I watched the Spurs, and I liked it. by JS
As an Arsenal supporter since the early eighties, I have seen good football, bad football, boring football, flowing football and pretty much understand that we will have ups and downs as a club. That being said, for the last 3-4 years, the ups and downs have flowed not so much on a seasonal basis but in chunks or segments of the season. I would be okay with 20 years of dominance, one year in the wilderness and then signs of a strong future like United have had.
I would be happy with not having such a long run in UCL if it meant we would at least, expect to challenge and then do so. Every year, us fans expect, as we are told to, a title challenge …what we get is a dramatic year of winning streaks and invincibility peppered with pathetic losses, shambolic defenses, effortless matches and a tiny squad (both in numbers and stature) that is full of players who don’t deserve to be at our club. Each week, I am unsure what to expect from Arsenal, some weeks are joyous but most, just a confusing waste of 90 minutes.
In order to recoup my time and find football joy, I have been forced to watch other matches in hopes of seeing some players go all out, communicate, and generally want to win. Last week, after watching Arsenal begin the New Year as if they had partied until 5AM, I decided to watch Chelsea destroy the Spurs to cheer me up…..as you may know, the opposite occurred. The Lilywhite’s played swashbuckling, imaginative football and never stopped running. They played this way for most of the 90 minutes that saw them overtake us in the table. They deserved the win, and they deserve to be on top of us at this time. Let’s take a quick look at the squads and understand why:
Lloris- better than Szczesny by a long way. Can use feet and communicate to organize his defenders, good decision maker. Frankly, Friedel and Vorm are better than our starter.
Vertonghen- not a bad CB, versatile surely, seems his head isn’t fully in it but frankly, he is far better than Per at this point, and he is about as good as our injured star Laurent Koscielny. When Laurent gets better we may have a slight edge here again but not too much.
Pick Chiriches, Davies, Kaboul etc. here and you will get the same result….better than Per at this moment. I’m not overly impressed with any of their 4 second choice CB’s however….they have 4, we have none. I’d take Kaboul over Debuchy at CB, or Chambers, or Gibbs, or Monreal or anyone else Wenger chooses to play there that isn’t actually trained to be there.
Danny Rose- similar to Gibbs in that he is better going forward than defensively and on the fringe of the England squad. What Danny has that Gibbs does not, is strength and a reasonable track record with injuries.
Kyle Walker- not quite at the class level of Debuchy but not too far off- almost a moot point but Kyle has strength and age on his side. He also looks nothing like a French hedgehog.
Erikson- not anywhere near the price nor fame of Ozil but has played as good as or better than Mesut and also looks like he wants to be there.
Lamela- young, fast and good finisher, compare him with our wide players and you may see us looking favourably until you note that Santi Cazorla is not actually a winger. He is far better at this moment than Lamela but is being squandered out wide most days and as such, goes missing. Lamela had a rough start but under Pochettino, he has come back to his old self and will expect to get stronger as time goes on.
Strikers are a toss-up also- Adebayor is about as good as Giroud, Welbeck and Kane not too far apart in spite of Kane’s recent record and Sanogo isn’t quite Soldado but will eclipse him in time we hope.
Chadli is bigger, stronger and faster than pretty much any of our CM players but with a touch less skill. I would guess he will be judged as better than Wilshere is and worse than Ramsey but as those two are mostly out for treatment, Chadli has the edge.
Townsend and Lennon are not on the same level as our Theo or Ox but frankly, injuries mean that Theo and Ox aren’t usually available. If we have them available, we have an edge, but good luck on having them fit.
We have Alexis to carry us at this time and that alone is keeping us close to our fourth place trophy, surely he will soon see his talents are wasted as his lazy teammates aren’t as interested as he is and his managers name is far larger than his acumen.
So you tell me, is this finally the year with no St Totteringhams Day?