Last home game of the season, end of a disappointing league campaign, planned lap of appreciation… and yet yesterday, I sat and watched the game with total disinterest. Arsenal have let me down in recent weeks. I believed. I believed we could have won the league (and I still believe we should have done), I believed we should have won the Carling Cup, and I believe that this Arsenal team should have finally done something to prove themselves. Instead all they’ve proved is that they still have no backbone, no real fight.
The most frustrating thing is, I still believe just one player could of made the difference. One Roy Keane / Patrick Vieira type player who dragged the team with him.
Our form since the Carling Cup final has been dreadful: LWDLLDDWDDLWLL. I think that is no coincidence, the Carling Cup final (and probably the 4-4 against Newcastle) must have utterly destroyed the team’s confidence. This is a team who haven’t won for 6 years and conspired to lose their greatest chance of silverware in that time to a horrendous mistake. Mistakes happen, but they also destroy confidence. In fairness to Koscielny and Chesney, the two players involved, they both seem to have put the mistake behind them and improved throughout the remainder of the season – but the rest of the team looks, well, fucked.
Fabregas, struggling with injuries, no longer looks like the predatory midfielder he’s been in the past. Nasri seems to have regressed since his scintillating pre-Christmas form. Arshavin’s legs seem to have deserted him… looking around the team it’s easy to see problems, and not successes.
Even Wilshere, a shoe in for my player of the year, looked tired yesterday and slightly off the pace. That he will be playing through the summer is madness, don’t expect him to feature next season anywhere near as heavily.
Robin Van Persie seemed to be the only other player (Wilshere aside) who gave a shit, and unfortunately the weight of the world on his shoulders doesn’t suit him. Arsenal need him free and ready, able to shrug off the game and score, not be sat in the middle of the pitch trying to run the game for a broken team.
I know we were bad yesterday but despite a promising start the referee was awful. He made two excellent decisions to play advantage and go back when play stopped to book players. After that he lost the plot. Dunne should have walked twice, Petrov should have had a second yellow, Chamakhs goal should not have been disallowed, and obviously the penalty was as clear a penalty as you’ll see this season… but still, we spent all match passing sideways and losing the ball. A good team will win, regardless of the referee. If he disallows your goal, score 2 more, don’t retreat and cry…
Anyway, who knows what the future holds. I’m certainly not in the anti-Wenger camp, because no one has managed to convince me that a) it’s all his fault and b) there is a better alternative. The players have to take responsibility here, a team full of internationals and talented individuals should not conceded 4 goal leads. There is nothing the manager can do when that happens.
Besides, would you rather have Avram Grant, he’s free after all.