Winning Is The Focus. That And Contracts.
As the international week kicks in, the players have shown that they understand exactly what is required of them in order to overhaul Manchester United at the top of the table. Both Jack Wilshere and Andrey Arshavin have stated that we must win every game.
It is a case of stating the obvious yet something that the players normally shy away from, preferring instead to talk in general terms about how they will try their best. A boost to that aim was received yesterday with Cesc Fàbregas returning to basic training, his return against Blackburn in a fortnight’s time along with others will (hopefully) improve upon recent performances.
Concentration is the key issue. On Saturday both goals were down to a lack of concentration. Ramsey had Reid marked as the corner was about to be taken, let him go as soon as contact was made in the quadrant. It is a familiar failing – not of Ramsey, his injury makes anything he does the opposite – and one that is consistently criticised.
We are told that the players do not work on the defensive side of the game. That simply cannot be true because if they did not, how would they know who to mark at set pieces. That complaint is lazy. There may not be enough work on this aspect of the game but as none of us are privy to every training session, we cannot know that to be true either.
The desire to win is being questioned by opponents. Youssef Mulumbu of West Brom is convinced that Manchester United would have won the game from being two goals down. His logic is questionable; United came back from a two goal deficit at Blackpool but earlier in the season dropped a two goal lead against West Brom. It seems that this season’s champions will have the propensity to recover or collapse, whomever they may be.
Elsewhere, apparently Gael Clichy is going to enter into ‘make or break’ contract negotiations with Arsenal. They are so crucial and key that the ‘talks’ will take place in the middle of the title run-in. Presuming that the timings are correct – and that is a big presumption as it is the media carrying this story – there is something awry with discussions happening in April.
Arsène has previously preferred that these be dealt with in the close season , Robin van Persie’s contract extension a few Summers past springs immediately to mind. The cynical side of my nature wonders if this is simply a case of Clichy being set to take a fall if the club stumbles over the Premier League finishing line. It would make a ‘club in crisis’ style story easier if the negotiations broke down and Clichy would be a convenient target in that instance.
Still it puts everyone on notice that the silly season is but eight weeks away, rumours unfurled and unfounded will be the main source of media titilation this summer in the absence of any international tournaments. That and the campaign that is about to start to help Sepp Blatter lose his fiefdom.