a welcome distraction to reflect on how they are going to avoid another self-implosion reminiscent of their capitulation last season.

Football is a truly amazing and puzzling sport. In February, Reading’s Brian McDermott won the Premier League Manager of the Month for winning over 75% of his team’s games in the month of love. When March stepped in, he received his “marching orders” as well.

Tottenham on the other hand, was heralded as the form team of 2013 but three stinging defeats in a row has brought AVB and his side down to Earth. The media wanked themselves silly over the form of Gareth Bale and it seemed as if he would find the back of the net in every game he played. By his standards, he had a good game in the narrow loss to Liverpool but his team couldn’t cope with his absence in San Siro and had the away goals rule to thank at the end of 120 minutes.

With Wojciech Szczesny spending some time out in the dugout, rumors are emerging that he might be heading towards to the exit door, especially when the young Pole has blamed his boss for his recent poor run of form. Szczesny stated that the club’s training regime on match preparations has contributed to his slump.

To be honest, I rate Szczesny highly and I know that he’ll be Arsenal’s custodian between the sticks for years to come. Every player would want to play first-team football week-in week-out but Szczesny has to realize that Wenger knows best. True, Wenger has made some shocking decisions in the past but every fan is in alignment with his decision to drop Szczesny and the Verm.

As HITC has rightly pointed out, dropping Szczesny and Thomas Vermaelen sends a clear message to the squad that sub-standard performances won’t go unpunished. It’s just sad to know that Wenger had to let his team pay the price of disappointing defeats before taking action.

The warning signs were there all season long, but it’s good to know that he has seen them and has done the right thing.

I really love Vermaelen’s aggressive style of play and I feel that taking the captaincy off him might ease his “burdens” allowing him to play with more freedom. On the other side, stripping him off the armband might have negative ramifications.

Koscielny has been superb since his return to the first team and he has insisted that he has no plans of leaving despite his mixed season. For a player that was one of Arsenal’s shining lights this season, it must have been painful staying on the bench for a prolonged period with his only chance of playing coming up when there was an injury.

Competition can only bring out the best in these players, which is ultimately good for the team.

Take the left back slot for instance – Kieran Gibbs had an awesome game against Bayern Munich but Nacho Monreal went one better with a goal against Swansea. This is the kind of headache we expect Wenger to be having on a consistent basis with each position in the team.

Like Koscielny, Tomas Rosicky was a bright spark in a somewhat dark campaign last season, but the acquisition of Santi Cazorla has seen Rosicky’s chances in the team deteriorate. The long-awaited return of Jack Wilshere didn’t help his cause either and even with Jackie Boy out injured, Rosicky can’t still command a first team berth.

Rosicky has stated his desire for more first-team football, declaring that he’s in a state of optimum fitness levels, which means that he’d love to get an extended run of games. However, he respects his manager’s decision to leave him out of the team and wants to do his best in training with the hope of getting another chance to show what he’s made of.

At the age of 32, you’d feel that Rosicky’s career is on the decline and he’d like to end on a high. His technical prowess is unrivaled, his eye for a pass is still there and his influence on the pitch has been missed but at this point in time, it would take some stuffing to displace a mainstay like Santi Cazorla from the team.

I’d fancy Rosicky to get a run-out against a team like Reading but on the long run, he’ll be better suited as an impact sub.

With nine games to go and 27 points to play for, one thing remains certain that Wenger would select 11 soldiers in the Premier League run-in. We the fans can only hope that they’ll give their all on the pitch and come back with three hard earned points.


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