So, it’s Tuesday 1st December, which means one thing… one main thing… November is over.
So, we’re 11 points behind Chelsea and there are two ways of looking at our situation – positively or negatively – and of course, yesterday was a bit negative. But today, let’s look forward to the rest of the season and what we can realistically achieve. The problem with Arsenal, and Arsene, is that flashes of brilliance, flashes of emphatic wins, such as Everton away 6-1 – give us hope and give us hope that we didn’t have at the beginning of the season.
At the start of the season, after the departures of Toure and Adebayor, we could only think it would be a struggle to finish in the top four, but 2 months later, we were dreaming of the title. So, let’s put the situation into perspective. We’ve not had a settled team all season and the loss of our influential striker and vice-captain is going to take time to adjust to. Eduardo, we all know, is a quality striker and has proven that both before and after his injury. Playing in a 4-3-3 at the tempo and style we play isn’t something any player can be at his peak at overnight – remember Van Persie didn’t play that well or score in the first five or six games of the season.
As things stand, we’re 11 points behind Chelsea. We’ve played well in every game this season except the Sunderland game. The two losses to Man United and Man City were losses, but within the games, we did play well. What I am trying to say is that it’s not like we’ve played really badly and been over run by other teams. Even against Chelsea, we weren’t outplayed at all. I think we outplayed ourselves with a gung ho attitude that could have proved fruitful or backfired.
If we win our game in hand, then we’re 8 points and we’ve got the rest of the season to catch up the table toppers. We didn’t expect Chelsea to lose to Villa or Wigan, so let’s just wait until January and see where they are and see where we are. We know we’ve got the capability to do better than the league table suggests and it’s time to get behind the team. It’s the 1st of December today, not the first of January. We can’t buy anyone, we can only play players that we have, players that are fit and available.
We need to get behind Eduardo, Vela and the likes. We need to see what Sanchez Watt and Simpson are made of tomorrow and see if they can get involved in and around the first team. There’s a bit of a debate going on regarding the qualities of the kids at this level, but personally, I think Simpson could provide us another option. I do prefer him to Sanchez Watt, who in my opinion does look a little bit lazy. Simpson is energetic and much more direct. A la Bendtner and Van Persie, they have a chance, they shoot, they score. But let’s not worry about Simpson or Watt, we have two very good players in Vela and Eduardo, who need our support and I think both of them have the quality to do well this season and a run out in the team and regular football will facilitate their progress.
I’d expect Simpson, Watt, Wilshere, Merida, Coquelin, Eastmond and company to get a look in tomorrow, but I’d expect to see Eduardo and Vela both get some more game time against Stoke on Saturday at the Emirates. With Walcott also returning to the team, we’ve got finally got genuine competition for places in the team now. Walcott, Arshavin, Nasri, Rosicky can all play on the wings, with Vela and Eduardo fighting it out up front. In the central positions, we’ve got Song, Denilson, Cesc, Ramsey and of course Nasri and Rosicky can also play there. Yes, on the day we weren’t good enough to beat Chelsea, but last season, on the day, at the bridge, we beat them 2-1. What I’m getting at, is that there is so much left in the season and even without Van Persie and Bendtner, we have enough quality to beat the teams in and around us.
Denilson has just returned to the squad and we know what he’s about, we know he offers an alternative to Song and an extra bit of fire power from midfield – and we know that our best middle three is probably Song, Denilson and Cesc. The Brazilian spoke to SSN and had this to say:
“When you lose people say things that we don’t have the experience, but Arsene Wengerbelieves in us, so you have to have confidence. In training you have to focus and you have to believe in him. He gives us the opportunity, you have to show it. Yesterday, Chelsea scored three goals and were better than us. We have to have confidence this season. It’s a long time since we won a trophy, so we have to win a trophy this season anyway.”
Diplomatic and truthful – we do have to win a trophy and we still can. And let’ s not forget we do have the returning Rosicky and Nasri who are both slowly but surely are gaining match fitness and before we know it will both be back to their creative and goal hungry best.
Rosicky spoke about the game and his thoughts moving forward.
“Maybe it would have been different if we had scored the first goal. But you have to say well done to Chelsea, because they were very strong. Chelsea took their chances. We have to keep going, and try our best because there is still a long way to the end of the season. It [to let the season fall apart now] would be the biggest mistake we can do. The next match is vital. After a defeat like this, you need to have a good reaction, if not it will be even more difficult.”
So, let’s forget about the Chelsea game, let’s think about the quality we do have. The amazing football we can play. Let’s think about the quality that Eduardo and Vela have both shown before. Let’s get behind the team and look ahead now. Before the beginning of the season, we were tipped to finish outside the top four. I can definitely say we’ve got rid of that stigma now. Let’s commend the team on what they’ve achieved so far.
We are the Arsenal.