Monday, March 24, 2014

No Apologies - Just Performance Please

The sun still rises in the morning even after the demolition that Arsenal went through on Saturday.  Goonerdom and Twitter imploded, the club went into lockdown, and the media speculated over the future of Arsene.  None of the after effects shocked me.  There are those Gooners who get abusive, the media needs to sell papers, the club needed some quiet, and time needed to pass.
Two days later, many are still critical, but less over-the-top.  The media have posted stories of Arsene retiring in two years, rather than at the end of the season, and the club are talking again.  Although, apologies from Arteta and quotes like this from Arsene make me wish they had chosen to maintain radio silence:

"An accident has happened, that doesn't mean that you're not a good driver," he told Arsenal Player.
"It just means that we have played about 40 games this season and it's not what happened on Saturday that reflects the quality of this team. We have 62 points that we earned hard with quality games and that's what we want to focus on, to get back to that quality. We go back to basics."

If by accident, Arsene is referring to a 40 car pile-up on the interstate, than I agree.  Otherwise, I'm just going to assume he is protecting the players and the privacy of what was said behind closed doors.  That assumption is for my own sanity because I refuse to believe he's that out of touch.

Really all we want as fans is to see our team look like they want to challenge each and every opponent - squashing those who get in our path.  And we want the manager to make decisions that reflect his tactical nous - not his tactical no.

What it comes down to for now is the next game - Swansea on Tuesday.  Because we're The Arsenal and luck usually shows us her backside, Koz is out with a calf injury.  Hector Bellerin has been promoted to fill in for him (on the bench) while Vermie has a chance to shine in the next few games as the on-field replacement. 

Gibbs will start at left-back as both he and Ox are available.  Ox's red-card has been rescinded.  Whether the FA has just decided to give Ox a break as an apology for the embarrassing mistake or they truly believe he did not deny a clear goal-scoring opportunity, who knows.  And who care.  We have both back, and I think Ox should start.  Get him back on the horse - but on it's wing (apparently the horse is Pegasus).  We need some sort of speedy outlet for our midfield, and if he starts to give the ball away, at least it will be in less dangerous areas.  Santi, if he's not too fatigued from running his dogs off on Saturday, can pull those strings in the middle.  Let's not forget Serge or Kallstrom, neither have seen much/any playing time recently.  Swansea might be the game for them coming off the bench.

The most important thing is winning those three points, not to battle for first, but to make sure we lock down a Champions League spot, and get some of our confidence back as well as the goodwill of the fans.  Wenger has a lot of buying to do in the summer, and having the opportunity to play in Europe is, as we know, a draw for world class footballers.  And we need this squad really to face Man City on the weekend.  That's it for now.  See you in the funny papers.

Have a good one you Gooners.

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