Wednesday, 4 May 2011

CAN ARSENAL JOIN IN WITH THE BIG BOYS?

Reflecting on Sunday’s victory I have noticed that refereeing is on the agenda again; primarily based on Alex Ferguson’s rather unfathomable remarks on decisions in big games. The other talking point, in the decision envelope, was the penalties that were not given. Let’s look at the one fact that seems to have been overlooked; The Vidic handball was a penalty as was the foul on Owen, but there is no guarantee that both would have been scored , both would have been missed or a combination. What possibly would have happened would have been a yellow card for Clichy. What definitely would have happened would have been a red card for Vidic and Man Utd reduced to 10 men for the majority of the game. So you see conjecture gives us a set of outcomes, fact gives us one undeniable statistic.

 
Looking further at Sunday’s game it was noticeable that the one thing that was different in terms of our midfield was pace. A Fabregas led midfield is more languid and more about a slow build up whereas the Ramsey Wiltshire midfield gave more of a sense of urgency, and certainly in Premier league terms it is that pace that is a big factor; far more so than in Europe. Certainly Wiltshire is all about getting the ball forward and is ‘heads up’ in his approach. That urgency is lacking in a number of our midfielders; Denilsen definitely lacks it, as does Diaby who tends to overplay and Rosicky who is pedestrian on those occasions when he is selected
After this result it made me ponder the two other great victories at the Emirates this season. There is some positivity to be gleaned from them. The Champions of Europe will be either Barcelona or (in all probability) Man Utd. The Champions of England will be Man Utd or Chelsea. These three teams are unlikable in their own special ways so I don’t really give a hoot about the outcome. What is interesting is that this means that Arsenal would have beaten the European Champions and English champions this season, and been the better team in those games. This is part of the frustration; beating the best and underperforming against the mediocre.
Being a realist there are not going to be wholesale changes in the summer; that is fantasy thinking, but In the 2011/2012 future I would hope to see players such as Vermaelan, Wiltshire, Ramsey, Nasri, Sagna , Szczesny, RVP, Walcott, Chamakh, Gibbs, Djorou, Song all fit and playing with some additions but more importantly the exit of a number of players (no need to mention them, we all know who they are) who are a drain on the wage bill and give nothing on the pitch, because wouldn’t it be great if we were looking ahead to the next couple of weeks like Chelsea, Man Utd and Barca are and not looking back on what might have been. Whether our current Captain is part of the future remains to be seen; another summer of ‘Arsenal player to Europe’ speculation awaits.

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