Quick post this morning,
I knew it would be difficult for me to make it as a sports writer and last weekend reinforced that believe. Starring at my laptop, locked up alone in a hotel room so I couldn’t even blame been distracted by son and yet I couldn’t find the words to write about our loss to United. Anyways, that’s in the past now and we will have to live with the ghosts of that defeat till a day comes when we finally beat them. That day too will come my friends.
Today, we host Dortmund in a competition were if you asked any Arsenal fan when the draws were made what their real desire was, you would get a unanimous “we have to finish top of this group”. Last season we blew it with the loss to Napoli in Italy and this season our fate seemed sealed when we didn’t get any result away to Dortmund.
Wenger loves to be in the Champions League, it’s almost a thing of ego for him to be here. A competition that showcases the best clubs and coaches in Europe, this is the league he really wants to be playing in. For a man and a club that are so media groomed, one of the biggest media gaffes was the comment that finishing fourth was just like a trophy at the clubs AGM a few years ago.
Almost everything that defines our performances have been drawn against that line. Who Wenger signs, how we play, the fact that we always finish above Spurs, the almost lack of interest to compete with clubs higher up, the players celebrating two seasons ago when we beat Newcastle on the last day to qualify, the lack of wins against the Chelsea, United and Man City in the league just seems to reinforce the fact that the club considers finishing behind those three and making it into the champions league a trophy.
While that statement made by Wenger I feel was taken out of context it still behooves on him and by extension the club to prove that the target should be higher. Struggle to finish fourth, finish second in the group stage, face one of Barca or Bayern in the second round, get knocked out and the cycle continues again. While Wenger would continue to remind everyone of our record in qualifying for the Champions League, I think it’s 18 straight years now, can’t be really bothered to check , the fact is that our role in the competition year in year out is beginning to seem only participatory with no real ambition to win it or even at best go far in it.
You think we are bad in England, but we pale in comparism to Dortmund’s form in their domestic competition. They have struggled to replicate their recent success and are tethering towards the relegation zone. Their domestic and European form however is as different as Micheal Jackson colour when he broke out of the Jackson 5 and when he departed the earth. They come to England without their best player in Marco Reus who was injured yet again during the weekend.
Klopp has been linked with all the top jobs in world football and his recent statement of his desire to coach in England has further raised speculation of him taking over from Arsene Wenger. If a poll was conducted today amongst Arsenal fans he certainly would win it even though he currently is failing to perform in his league.
I wonder if in Klopp, Arsenal fans see a younger version of Wenger. They do actually have some similarities, desire to build their own teams, play free flowing football from the back, passing the ball and allowing technically sound players to express themselves, their abilities to work within limited budgets to unearth real talent and even more recently with Wenger’s shoving Mourinho, they seem to have the same kind of anger on pitch side.
Klopp has his failings too just like Wenger, losing players to bigger clubs and failing to replace them with talent better or equal to what was lost. Immobile is no Lewandoski and bringing Kagawa back does not equal the talent lost with Mario Gotze’s departure. His injury list over the last two seasons have just been as bad as ours and I wonder if training methods, quality of medical staff or signing frail players would be touted as a similar reason.
Today however is not the day to talk about Wenger’s replacement. We are on a terrible run of form and beating Dortmund would be a step in the right direction towards recovery. We only need a draw to qualify and to be honest if anyone offered me one point now I’ll take it with arms wide open. That is how dented my confidence is and can you really blame me or any Arsenal fan who shares a similar opinion?
Good news is that Laurent Koscienly is finally back ,we can rest Nacho Monreal and give him a plaque for his outstanding job holding the forth in the absence of our first choice center back. For all the criticism he might have received, the lad did his best in a position which by his own admission he feels uncomfortable in.
With Kos out a lot of fans called for Chambers to be played in the central defensive position and Bellerin given a run on the right side of defence. I felt the manager did the right thing under the circumstance. The question now is with Koscienly back, would you still rather have Bellerin in place of Chambers at right back? My answer is no and I feel the decision to let Jenkinson go on loan if the manager doesn’t feel Bellerin is good enough to start games was a wrong one.
Have to run now, work starts in a few minutes. Hopefully by the end of the day we would finally have a victory to celebrate. Feels like a very long time. Cheers Gooners #UTA
*1006 words in 28 minutes (that has to be some record right)
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