What a world-wind weekend that was. The Oxlade Chamberlain debacle has overshadowed the whole weekend. A weekend where Man City beat Sp*rs and Man United beat us to make it a two horse race at the top of the table and make it a massive up-hill climb for us, now in 5th and needing a miracle to finish in the top four. Our performance against United in the first half was woeful and the missing Arteta is a player who we can’t function without. Which, in itself is worrying. Tactically, things weren’t right, and the players do not seem to be on the same page.
For the first time in a very long time, most AKB’s are now questioning our performances, our transfer activity and of course, after Oxlade was substituted on the weekend, are questioning our manager’s ability to make substitutions. A few people who wouldn’t say a bad word against Arsene – ever – are now doubtful about whether he’s been on top of his own game for the last 6 months. Whereas I am still a fan and don’t believe it’s entirely the manager’s fault, there are questions about signings and subs which can’t be ignored.
After Arsene subbed Oxlade, we went on to lose the game. Whether or not we would have won the game if Oxlade stayed on is debatable, but the reaction of Arsene post game… stating that he’s made over 50,000 substitutions in his time and the one line:
“If I’ve made a mistake, I’m sorry.”
Sums it all up for me – he made a mistake. Following that issue, he did then go on to say that the player was injured… whether or not you believe it. His former coach at Southampton did speak tot he player and confirmed that there was no problems with Alex continuing…
“He said, first and foremost, that he was super happy with his first match from the start, while he was pleased to have played well. I also got confirmation from Alex that he was neither tired or injured.”
Should we trust the manager? Or did he make a mistake? Did he then lie about it? Are we right to question the manager?
Van Persie certainly questioned him Ox was substituted, but since then the captain has released this statement:
I was not having a go at the boss on Sunday — I was just sad to see Alex leave the pitch as he just gave the assist for our only goal. I was not questioning his judgment — I know it’s not my place to challenge what Arsene Wenger does. He is the boss, he makes the decisions and that’s it… end of story. I have worked with the boss long enough to know there’s always a good reason behind his decisions — and there was again on Sunday. When Arsene makes a decision, it is based on a lot of information that everyone else might not know about and he will never betray. I admire him so much for that. As he said after the game, he doesn’t have to explain his substitutions to anyone. He was right to remind everyone that he has been in the job 30 years and made 50,000 substitutions — why on earth should he have to justify each and every one of them? He has all the information, he knows when a player is carrying a small injury, or has been ill, or is tiring. Arsene’s remarkable success in the game is proof enough that his decisions are made from knowledge and experience. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had a calf injury. We did not know that but the boss did and brought Andrey Arshavin on. I have a lot of respect and admiration for Arsene Wenger. He is one of the best football coaches in the world, with a brilliant record of success here at Arsenal. I wouldn’t be here or the player I am without him. The manager and I are fine and my relationship with the club is good. I don’t want anyone misunderstanding the situation here for a moment. There is no problem, there is no conflict and there is no controversy. The boss knows that, I know that, the players all know that. But it’s important the Arsenal fans know that and that people in the game know that. We are all committed to doing the very best we can to bring success to The Emirates. We are not giving up on a top-four finish, no way. Losing to Manchester United was a setback — but it is not a knockout blow. The way this season is going I think it’s pretty safe to say there will be a lot more surprises before the Premier League season is over. There’s plenty of games still left, we have recovered from reverses like this before and we will win again. So anybody writing us off is making a mistake. This could still be a good season for us. We have the FA Cup to look forward to and the Champions League. We will all be giving 100 per cent to make sure we bring one of those trophies home, hopefully both of them.
Let’s all stick together and fight
Quite excessive for a substitution right?
Although Van Persie is correct in a few points, I wonder the real reason for sending out this message is – your guess is as good as mine. The worrying thing is that we’ve now lost three games in a row – to Fulham, to Swansea and then to Man United. It leaves is a very dangerous position and the reality is that we have a serious chance of finishing 5th or 6th. The captain goes on to say that we’re still in two competitions – the FA Cup and the Champions League – but will Arsene prioritise attempting to finish 4th ahead of the two trophies…
We do have Arteta back in time for the game this weekend against Aston Villa and we’re hearing that Jack Wilshere is also on his way back to full fitness. Both players will add a lot of depth to our squad – when both fit, will both start ahead of anyone else – and if Oxlade’s cameo’s are anything to go by, then he is a player in the making. Keep the players fit, get some full backs back and there is no reason why we can’t have a better second half to the second that the first. But, without any signings, the risk to Robin Van Persie and / or other key players is still very high.
We’ll do what Robin says, stick together and fight – but it is extremely hard to do so when you don’t see the players doing so themselves… or the manager for that matter.
But victory through harmony is what we’re all about… let’s back the team for the rest of the season. Let’s keep our fingers crossed. I am sure there is more & better to come.
Until tomorrow, stay goonerish.