Sunday, 19 April 2009

It's a circular argument

The anti-Wenger brigade are out again. As we didn't win today, rather than taking the result on the chin, there's a feeling that knives have to be sharpened. Wrong.

It's just ridiculous. Through March and April, we've been the form team in the Premiership. We lose one match, and suddenly, Wenger is heckled from all quarters.

Some hard facts: the best defensive combination at the club is Gallas/Djourou. Wenger even admitted last year that Gallas and Touré are too small to play together. So the reality is, that we were missing out best 5 defensive players today. FIVE: and crucially, whilst this Chelsea team may have been shaky at the back, they have been scoring goals up front. Four, against a first-choice Liverpool defence. And frankly, it's the defence where the match has been lost today.

Fabianski has time to progress. Goalkeepers are at their best in their thirties and Almunia is infinitely better than he was even a couple of years ago. But ultimately, the hard truth is this: Fabianski was too rash in charging out from his goal today. He got away with it once; the second time, Drogba took advantage.

Why, cannot we as Arsenal fans accept that this is what happenned?

It isn't as if Wenger has even done anything wrong. It's a case of damned if you do, damned if you don't.

The charge: playing Diaby and RVP instead of Arshavin and Song.

How this can be construed as tactical incompetence is beyond me: Wenger knew we were defensively weak today: he knew we needed goals. So his team selection was spot on - Diaby and RVP are both more attacking players than Song and Arshavin.

So to argue that those two should have started is stupid. We would have been even more exposed at the back. We'd have given Chelsea free rain to bear down on our goal.

The other complaint is Denilson was picked instead of Song. Well, you can't have your cake and eat it: either the fresh players should be picked or they shouldn't; if they should, then Denilson was the right pick. If they shouldn't then Arhsavin doesn't play.

This wasn't a case of the chickens coming home to roost on previous mistakes. No-one could have forseen 5 first-choice defensive players getting injured.

And perhaps more pertinently, this was not a thrashing: this was Chelsea nicking a late winner because of a mistake from a young goalkeeper. It's a tough result and it's not a good day. But this season lives on: the Champions League tie is winnable.

Maybe Arshavin should have started. But then people would have complained we'd have lost RVP's ability to conjure something out of nothing, or Ade's aerial threat. Without wanting to drop yet another cliché in, hindsight's always 20-20: it's very easy to point out post-match that the team selection was flawed.

A bleak day to be a gooner, but not a black day: we were unlucky.

Keep the faith,

(Sorry about the huge break between posts, but I've been enormously busy. Sorry!


Carl Peter said...

I'm sure you would forgive me for having expected something half decent after so long without a blog! Poor show Bernie!

DebbyT said...

first, not sure about saying Diaby is more attacking thatn Arshavin...?

and second, by 'free rain' did you mean 'free reign' perchance...?