Wednesday 22 February 2012

Shut up and get on with the game!

Norwich 0 - Arsenal 5

It has been a tough two weeks for English teams in Italy, with Chelsea losing out to Napoli last evening away from home. To be fair, they did score an away goal but the ease wit which Cavani and Lavezzi tore apart the make shift Chelsea defense was a treat to watch. Chelsea might still have chance in return leg, with the way Napoli defended. For an Italian team, who are mostly organised and disciplined at the back, Napoli were erred a lot. Though they are not as strong as Milan are, they have one of the most potent attacks in world football with Lavezzi+Hamsik+Cavani. If Chelsea manage to keep them quiet then they have a good chance to qualify for the quarter finals. On the other hand, Arsenal will be up against a Milan side, who might not be as strong as you expect them to be, but still fiercely competitive. No point in going over the game, it's still two weeks away. We still have major hurdles to clear before that.

Like I have mentioned before about giving our benched players some chance to get their feet back in motion, Arsenal had a reserve game against Norwich last evening and apparently did quite well. With half of our team derived from the first team, and Norwich playing pretty much with academy players, it was going to be easy. What it did though was to help our out-of-form/less-game-time players to spend some time on the pitch and work out their flaws facing weaker oppositions. Arsenal came out very good scoring 5 goals with Arshavin scoring a brace and Park, Afobe and Benayoun with one each. Park opened the scoring in the 6th minute, though off a shot from Benayoun that struck the post and landed at Park's feet. Though it's not a regular occurrence for a chunk of first team players to play together in a reserve game, it must have helped them with their orientation and maybe a couple more games with the reserves will help them realise their potential, mostly for Arshavin and Park. Although, Park hasn't been given much chance in the first team to display his potential. Afobe and Ozyakup impressed too and might come knocking at the first team door soon.

There isn't much movement or news floating about the first team, maybe because of mid-week or whatever. The biggest news that came out was about RVP and his contract, which apparently might spark another stretched and tiring transfer saga. Arsenal CEO, Ivan Gazidis, has reportedly let RVP know that he won't be allowed to leave Arsenal in the summer and if worse comes to worst, and RVP denies a contract extension, he can leave Arsenal next summer on a Bosman. Sounds a bit too familiar, given that they tried the same with Nasri last summer and in the end succumbed to the transfer amount. However, Nasri is a more replaceable player than RVP. I know people say that no one is irreplaceable and no one is above the team, but you look at our current team and take RVP out of the picture and you will see what I am talking about. According to me, RVP staying with Arsenal depends on two major factors, Arsenal's finishing spot in the league and the summer business we may or may not do. Even if the summer doesn't happen as every fan dreams of it, his decision will be largely based on whether Arsenal plays Champions League next season. If not, it will also be a very tough job attracting top talent to the club, not impossible, but very very tough. Rottenham didn't play Champions League this season, but you can see the desire to be there next season and they are well on their way to compete in Europe next season. But their persistence to keep Modric and not sell him at any cost has helped them a lot to progress this season. I just hope that we don't have to face the same summer they did, or more precisely, the way did.

There are all kinds of news floating about the size of Arsenal's pocket, as they will be this summer. While Arsenal have been lacking in their creative department, the media certainly shows it's skills. Frankly speaking nobody can predict what the financial situation is going to be at the end of the current financial year. If it was as easy to predict the amount Arsenal might have to spend in the summer, then no one would have hired those number crunching geeks to do that, since, apparently even a 10 year old can do the statistics. Still, this makes for an interesting read and has some pointers about the AST meeting to be held with the management. As I said yesterday, no one can force a club/organisation to disclose their confidential information, especially when it comes to finances, the supporters definitely would want to know where exactly the club is heading and about it's plans for future. Arsene's future with the club might well be a point of nervous discussion, but I think I can guess what the management's response to that will be.

Nasri, Mr. know-it-all, has opened up and expressed his opinion regarding Arsenal's current situation,
You have to accept that sometimes it’s good to win ugly. You don’t always have to play good football to win. Arsenal play good football, but after seven years they don’t win so that’s difficult for them. But the manager has a good philosophy. I know he will find a solution. I don’t want Arsenal to fall down. I want them to win things because I have respect for the players there and the manager. But I know from the start I made the right choice because we are top of the league and in the Europa League. After that, what Arsenal do doesn’t matter.
Quite diplomatic, but not very subtle. Only 6 months between all the money and he is the troubleshooting guide for football. I am sure Arsene will listen to his former player's saintly words and regain his senses, HAAH!. Although, if you look at it, where exactly is the pretty football gone? We are not exactly the fluent team that we were last year. Most of our passes are sideways, half of them go back to the keeper, we create very few chances. From being an annoying only-shoot-from-6yards team, we have gone to struggling-to-reach-penalty-box team, which brings us again to the lack of creativity. That leaves Arsene with 4 days to think over his tactics and his creative options.

Let the number crunching begin!

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