Woeful Gunners and Man City in miry clay
Woeful Gunners and Man City in miry clay
No self-respecting Arsenal fan will agree with Arsene Wenger’s view that qualifying for the Champions League is more important than winning trophies. That reduces the club’s objective to battling with the likes of Tottenham Hotspurs, Everton or Newcastle United for qualification spots, instead of locking horns with the Mancunian twin towers and Chelsea for English supremacy.
Seriously, that view from the Professor is a smack to the face of any diehard fan, especially on the back of two humbling defeats. The Gunners’ tickets are among the highest priced in the premiership, and not only that, it seems the club’s hierarchy is only interested in making profits and not wiping the dust from the club’s trophy cabinet.
That view point could be what made a plethora of stars like Cesc Fabregas, Robin van Persie, Alex Song, and Mathieu Flamini, et al, to look for greener pastures away from the Emirates. We were quick to hurl our vitriol at them, but in all honesty, a world class player success is based on the number of trophies he wins, and not the amount of money he’s helping the club’s shareholders make.
Away from the board and onto the pitch. The Gunners’ defense, that began the season well by not conceding in the first three league games, is being brutally exposed. If Norwich had enough chances to shock Arsenal’s rearguard in their solitary goal win at Carrow Road, Schalke 04 put that defense to the sword. It wasn’t the kind of awareness Steve Bould had brought into the team, and with Andre Santos seemingly oblivious of his surroundings, Antonio Valencia and his Man United cohorts will have a field day come November 3rd.
The attacking play has looked out of sorts too in the last two consecutive games. Santi Carzola was leading the orchestra before the international break; he was nullified in the matches after. Gervinho has appeared as more of a liability than an asset, and, though no one wants to admit, the North Londoners do miss Robin van Persie, or a player of his mould.
The squad is still decent, capable of amassing enough points to battle with continental heavyweights, but the overall quality has been dwindling, and that’s a fact. But to spare their blushes of eating a humble pie, today, the Gunners will be facing Queens Park Rangers. Three points will be collected. Anything less than that and, oh wait, we’ve been there before in seasons’ past.
If Arsenal are frugal, Man City are their equal opposites. The Citizens are floating on Arabian oil, with so much money they can even afford to pay their current millionaires double their weekly wages. Not that they will, and certainly not based on the unconvincing performances that have been their season.
Winning the premiership is a great achievement, retaining the same level of success is not as easy as it looks. As Blackburn Rovers. The 1991/95 champions are playing in the Championship. Vincent Kompany and Joleon Lescott are not the lynchpins they were last season, and in the attacking lineup, it seems only Edin Dzeko is to the forwards what Joe Hart is to the defense.
Forget the West Bromwich win last weekend. Okay, that was what champions are made of, what with winning mentality oozing from their ranks. But if Roberto Mancini and his men had thought that victory would cement a winning mentality, Ajax Amsterdam called the bluff. Rooted at the bottom of the fiery group of death in the Champions League with only one point, progression even into the Europa League may prove too much for the nouveau riche Mancunians.
The Italian gaffer complained that top players should be able to adapt to different tactics, but clearly Micah Richards and Lescott didn’t buy that. And maybe not even the rest of the players. With a squad that is the envy of even top flight clubs, this week must have been tough to reconcile the state of mind at Carrington.
Let’s hope they’ve learnt something when they take on Michael Laudrup’s Swansea. Let’s hope they’ve received a wakeup call. This evening, just like Arsenal, the Moneybags should be able to bag the three points, not only because they can take on the Swans at Etihad, but because they have a point to prove to their doubters and critics after the Ajax demolition.
Saturday 27th October
2:45pm Aston Villa – Norwich, Villa Park, SS3
5pm: Arsenal – QPR, Emirates Stadium, SS3 and KissTV
5pm: Wigan Athletic – West Ham, DW Stadium, SS5
5pm: Stoke City – Sunderland, Britannia Stadium, SS7
7:30pm Man City – Swansea, Etihad Stadium, SS3