Arsène Looks To Heal Growing Pains

Whilst Robin van Persie and Samir Nasri were both away enjoying their international appearances, as Jack and Aaron face-off, Arsène was left to ponder some issues over the remainder of the season.

The first of which was his goalkeepers. To the dismay of many, Wenger chose not hang, draw and quarter Manuel Almunia. Instead, publicly at least, a mild chastisement was administered over the mistake which led to West Brom’s second goal.

That he has commented on the Spaniard being aware of his mistake being the ‘wrong decision‘ is sufficient to suggest that harsher words were spoken between the two.

No doubt the media would love the story if Jens Lehmann was reinstated into the starting XI. I am sure for the German it would be some kind of closure, particularly following the manner of his departure from the club last time around.

Would this vindicate Oliver Kahn’s comments earlier this week about a goalkeeping malaise in England? No, simply that there is general shortage of good goalkeepers around the world, who were out of contract at the time Szczesny injured himself in the Camp Nou.

Arsène though is absolutely right not to become involved in team selection issues in the media. If he did, he was backed into a corner, ready to be painted as a tinkerman or indecisive. He has enough detractors in the press as it is, enough trying to fuel the campaign to remove the Frenchman from his job.

Robbie Savage this week joined that club, perhaps the BBC could sack the Welshman next time he fails to string a coherent sentence together. The P45 might as well be sent now for that will happen tonight.

The international break has left him with time to work on the minds of those at home whilst hoping that those away benefit from the change in surroundings. It might well be the truth; it will need to be if his assertion of a stronger second half of the season is to come true.

Wenger believes that this is a recurring theme of his tenure,

Every year we have a stronger second half of the season. I think in the last five or six years we have always had a young team, and they grow up during the season. This year that’s happened again.

Wenger is referring to the mental strength of the players, their belief in themselves. The ‘young team‘ is constantly disparaged, the youth and perceived lack of ability are remorselessly hung as millstones around their necks.

There have chances to remove that burden, spurned or ripped from their grasp depending on the occasion. Even then a Premier League title is going to be the measure that finally sees that weight lifted. A Carling Cup would alieviate the burden a little, the FA Cup help but domestically at least, it is the title which will be the key to unlocking potential.

Interestingly, Wenger’s theory is not entirely borne out by points totals.

Since The Invincibles equalled their total points of the first 19 games of the season, the second 19 of subsequent seasons has been a hotch-potch. The point or so differences recorded between 2004-05 and 2006-07 have disappeared into a peak and trough cycle.

2007-08 saw a five point drop in the two halves, 2008-09 an eight point gain. Last time, seven less points were gained. The tangible is not supporting the intangible. Much depends of course, on the fixtures. The mix of derbies and top four encounters will influence the final totals. If history is anything to go by, this season Arsenal are looking at a total of between 75 and 80 points. Will it be enough?

Time will tell. One thing is certain though. This Arsenal squad has shown tremendous consistency in its results in the Premier League since December’s defeat at Old Trafford. That run needs to carry on, United are still there to be caught with the importance of the fixture at The Emirates between the two sides still the key to the title.

We shall see. The business end of the season is upon us, key players returning to fitness. This is the time to prove their manager’s faith was not misplaced.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on March 26, 2011, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer, Transfer Gossip and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 49 Comments.

  1. Very early post yogi, thought I was mistaken. Interesting article in our local daily from one Guy Maughfling. An English gooner working in Kenya. Says, and I qoute, “In 1979/80, in a period of 58 games Arsenal played 17 games including six semi finals and two finals. They won nothing, and Brian Talbot was there throughout.” Life can be a bitch!

  2. 2nd

  3. just remember if the team can keep fit, all we need to do is win the remaining games and we have won the league – it doesn’t matter what other teams do.
    It is still in our hands.

  4. Sorry, I meant “in a period of 58 days” not “58 games!”

  5. Come on England! thats the cricket by the way. we need to be aware of malinga the slinga. not even gunner watch the other England game.

  6. yes Paul but they will ave to pull their finger out coz they aven’t nee won since the carling cup debacle, fiasco, embaressment.

  7. There is everything to play for still.
    Each of the top five have to play others in that group, so points will probably be dropped by each, increasing/reducing the points gap between them.

    What we do not need to do is moan and groan at dropping a point here or there because events will even out. Have courage, we will win the Premiership this season.

  8. There is everything to play for still.
    Each of the top five have to play others in that group, so points will probably be dropped by each, increasing/reducing the points gap between them.

    What we should not do is moan and groan at dropping a point here or there because events will even out. Have courage, we will win the Premiership this season.

  9. Amen to your comment on the unspeakable Robbie Savage!

  10. Injuries are key to having a strong finish this season. The last couple of our challenges have faded because of them. If our Internationals can return fit and in good form and the currently injured can recover for the run in, we have a very good chance to finish this challenge on top.

  11. Kenyan no way that guy is a gunner,a manc thru’ and thru’ having read plenty of his articles inthe past and mostly they left me angry.
    Van p was great for his country though i prayed he’d get subbed before the end of the game but if it’d happened he wouldnt have scored.

  12. Firstlady the guy IS a gooner. Probably not the sort you’ll find on aclf though!

  13. I love Arsenal. What a fantastic team we’ve got.

  14. All bets off… Savage is on Football Focus being incoherent already. True to form. He’s just made Gary Speed look like Aristotle…

  15. I like the cut of Speed’s jib. Captaining Aaron Ramsey is a brilliant piece of forward-thinking.

  16. I think Ramsey being named captain is a sign of desperation. It’s got to do with the fact that Wales is a small country of 2.5 million people and football plays second fiddle to rugby!

  17. It’s got more to do with Aaron Ramsey being a hero.

  18. Kenya vs Angola kickoff!

  19. Theo Van Nasregas will be back after the international break, and we’re going to win this league. Keep the faith.

  20. I read all your articles, Yogi and you are a fantastic writer.. keep it up.. I also write myself and would love if you could take a look at

  21. Kenya getting beat by Angola!

  22. Limestonegunner

    Come on Wales! Come on Dragons! Default support goes to the underdogs. Ramsey to show his mettle and to prove Speed’s faith in his leadership. Ramsey needs this more than Wilshere, who I hope has a good game in England’s loss. No Bale? So what!?!

  23. Frankly it’s fucked that a competitive international between two home nations isn’t on terrestrial TV.

  24. Limestonegunner

    Congrats KG!

  25. Apologies Limestonegunner forgot the “e.”

  26. Limestonegunner

    Ramsey not looking too sharp with his passing yet, but he is playing hard and courageously.

  27. It’s so hard to like England with Rooney and Terry in the side.

  28. Speeds decision to make ramsey captian for a game like this is pretty careless timing. He is still very young and it piles on a lot of pressure to be overly responsible for the nations pride in their own backyard. It raises a host of unwanted questioning and attention when the guy is still trying to find his form again after such a disheartening year. Not the wrong decision in the long term but I think he should have been eased in a bit with some less high profile fixtures. Oh well, character building I guess.

  29. It’s probably been tough for Aaron because he’s surrounded by mediocrity and is having to play way too deep. Have to say I’m pretty glad that he’s not directly facing off against Jack.

  30. OneOfUs, saw a young fan in an Arsenal t-shirt shouting “Rooney!”

  31. Limestonegunner

    You might have a point, Word, about the timing. Ramsey has the quality and the character, but his game isn’t back to his previous level just yet.

  32. Limestonegunner

    OoU, very noticeable that his teammates can’t hold onto the ball or find him in good positions or make themselves available for his passes. Even when he receives the ball in a forward spot, he has to bring it back toward his own goal to find anyone who isn’t marked closely.

  33. Limestonegunner

    Rooney, Terry, Cole: makes me want to gag.

  34. Don’t worry, KG. I’m sure his parents will be contacted soon enough.

    Yeah, LG. The whole side looked paralysed for the first half hour – that ridiculous penalty couldn’t have helped. I’d heard big things about that Croft guy, but he’s been anonymous. At least Ramsey’s showing for the ball.

  35. @KG
    Was the shout followed by abusive words?

  36. OneOfUs and Evil, love the sense of humour!

  37. I’m neutral but this is a good workout for Ramsey.

  38. God I’m bored international football should be banned.

  39. Aaron gradually got into the game and is now sharpening up very nicely. Excellent from Jack again. Both players ended the game looking good and, most importantly, fit.


  40. Frank, I thought Ramsey became more involved when that idiot Speed put Vaughn into the game. Up to then Ramsey had no one around him and Wales were getting schooled by an unimpressive England side.

    What’s promising, however, is watching what Ramsey can do infront of a play maker. Can’t wait to watch him and Jack play together for us.

  41. hey yall. I didn’t get to watch the wales v england sadly. Sounds like our boys did pretty well. i’m currently watching USA vs Argentina and i’m thinking our very own NJgooner might be in attendance.

  42. I was watching that game as well. Wouldn’t mind Edu coming to Arsenal to be a back up for Song until Frimpong gets back into form. Would not mind it all if we had those three rotatiting in the holding role. Michael Bradley isn’t too horrible either.

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