Fight For Third & Quick Fire Loans On Pre-Match Friday
No Big Al this morning so you’ll have to make do with a hungover self.
Andrey Arshavin was a player who would have offered a different outlet in this weekend’s match against Chelsea. Talking in the Russian media – and allowing for Google Translate’s slack-jawed M.O. – the Arsenal loanee said,
I suffered different problems at Arsenal. I lost the confidence of the coach. I wasn’t sure why. But I wasn’t getting the chances to play.
I’m now with Zenit – and again after the Euros. After the Euros, I will study my future, think about it. And I would like to talk to Wenger before I make any decision.
The suspicion is that will be quite a short conversation. Personally, I cannot envisage him returning to Arsenal on a permanent basis and reading between the lines, neither does he. As for Wenger’s confidence being drained, that will have been fed by the inconsistency of Arshavin’s performance. Yet to find consistency, he needed to play regularly; a vicious footballing circle. In a sense, his four goals at Anfield became something of a millstone; when you have that level of performance so early in your club career, the expectations rise. Subsequent falls from grace tend to be harder than others sustain.
Arshavin was an archetypal Arsenal flair player with his career at the club following a path well trodden by the likes of George, Marinello, Petrovic, Nicholas and Limpar. It seems that it will end in the same way also.
Those that remain at the club are focussing on finishing the season by winning the remaining games. All the while the original Franchise FC – credit to the AISA History booklets by Tony Attwood and Andy Kelly for observing that Chelsea were formed specifically to play in the Football League and have no history prior to this – are in the Champions League, third place is the only position that guarantees Champions League football; it would be a tense night for the fourth placed side were Chelsea to continue with their recent run of good form in the Camp Nou.
Arsène believes the QPR and Wigan results were as more to do with the mental attitude of the players than anything else,
We had a little blip twice I believe for mental reasons. Maybe subconsciously we thought, ‘Ok, maybe that would be a little bit easier’ and if you do not keep a clean sheet against these teams then you put yourself in trouble.
You give any team in the world a two-goal advantage and it is difficult. Many times we have come back but not always.
I don’t know [how many more wins we need], we just want to win the next one. I believe our target is just that. We have to think that we have been on a great run, we have a fantastic opportunity but we also just need to focus on the next game and win it.
Every team suffers from complacency, twice in two weeks is disturbing but not quite a trend. As with QPR, following the Wigan defeat with a big match is ideal; the players know that their attitude has to be spot on to win, especially as their opponents will be bouyant after their last couple of non-league competition results.
Whether there was complacency I am not entirely sure but it is often a convenient peg upon which to hang a poor performance. I felt that the performance against Wigan was one of those nights where mentally the players were off-key but not through the arrogance that often manifests as part of complacency but what could be described as fatigue, the adrenalin of the win over Manchester City was fed by the visit to Wolves. Had the Wigan match taken place on the Saturday rather than Monday night, that euphoria might well have remained. As it was, the inevitable low after those highs took a toll on the team.
This weekend offers the chance to put matters right. If you didn’t believe me about third, the manager concurs,
Only the third place guarantees you to be in the Champions League anyway.
That destiny is still in Arsenal’s hands, albeit the grip a little looser than last week. ’til Tomorrow.