Friday, 15 January 2010
As we enter 2010 i looked back at The Champions League semi final in 2009, perhaps our lowest point of the decade,
Heres what i wrote at the time;
Last night was when the chickens of Wenger's philosophy came home to roost. The five year plan has not gone accoding to plan.
There are certain games that are defining; England v Hungary in the 50s, Barcelona v ManUtd in the 80's. These are games when the realisation that change is needed hits home.
Wenger needs to start reflecting right now. Out-classed by the players on the pitch and out-thought by Ferguson on the bench.
There was no Henry to their Ronaldo, No Bergkamp to their Rooney, No Pires to their Anderson, No Vieira to their Carrick, No Lehman to their VanDerSaar, No Campbell to their Ferdinandand, and on and on. Even the supporting cast were better.
Mitigation is that proven players like Eduardo,Rosicky,Arshavin, Gallas were missing. However the modern game is about squad depth; something the teams that we are trying to compete with have. It's also about balance and team selection and these are the two key areas in which Wenger falls short. I say this because no one knows the financial situation at the club. If there has, and is, money available to buy quality 'finished' players then Wenger has nowhere to go in mitigating his errors of judgement.
But lets look at what he has done with the players available on the three occassions he had to redeem a season of mediocrity; the FA Cup Semi and the Champions League Semi. His selection against Chelsea bordered on the insane! in the first leg at old Trafford we were creatively nutured with players being overly cautious and having restrictive roles. But last night, last night takes the biscuit. The first goal was unortunate but even before the game it was evident that we would need 3 so that was not a disaster. The second however was a catastrophe, a catastrophe that Wenger dd not have an answer to, other than bringing on Eboue at half time at left back! Bendtner, who had sparkled on Saturday did not get on until the 70th minute. What was Wenger expecting? an Arshavin 4 goal haul perhaps. From 2-0 on Wenger sat inactively not knowing what to do and this indecision was decisive, for United.
Lest this turn into an exended moan abour Arsene, let's not forget some of the performances. Adebayor needs to make that big money move to serie A ASAP. Walcott cannot perform with the Hand cuffs on and wasn't it ironic that the first time we ran into the box with the ball we got a break with the penalty.
There are players at the club who are good there's no denying that, and some that have improved but there is also an underlying lack of experience to ofset youth.
Five years is a long time to have the words 'if', 'potential' and 'could' bandied about. are we to become another Tottenham, always looking at next year to be the one?
Take stock Arsene. My opinions are just that; opinions. But the facts are there plain and simple
* in the last 5 years we have won nothing
* in the last 5 years we have dropped into a fourth place team
* in the last 5 years we have not bought enough proven big players (ie;Alonso,Torres, Ribery all linked at one stage)
* in the last 5 years we have seen the undefeated champions team dismantled and not adequately replaced
* in the last 5 years we have seen mystifying team selections become the norm
* in the last 5 years we have seen strange substitutions become a regular thing
* in the last 5 years we have dropped points against so called 'lesser' teams
* in the last 5 years we have seen a policy that is over reliant on youth but doesn't show enough faith in that youth
Please take stock Arsene, change tack,see the things that more and more of us supporters can see need addressing.
I just hope that Wenger's hubris does not cost the club damage that wil take another 5 years to fix.
..well there you have it. Have things changed?
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