Where did it all go wrong, 5 points ahead 5 games ago, and then 6 points behind now. The reason is the 4 points we've gained out of a possible 15 points. We've choked at the final hurdle, but why? What happened? Where did it all go wrong?
Well, it's not all gone wrong, it's far from it. Yes, we failed at the final hurdle, but with seven games to go, six points behind, there may be one more twist to the title race still. But even if we don't win the title, this season has been a turning point in the world of Arsenal. It's been a year where players have emerged, personalities made and a great progression of the team. The same players who dropped 11 points are the same who've won the previous 56 points. They're the same players who beat Chelsea 1 - 0 and Milan 2 - 0.
During the summer, many people called for big name signings. But Arsene knew the quality, knew the potential and knew what we could achieve. The reason Arsene hasn't bought is because when all our squad is fit, we've got one hell of a squad. With the squad we've got, and the new stadium debt, there is no need to buy big players.
It's been an unfortunate season in terms of injuries, as a few of our current big players have been injured for long periods of time. With Van Persie, Rosicky, Diaby, Denilson, Toure, Walcott, Hleb, Cesc and of course Eduardo suffering injuries which had kept them out of the team for more than 3 games in a row or longer.
The major turning point was surely Eduardo's injury. He got injured at Birmingham, and since then we have had this run. Eduardo was a big player for us and had really complimented Adebayor. But without him, the dynamic of the squad had to change. Ade can't be rested for any game this season and hasn't been since the Carling Cup semi final. Croatia manager said recently that it will be okay for Croatia but for Arsenal it's worse. And it's true.
We've had to rush back VP and he's just getting back to full fitness now. He's another player who've we have missed. He's a big player. And without him all season, it's been hard for the rest of the squad. But with him returning, then we do have hope to get out of this rut and start performing again.
The problem with so many injuries, is that although our first XI are pretty much okay-ish, they can't be rested. When United rotate and swap Rooney & Ronaldo with Tevez & Nani. We can't do that as Eduardo and Rosicky are injured. It means that our players tired quicker and make more mistakes, which at this season become more costly.
Then there is the Anderton of them all, Rosicky. We must remember that it must be even more frustrating for him than it is for us. As he's had to sit on the sidelines during a run we saw us go to the top of the table and he's had to sit and watch us fall from the summit.
Let's remember one individual whom could have been a big bonus right now, that's Lassana Diarra, but he's obviously someone who Arsene felt wasn't right for the club. And if he's not right, then let him leave...
So the question on everyone's lips would be how to rectify this for this season and how do we seriously challenge next season? The answer is not to do too much. Trust Arsene. With more experience for the likes of Bendtner, Walcott, Flamini and Fabregas, we'll be naturally stronger next season.
Keeping our squad fit for the season will be our main target. Having Van Persie & Rosicky fit for the season and squad members such as Diaby & Denilson fit for when they're needed will be the injection we need. We have players returning such as Carlos Vela and Pedro Botelho - the left winger we've all been calling for and then in November, the return of Eduardo.
If Arsene keeps the squad together, with the returning loan players, we will have a squad to be reckoned with. With Gilberto and Lehmann most probably leaving, we will have a reduction in the wage budget which will see just the one or two players in that we need. Our squad next season will be stronger and we don't have to burn the wallet to get there.
We were literally 5% off the title this season, let's see if we can get that 5% next season, and remember we still have a chance this season.
It's not all doom and gloom, in fact, far from it.]]>