Thursday 16 February 2012

There's always a next time..

Down but not out.
 How do we begin to define the catastrophe that struck last night? Against a very non-Milan side, the mediocrity had to hit the team together. Although, it shows that when we win we lose as a team and when we lose, we lose as one. You can analyse that in your own way. Not a single player rose to the occasion yesterday, barring some few RVP shots on goal and The Ox later on. As we rightly predicted, Ox started on the bench, but came later on to show that bit of spark. If I can predict Arsene Wenger's tactics with minimal thought, just imagine the analysis from other professionals.

It was a bit too single dimensional. For me, Ramsey and Rosicky are too similar and very predictable playing together. The variety and the element of surprise is just not there. We had that element in Ox and Arsene decided not to start him. Immediately after he was brought on, the difference was visible, the defenders were doubling up on him, they were tracking him and were in general aware of what he could do. What is the use of the 12mill spent, if you don't play him in such a crucial match. I agree he is young, and no one would criticise him if he came off a bit low on his performance, at least we know he would try and not fade to anonymity like his Saints team-mate. n an interview with The Telegraph, Dennis Bergkamp had some very harsh words to say about Arsenal, although true. He criticises,
I feel there are a lot of similar players there at the moment, it needs to be more diverse.
You need a few strong characters who can get the team going, in training as well as matches. You also need a few players who can make a difference in terms of scoring goals. I don’t feel there are enough of them.
We could have thrown in Arshavin, who knows, might have added that bit of variety down the flank. But the midfield just isn't feeling cohesive enough. Dennis talks about the midfield from his playing days,
You look at the midfield and compare it with ours.We had Freddie Ljungberg, Robert Pires, Ray Parlour – when it wasn’t working for one of the big names, one of these could step up.
You can’t only depend on one or two players. When they’re having an off day, you need someone else.
And what a midfield that was, add to that list the name of Patrick Viera and its a demon with four hands waiting to just devour you. But do you really need a veteran like Bergkamp to be able to see these issues? Even a half-witted friend of mine, whose knows football as well as a fish knows the land, can see this. Wenger has blindly stuck to his beliefs for too long now. You know something is wrong when even the most  ardent AW supporter starts questioning the tactics.

I don't want to analyse the game too much, since it is crystal clear and anything I try to say would be criticism which has no meaning after the damage has been done. More than the players, it is for Wenger to decide how to react to this, how to design his tactics for the second leg. Clearly the 4-3-3 isn't working and we simply don't have the resources for that formation. I have no doubts about the mental strength or desire of this team, but it would definitely needs rearrangement. The full backs didn't get much chance to overlap, or more to be more precise, didn't have the drive to do that. That needs to change, and the wingers need to support them.

Walcott and Ox are very different when it comes to the wings. Ox has the ability to come in field, Walcott doesn't have that and he doesn't deserve the 80K per week that he is looking for in the new contract. Gervinho & Ox should be played on the flanks and when they come in, it'll give RVP a chance to come out and add to creating chances. We cannot afford a player like RVP to simply act as a poacher, maybe in the Eduardo days. Ramsey just doesn't look like an attacking midfielder, he is an excellent creator and should play just ahead of Arteta or alongside him. Arteta was clearly overwhelmed by the opposition last night and if we are to have any control over the second leg, he needs to get his bearings right. Song has to curb his attacking instincts(?), stick with the defense, since the defense is just not looking "together". Without Per that quality was missing, his communication with the players next to him and ahead of him is good. Walcott has to be used as an impact player and so does Arshavin.

Just because it is not realistic, I don't agree that we should give up on the hopes of coming up with a positive result. Forget the aggregate score and get on with the game. I am sure if it was Milan instead Blackburn, we would have at least managed 4, if not 7. Arsene says,
Let's be realistic, we don't play in dream world. Maybe two per cent or five per cent statistically. We have to show a completely different performance and you never know. But, you have to say, realistically, we are out of the competition.
I mean come on, he's lost it even before we have played. Realistic is just a fancy word for quitters and that attitude has to change, and Wenger has to change that. We have another important game this weekend, and another cup competition we have to do good in. Its definitely going to be difficult, but definitely not impossible. Only a fool would write off Arsenal at this stage, stranger things have happened!

Though this wasn't exactly how an Henry farewell should have been, but we still benefited  from his experience. His contribution in the past 6 weeks has been invaluable and it should have left a lasting impression on the team. Hope he comes back soon! Au revoir!

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