Today saw Arsenal hold their AGM at Ashburton Grove. I've always wanted to go to this event, but I have never been a shareholder so it's kind of forbidden. Nowadays, thanks to the internet, the unwashed masses like us also get to know what went on behind closed doors, through the official website. Aside from the usual flannel given by the Chairman etc the shareholders are addressed by Arsene Wenger, who then answers some hand-picked questions from the floor. One particular part of the reports on www.arsenal.com concerned Wenger's view on "big matches." I am astounded at what he said, but it kind of explains why we keep losing them:
“I’m not against defending. Most of the big games are not decided by defending, they are decided most of the time by the first goal.” (http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/-big-games-are-decided-by-the-first-goal)
Surely I'm not the only one who can see the problem with this, am I? It's true that the scorer of the first goal will win most matches - but that kind of underlines the importance of not conceding. If you don't let in a goal you have more chance of winning the game, do you not? To suggest that Chelsea did not beat Arsenal, a couple of weeks ago, through their ability to defend is simply missing the point completely. Such was Arsenal's dominance of possession they would have beaten almost any other team in Europe, but against a team as good at defending as Chelsea they created nothing, and got caught out twice defensively themselves. I'm sure Wenger thinks most of the fans are as thick as his players, so can't see through some of the crap he is wont to come out with.
Arsene also talked about the future of Cesc Fabregas - http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/-i-hope-fabregas-will-stay-for-many-years-. Wenger stated that he is "confident we will keep him for a few more years." This is really quite a statement from the Arsenal manager. To describe himself as "confident" that Fabregas will stay is a big surprise. We all hope that this is the case, while probably accepting that the Captain will not be here next season. Until such time as Fabregas starts making similar statements I will continue to expect the worst. At least with Wilshere and Nasri looking competent in Fabregas' position, and Ramsey (please God) returning, we have some potential replacements already in the squad.
Other stuff from the AGM is available on the official website.
In other news Wenger has admitted that Thomas Vermaelen's injury is a bad one, but Sky are reporting he will be back in mid-November. I will not be holding my breath. Bacary Sagna is due to return on Sunday, which is ahead of schedule if my memory serves me right. I wouldn't be keen to see him walk straight back in to the team and would rather see Eboue continue at full-back on Sunday. Sagna has struggled over the past 18 months and perhaps being dropped might do him some good.
Tomorrow is another day, and I will be previewing the Man City game in this very place - something to look forward to.