Saturday, 12 March 2011
Man Utd 2 - 0 Arsenal - How many more times?
Manchester United were able to play against Arsenal tonight without bothering to play with a midfield. When I saw the line-ups it was clear that this was Arsenal's opportunity of a lifetime. They will never again play against such a weak Man Utd team. Edwin Van der Sar was awarded the man of the match and, yes, he made some saves - but almost all of them were regulation stops. Arsenal failed to beat him, rather than him making wonder saves. At the other end United made sure with their first two opportunities of the match, both of which were handed to them on a plate by Arsenal.
How many more times will we be forced to watch an Arsenal team that includes Abou Diaby and Denilson? The first goal came because Denilson failed to make a challenge in midfield, and then watched as the player that had run past him applied the finishing touch. This is not the first time we've seen Denilson make the same errors. I am sick of watching it. Diaby, meanwhile, slows down the game every time the ball goes anywhere near him - there is no hope of a quick break with him getting in the way. Having got the ball, and dwelt on it, he always chooses the wrong option so the move breaks down. We've seen all of this time and time and time again. And yet Arsene Wenger fails to see it.
United's second goal was down to Kieran Gibbs and his complete inability to defend. Gibbs spent the first-half making Rafael look like a winger, so badly was he outplayed by him. When he rushed out at Valencia for the second goal he simply opened up the penalty area for Man Utd's attackers. The heroic Djourou stopped Hernandez, but Rooney reacted to it before anyone and left Almunia (outstanding again) with no chance whatsoever. I apologise to Gael Clichy for ever considering that Gibbs should replace him - the boy has been an embarrassment when he has played this season. That crucial second came directly after Koscielny had contrived to miss our best chance of the game.
It's difficult in my current frame of mind to write rationally. I am fed up with what we've witnessed these past two weeks. I wrote on the day after the Carling Cup Final that our season could be over by tonight - and with the serious injury to Johan Djourou it most certainly is. Ultimately, whatever the failings of the likes Denilson, Diaby, Rosicky and co, the blame for Arsenal's situation lies at the feet of Arsene Wenger. For the past four years we have seen our season fall apart around this time. In each of those years he has been implored by the fans to spend in January, and make the signings that would make us strong enough to get over the line. We all know where we are short, even before the injuries begin. Arsene Wenger is too arrogant, and too stubborn, to do anything about it. The man is too powerful, apparently surrounded by yes-men who will do nothing to convince him that he is wrong. He tells us that this is his best squad ever. Does he think we're stupid? Does he honestly believe that any of us are thick enough to fall for such nonsense? You can see what sort of character most of them have when Scholes kicks Nasri and yet only Jack Wilshere and Samir himself are trying to get around him (incidentally how many times over the past twenty years have we seen Scholes half-maim people with disgusting fouls, only to get away with it?)
Wenger has done great things at Arsenal. We have seen our finest players and our finest football during his time. But his time is over. It is time to go. I've had enough of watching this crap. There are only so many times you can watch the same old rubbish, making the same mistakes. Arsene Wenger's legacy will not be the great teams, or the great football. Sadly, it will be what we've seen since we moved to the new stadium. Wenger was behind the move. He told us we had to move in order to compete in the transfer market. We've been there for five years now and we are far worse off in the soulless bowl than we were at Highbury. The experience of going to Arsenal with the people you got to know over years and years is no longer there, and we do not have a team capable of winning trophies - it is all down to Arsene Wenger, and it is becoming unforgivable now. For all those twats who think there is no Arsenal without Wenger they simply need to know that Arsenal were around for long enough before him, and will be around after he has gone.
Now we have the rest of the League campaign to get through (you'll notice I didn't say "look forward to.") I added a poll to the blog last night asking if we can win the Title with Almunia in goal. It seems an irrelevance now as the absence of Johan Djourou puts an end to any hopes anyway. We will have Squillaci and Koscielny together to the end of the season now, unless Kyle Bartley is brought back from Rangers (assuming he can be recalled). Why is he on loan in the first place when we know we are short of centre-halves? Nicklas Bendtner was "ill" today so missing from the bench - this left us with only a half-fit Robin Van Persie and Marouane Chamakh (another man missing an open goal today - again) as attacking options. Of course we could have had Carlos Vela or Jay Emmanuel-Thomas on the bench, but they are clearly better served by playing for somebody else on loan.
As you might have guessed I am thoroughly p****d off right now. I probably shouldn't have written this just yet, but I don't think the sentiment would be any different later on, or even tomorrow. There will be no blog tomorrow, but I will reflect further on Monday morning.