- Arsenal boss offers injury update on Cazorla & Giroud
- Ratings: Cech shines but Ozil fails to spark as Arsenal held
- Video: Arsenal 0-0 Boro: Lackluster Gunners drop valuable points
- Teams: Arsenal v Middlesbrough: Cazorla out, Elneny in
- Team news: Wenger’s update on Ramsey, Welbeck, Giroud & Cazorla
- Preview: Arsenal v Boro, team news, line-up & prediction
- [Photos] Arsenal duo step-up injury comebacks in training today
- [Photos] Arsenal boost as injury doubt trains ahead of Boro game
- Arsene Wenger sets comeback date for forgotten Arsenal man
- Arsenal boss confirms fresh injury doubt for Middlesbrough game
The Dream is Over
Even I, Arsenal Station, can now admit that the dream is over. I refrained from posting after the Tottenham match because I didn’t want to make a kind of “end of season” post. However, I still don’t. I will save that for when the entire season is over. Partly because I am in the middle of an incredibly busy few weeks at school and partly because I am still in mourning for our title challenge.
To blow a 2-nil lead by conceding 3 goals in ten minutes to a side that averaged scoring less than a goal per match is something I still do not want to contemplate. Yet, having that come on the heels of our first league loss to Tottenham since I was of a legal drinking age (a long time, needless to say) a damn near suicidal turn of events. I could go through the run-down but you all saw the match. You saw damn near everyone on the pitch in a red shirt struggle except for the one man who many thought shouldn’t even be there.
I expect the end of our run to engender even more ill-will towards Arsene and the lads and the backlash has started pretty quickly. Not reproducing posts like this one on The Online Gooner is why I try to wait a little while before posting after disappointing results. For example:
How much longer can Arsene deploy the argument of youth to justify the lack of progress? This mantra is becoming as tedious as David O’Leary’s copious references to his “babies” while he was manager of Leeds United. Admittedly much of the squad may still be younger than the aforementioned blues and reds above us in the table, but they have had ample time to mature collectively. That they haven’t can only be attributed to the simple fact that they are not good enough.
“Lack of progress?” We have turned an 18-point deficit from last season into single-digits this season. That is partly due to Chelsea and United’s relative weakness to previous seasons but there can be no denying that this side is far better overall than last season and far more mature than the 2007/08 side who bottled it long before this stage.
To say that the side has not matured is ridiculous. A number of players including Song, Diaby, Bendtner, Ramsey, and Gibbs (until his injury) all were much improved over last season. As a whole, the team has matured as well having, before yesterday, lost only once to teams in the bottom half of the table. Beating the teams you should beat consistently is a sign of maturity and we have shown that this season. Don’t let the immediate disappointment blind you to the long-term improvement the side has made this season.
And then there’s Nicklas Bendtner. Does anyone apart from Bendtner and his dad really take him seriously as a footballer? Jesus, he makes Shola Ameobi look like a world class striker.
Nicklas Bendtner’s scoring run in the last two months of the season kept us in the Champions League and in the league race. If you don’t “take seriously” a guy who has scored 9 goals in his last 11 starts during the most crucial part of the season, then you must only take Rooney and Drogba seriously. I mean, what else can the kid do? He scored 16 goals last season from outside the starting XI much of the time.
Unless there is wholesale change, the myth will persist. That change has to start with the manager. If he is not prepared to admit that he is wrong about this latest Arsenal model, and set about rectifying things by (for starters) signing a new goalkeeper, a left back, a central defensive partner for Vermaelen, a couple of midfielders with a bit of bollocks, and a forward who knows how to score regularly and doesn’t care how the goals come, then he should go now before the legacy he has built becomes tarnished.
So “for starters” you want Arsene to go out and buy 6 players? Give me a break. I agree on the keeper and striker and possibly the CB, but a left-back? Why on earth would he spend money on a left-back? I understand that the writer is upset, as am I, over the events of the past week but that is exactly my point. Let’s wait until the season is over and then look back on the progress the side has made.
NOTE: To hear a full-length interview I did with the guys from Arsenal Review USA podcast last week prior the Spurs match where we talked about the club, the blog, and players like Bendtner and Eduardo, go here. The interview was originally used for an episode which also included an interview with 7amkickoff’s Tim Bostelle. Or listen below: