Spirit? Championship ambitions? The numbers do not lie. by KM
So the international break of boredom will soon be over, but it feels like forever without watching the mighty Arsenal play again. So what did we learn from the break so far? We had both our strikers scoring goals which is nice, as we need competition!
Theo scored yet another goal, this time against the giants of Estonia, while Giroud bagged 2 in 2 minutes against Denmark. Now Theo as a CF is a topic that will be long discussed, because even though he does contribute a lot lately the jury is still out for me. When you are 26 and your main weapon is speed, you’re unlikely to move forward.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love Theo and his enthusiasm for the role is great, but will he do it against the very best? Bayern Munich will give us an example of that. Our other striker Olivier Giroud is 29 and his finishing is never going to match that of Lewandowski, nor will his technique and speed so overall there’s room for improvement in this department.
Wenger though was back with the spirit talks. He stated ‘You can ask the question the other way around: can you be successful without team spirit? If i asked you that question, straight away you would say ‘no’. Now this sounds familiar doesn’t it? I think I’ve heard it in 2008, 2009, 2012 and so on. I’ve also heard the word ‘special’ and ‘unbelievable’ used with spirit in the years.
But what about the spirit of 2004 when we were champions? I mean, spirit is nice but it alone doesn’t win titles. Hard work does though. And Klopp stated some words of wisdom about that. “I can’t walk on water like Jesus” he said and obviously he is spot on. What I like about that is that although that is a man, coming off the back of two league titles in a league featuring Bayern Munich and a Champions League final in the past 5 years, he knows work is to be done.
Another thing I liked about it is that he said that although work is to be done, results need to be put on the table. And again he hits the bulls eye, because you can wait 10 years for a league title under one manager, or get it straight away with another. In England a lot of clubs give managers endless time, without any real results and you can see that in England’s scrap fight to keep it’s fourth CL spot in Europe.
Some examples are Alan Pardew’s 8 year contract at Newcastle, Wenger’s lifetime contract, Moyes at Everton where he was a legend despite winning nothing and managing one fourth place in 10 years, Tony Pulis at Stoke, despite a playing style more common to basketball rather than football ,is another example and there are more. For the richest league in the world, as Muller recently said, that ‘premier league money is tempting’, it’s a real shame how we fare against the elite of Europe. It’s a shame none of the English top 4 teams can close a game down from 2:0 and feel completely safe. We’ve thrown away 3:0, 4:0 and 4:2 leads in the past.
Anyway, it’s 8 League games since the start of the season and we’ve shipped in 7 goals. Almost a goal every game. Ww’ve also lost both of the games in which we’ve conceded first. I mean Chelsea lost 2 games all season last year to be Champions. All top teams have already lost 2, but we need to steady the ship if we’re going to win the league. If you put the league cup and the CL games, it’s 13 goals shipped in 11. Again, not good enough. We get angry when we concede first and suddenly the pressure of us being favorites in most games makes us crumble if we fall behind.
The Emirates needs to be a fortress. United under Ferguson made Old Trafford a nightmare to go to. Teams were beaten before they arrived. They were mentally beaten, although sometimes being good enough to take a result. I remember Blackburn going to OT once and creating the better chances, but United still managed a 1:0 win. And that repeated over a period of 10 games where United were plain terrible but got the results.
I’d chance some of that overwhelming amount of spirit for some fear factor. Teams now come to the Emirates and know that if they weather the storm of the first 30 minutes, we will get angry because we don’t score and then their chance will come. West Ham was the most recent example. We either blow teams away or shoot ourselves in the foot. Let’s balance it out. Our away records in recent years has been always one of the best, so if we calm ourselves down at home and start killing things off it might work for us.
We have just City and Tottenham out of the big teams till the turn of the season so it’s a good time to pile up some points. Go above 80 this season. That’s where the title is won each and every year. We either reach that margin or hope that the others fall down to ours. But I’d rather have things in my own hands than wait for someone else to serve me the rewards.
Have a nice week.