Wednesday, February 17, 2010

so THAT'S why Almunia hasn't been dropped...


Cheap, half-assed solutions to very real problems will only lead to more and more nights like this. Manuel Almunia is a laughing stock, and many Arsenal fans have wondered how he can continue to hold down a first team place. They got their answer tonight.

There are probably valid complaints to be made, but those complaints are buried under the weight of evidence that suggests an end to Arsene Wenger's project should be on the horizon. Ok, the referee could probably claim an assist for the winning goal, with the way he demanded the ball off Fabianski before allowing Porto to walk the ball in. But to say that was the only factor involved is to do a disservice to the sheer stupidity that now seems endemic to this team. And let's be fair, Porto were clever- so round one goes to rubbish but clever ahead of good but stupid.

Also, something that is consistently ignored amongst the furore over whatever injustice has befallen Arsenal this time is that games do not end in the immediate aftermath of a poor refereeing decision. More than a half hour left in the game, and what did Arsenal show? Abou Diaby falling to pieces; Wenger making stupid changes, putting on that Championship player Walcott for our best performer Rosicky; captain Cesc Fabregas again preferring to pout and moan about tackles and, for me, making it pretty clear that his mind is made up as regards this Summer. He looked disinterested for most of the game, and it's sad it's come to this, with the blame lying squarely at the manager's door. You can say you feel let down by the way Fabregas has performed in the last few games but he's a 22 year old being asked to carry a team. What tonight showed was that if he can sometimes manage to carry them, the team certainly can't function against above-average opposition (which is all Porto are) without him trying a leg.

He justt looks at the end of his tether with this mess, and you can't really blame the guy. Since 2008, this question has been hanging over Arsenal, whether Wenger is going to do enough to make Fabregas stay. He's failed himself, he's failed Fabregas, and he's failed all of us with this shambles. It is almost like he weighed up the two options and said, he'd rather pick up 40 million quid for Fabregas, than risk spending a bit of money trying to build a winning team around him. I know he was always going to leave eventually, but it didn't have to be so soon, and without ever surrounding him with the type of teammates who would convince the boy that there is success to be had at Arsenal.

I know that we could and should turn it around in the second leg, but that changes none of what I've said. All that's at stake is whether we muddle on in the competition til we meet a side good enough to inflict more humiliation on us, or just bow out now and concentrate on finishing as high as we can in the league. Of course, Arsene Wenger will want to stay in the tournament, because every new round means more money to spend on these FUCKING SHITBAGS' CONTRACTS!!!

I dread to think what he will do with that 40 million in the summer.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Odhran, Danny Mag here. Still really enjoying the blog. What I will say though is that I'm part of the other side of the fence - the 'idealistic' brigade that supports Arsene to the ends of the world and back.

It's frustrating that we have lost the games we have this season but I don't think it requires drastic-enough action to sack my hero [tee hee]. I think Arsene has raised the expectation level in his 13 years at the club so high that inevitably the fans demand success like a junkie demands his next fix.

When we lost so convincingly at home to Man Utd and Chelsea, I was really disappointed and dejected but soon after felt a bit of perspective was needed - did I want to be supporting a club who has won a (significant) trophy in the last couple of years and are now close to liquidation because of it, or did I want to be supporting a team that is consistently competing for major honours and are totally financially self-sufficient? I would have to say the latter.

I know some things frustrate the fans when it comes to Wenger's transfer policy, but I have trust in the man to build a team that can always compete at the highest level. My problem is with the hugely-inflated financial market that our team exists within now - players don't want to be part of the boss's long-term project and jump ship as soon as a rival club flashes the cash (Flam, Hleb, Adebayor, Fab...?).

There's no doubting it's a young team and perhaps Wenger is to blame for not adding more experience to it in the hope of turning winning potentiality into actuality. However, I respect his vision and I'd like to see a little bit more respect from the fans with what he is trying to achieve.

I think continuity is the key to success. In 07/08, we looked like genuine title contenders for large parts of the season but inexperience seemed to cost us in the run-in which was aided by unfortunate injury losses to in-form players (Eddie and Rosicky). Two out of four of that midfield left in the Summer and our star-striker was flirting with a bevy of European giant beauties. Despite this, we still managed to finish in a Champions League position the following season and reach the quarter-final and semi-final of the CL and FA Cup. I just feel we need to keep this current group together as long as possible and then we will start to see the rewards.

If you haven't been bored to death by my micro-rant so far, I just want to say I wasn't having a go at you - just presenting my side of the Arsenal fence. I just love an Arsenal debate and enjoy hearing all opinions on the club.

I just want to re-iterate the fact that I'm loving reading the blog and find myself drawn to it as frequently as possible.

'Show me a world with no opinion and I'll show you a world not worth living in' (Maguire, 2010)

Keep up the good work!