Sunday, 3 April 2011
The worst so far
Earlier in the week I read how Saatchi and Saatchi's "Labour Isn't Working" billboards were voted among the top three most memorable poster campaigns in history. Perhaps we could club together to get billboards put up around St Albans saying something like "4-3-3 isn't working," with a picture of the Arsenal Manager. Throughout the match yesterday we struggled to break down Blackburn, but the formation remained the same. Three attacking substitutions were made (the wrong players were replaced) yet we still played with just the one central striker. It was crying out for Arsenal to go for it in the last half-an-hour, yet we just kept plodding on with Van Persie, and then Chamakh, as the only "threat" to the pedestrian Samba and Nelsen. Nicklas Bendtner was again deployed to the right wing (in fairness he did okay on the ball, but still missed two good chances with his head - the prick sitting two rows back from me was abusing him before he'd even touched the ball). I would suggest that, when you're desperate for a goal, you might as well get the big men through the middle and put the ball up to them. Instead of that we removed Nasri, Arshavin (I thought he was our best attacking player yesterday) and Walcott (our only pace in the side) - the only players likely to get the ball in from wide areas. At half-time it was crying out for a change in philosophy - horses for courses and all that. Instead we got the same old crap because, of course, Arsene knows.
The boos that rang around the stadium at the final whistle were well deserved. I like to think that they were aimed firmly at the Manager. It's all very well getting on the backs of people like Almunia (the man's confidence is completely shot to pieces) and Bendtner and Chamakh (I can't understand how he is becoming a boo-boy for the clowns that now frequent Arsenal matches), but the fact is that they are all selected by Wenger. They don't ask to play. They don't tell the Manager who to pick (nobody tells Wenger what he is doing wrong - that's half the problem).
I thought the two centre-backs played really well for Arsenal yesterday. With Alex Song having an absolute nightmare (I doubt we'll see Song again this season after he soldiered through the last twenty minutes on one leg - he should have been the one removed when Fabregas came on) they had to be on their mettle. Koscielny found a new dominance in the air from most of the long-balls played forward by Blackburn, while Squillaci made one magnificent defensive header late in the second-half. Gael Clichy worked his socks off yesterday, and delivered some superb balls in to the opposition box, only for Robin Van Persie to have decided he's far more likely to score from getting out of the penalty area! Apart from those three I felt Arshavin was the only other player to emerge with credit. He started poorly, but ended up dominating the first-half. In the second-half he played one lazy back-heel and was immediately given the hook by Wenger - utterly ridiculous.
I could go on and an about what happened in the game, but it would only become more and more depressing for us all. Suffice to say that we are simply not good enough. One thing I would pass comment on was the rapturous reception for Fabregas - I can't understand why he gets one. He is rapidly turning in to Arsenal's Hristo Stoichkov (who he, no doubt, saw playing for Barcelona as a youngster) such is his desire to take all free-kicks and corners, and get involved in every move. When he took our only free-kick in a good area, having pushed Van Persie out of it, I couldn't quite believe what I was seeing.
The Premier League is the weakest it has ever been (don't listen to any nonsense about the smaller clubs improving - just look at our squad, or Chelsea, or Man Utd, compared with five years ago and see how the quality has fallen), and Arsenal have wasted the chance to win it. Manchester United look like walking away with the Title without ever hitting the heights - that's how poor this League has been this season. At least Wenger finally gave an honest assessment after the game yesterday when he talked about the performance - that's the closest you'll ever get to hearing him publicly criticising his players. It's been a miserable four or five weeks and I can't honestly see it getting any better next week at a determined Blackpool.
I can't finish without commenting on Wayne Rooney's behaviour yesterday. I've just watched it on Youtube and it just about sums him up. Rooney is a very fine footballer, but he is scum. He is everything one would associate with the very worst of horrible scousers. The FA must throw the book at him, but I bet they won't.
I was also interested when watching Chelsea's highlights, and seeing David Luiz getting torn a new backside by Stoke City's forwards - just imagine what would be said about such lightweight defending had it been an Arsenal signing.