November is the one month of the year that I simply hate – the lesser number of fixtures, the better – down at Arsenal, it’s a bogey month – a month where we lose games that we wouldn’t expect to lose and a month when any form we previously had goes straight out of the window. A 6-0 win against Braga at the Emirates turns into a 2-0 defeat over there – with virtually the same team, give or take a little.
Many people thought that we’d get a massive reaction out of the team after the collapse against Sp*rs and personally, I don’t believe we did. I don’t believe we saw the fight that we want to see from the team. The collective spirit was missing, and worst of all, our actual ability to play football has deteriorated. Many people say Arsenal lack a “plan B”… but what exactly is our plan A? Pass it sideways? When shooting is possible, pass the buck to another player in worse position? What exactly is going to win us this league or any competition?
These players have only one target – that’s the Carling Cup. Djourou has been in the press talking about our desire to win a trophy – well, based on the last 3 defeats in the league and 2 defeats in the Champions League, we’re not ready to win either of those trophies.
“We want to win a trophy. That is the main focus of the team. We have the quality and luckily we are not too far from the top. I feel we can definitely win a trophy this season. It has been a difficult week, we have had two straight defeats but now we have to bounce back. And what better place than Villa? We have the quality to do it. Now it is how much we want it. We are big enough to stand up for ourselves and be ready for Villa. The lucky thing in football is that you can always do better in the next game.”
The only problem with Djourou’s statement is that we did have the opportunity to play better and qualify for the Champions League against Braga after the abysmal result against Sp*rs. The other unlucky thing, in the same manner, is that we can always do worse in our next game.
I don’t want to put a downer on the season, or rid us of all ambition, but if we are going to get anywhere this season, then something has to change.
News is that Cesc Fabregas is out for 2 weeks, so he’ll miss Villa, Wigan (in the Carling Cup), Fulham (at home) and Partizan (at home) in the Champions League – he should be back for the Manchester United game, so that’s good news – also good news to hear Aaron Ramsey coming through 45 minutes of the reserve game. He’ll still be a month or so away from a competitive game, but progress is progress. On the bad news front though, Eboue is out for a month now. I’ve kind of missed him in recent games – I was looking forward to seeing more of him – at least both of these players have a forced Winter break.
Arsene spoke on Cesc:
“It is a big blow because it will question how cautious we have to be in the future with him. Cesc has played 50 games a year since a young age. We may have to be more cautious with him, especially in the next two months.”
As long as we don’t rush anyone back, we should have some fresh players for the second half of this crazy season, and they could last the distance… the last thing we want to do is turn Cesc into a 15 games a season (RvP style) player…
I’ll be back tomorrow, hopefully more enthused, more excited and with a big Aston Villa preview… til then…