MOVING FORWARD by Uche
I have a problem. I have an idea for this article and it is supposed to be about finding the positives and moving on after Arsenal’s seasonal Chelsea catastrophe. So as you can imagine, this piece should be positive and uplifting but I don’t know if I can pull it off. Everybody is mad about that result and that includes me. Tomorrow I am going to wake up like most of you and get on with my work. I don’t want this result against Chelsea to ruin my week. So for very many reasons, I need to find a positive spin on this one.
Well, let us give it a try and see where we end up. As much as I hate to say this, Chelsea and Stoke away are our boogie teams. You always wish for once that the results can be different because psychologically, that might be enough to break the jinx. But it never quite works out in our favor, however much we prepare. This has nothing to do with quality because we have quality now. It is purely about mentality and ethics. I am not talking about us not having a winning mentality or not having leaders. No. That is a tired and nonsensical argument that I am sick of hearing. We won the last two FA cups and have led the league for a while now. The problem my friends is Wenger.
More precisely, I am talking about his nature.
Wenger is a decent, educated and well-meaning gentleman. He is a football purist who values the art of football and fair play too much to win by any means necessary and he transmits these values to his players. The consequence is that we always lose against Chelsea and Stoke away because they don’t play by the rules. When Stoke play us, the intention is to win by crook. They don’t care about the art and they don’t even hide it. They go out there to foul us and break bones just so they can play a physically weakened opponent. Wenger knows this but it is against his nature to go street and counter cheating with cheating. Arsene is a man who will never tell his players to roll over and act as if they have been shot each time they get fouled. Mourinho does it. Other coaches do it. Not Arsene. And while we are hurting now, this is why we all love Arsenal. In a world where bullies and cheats like Donald Trump and Jose Mourinho get applauded because they win, purists like Wenger do it the hard way. They do it the honest way. The consequence is that our ethical stance will work against us sometimes but guess what, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. This club has my heart and respect. In this rough and crooked world, good values are qualities we must preserve at all costs. We are hurting now but we cannot sell out. Our ethics define us.
In the past two seasons, we have become a very good team capable of winning titles. Chelsea knows this and out of fear of us, they have gone from bullying us to trying to always get one or two of our players sent off. When they play Arsenal, they don’t want to play against eleven men and on Sunday they executed as planned yet again. One is tempted to blame Per Mertesacker for what happened and while I agree that he is a weak link, our problem is a fundamental one. When we played against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, Gabriel played….and he got sent off still. So it is not really a matter of who we play. For as long as our philosophy remains the same against teams like this and referees don’t do their jobs, we will always come up short against them. So what do we do? If you ask me, we must maintain our values but in a tougher and wiser manner. But cheating is not an option. Yes we will lose some games. Everybody loses games. But we can still win enough to be champions playing the right way.
Some blame Giroud’s substitution as part of why we lost but I think that subbing him made perfect sense after going a man down. Arsene had to choose between losing or losing heavily. Remember that Chelsea had beaten us 6-0 before under similar circumstances. If we had subbed Walcott instead of Giroud, we could have lost by a higher margin. At 1-0 down we were still in the game and remained in the game till the end. Chelsea chose to hang on to their 1-0 advantage without pushing for more goals for fear of being hit on the counter with Walcott’s pace. I agree that Wally has been average but having him on the side limits our opponent’s attacking ambitions. We have to see this. Walcott is the reason we were able to beat Bayern 2-0 at the Emirates and when he got injured, we lost heavily to Bayern by a whopping 5-1 in the return leg in spite of Giroud’s good form. Defenders will rather play an in form Giroud than an inconsistent Walcott. His movement and pace totally alter the way our opponents set up and this works to our advantage. Go and ask Pep Guardiola. So Walcott is not the reason for our loss. We lost because we were a man short and I don’t know any EPL team that would have beaten Chelsea with ten men.
And now the positives. We are only behind the league leaders by three points. This is a huge positive and it is important that we focus on the future rather than the Chelsea loss because our next opponent is Southampton and they have added Charlie Austin to their attack. The season is far from over. Everybody will drop points. There are no easy fixtures. Leicester’s next three fixtures are against Liverpool, Manchester City and us. It will not be a walk in the park for them either. So this is not over by a long shot. Nobody has won the title yet and Spurs just joined the party. We are only down by three points and Sanchez is back with Coquelin soon to follow. And by the way, we actually played a good game with just ten men especially after Sanchez came on. The best Chelsea could do was maintain their one goal advantage.
Lagos – Nigeria
Sorry, but I take a little exception to what you said in regards to Stoke and Chelsea tactical approach when playing us. Teams have a right to play how ever they want to against us, and it’s not that they cheat against every time, it’s just that they know what works against Wenger. Of course we don’t need to cheat to win these types of games, and I wouldn’t want us to. We need to be better tactically, and that cannot happen under Wenger.
In fact, I feel Wenger is very disrespectful to other managers, for often bemoaning an oppositions overly physical and direct approach, and never altering his own tactics to counter an opposing team. Wenger’s already blaming Costa for getting Mertesacker sent off! Another example of how disrespectful he is. Just cannot admit that one of his favourites made huge mistake and deserves 100% of the blame. As I’ve already said, other manager’s have the right to set up their team in whatever way they seem fit, especially when they already know what works against Arsenal.
I agree with you 100%. I don’t like it when Wenger moans about teams that have the better of him. And it amuses me that almost everyone forgets our mistakes when we win a hard earned match against a bottom team.
As much as I want Arsenal to win the title this season, if we slip up…it will take a long while before we come close to winning it again.
I hope we don’t rue all our silly mistakes and missed chances. Imagine Chelsea beating us at one of their worst runs…just watch how Watford will have the better of them on Wednesday.
Long story short, you guys are saying that we should get rid of Wenger because he can’t beat stoke and chelsea? What about the fact that he completely outclassed the likes of City, United, Leicester, bayern, etc. should we ignore that and sack him anyway?
Please could you think constructively just a wee bit?
No ones saying Wenger should be sacked…If there could be a competition for who loves and respects Wenger more, I would be at the top. That should not stop me from saying when he under-performs. Did you now that we have gone 6 straight games and no goal…over 9hrs against Chelsea in the BPL? We can’t continue to do this if we want to be champions. No one’s saying sack Wenger…I’m just saying be more tactical, and stop moaning.
Really, you are all gonna ignore the fact that there has been great improvement in the way Arsenal play? Did you know that from Jan 2015 until now, Arsenal have collected more points than any other team in the EPL. Are we gonna overlook that crucial fact and focus on the fact that we haven’t scored against chelsea in 9 hrs, and use that alone as a basis of whether we’ll be champions?? And you call that “constructive thinking”?
Just a wee bit…please. Open up your mind just a wee bit.
Trust me. When we perform well, I say so. When we perform poorly, I say so. I don’t pretend all’s well, cosy and dandy when we perform poorly. All the stats you mentioned is what has gotten us 2nd, 3rd and 4th place for more than a decade now. To be 1st place, we need a little more than what we’ve been doing.
Being constructive is acknowledging what has happened, and ensuring it doesn’t happen again…and not denying the repercussions of your actions (as you are doing).
If you think it’s ok to always loose to Chelsea, then you’re not having the mentality of a champion.
Good Article Uche. I feel so gutted today. Really thought we were going to beat them yesterday.
It was very disappointing yesterday i couldn’t believe, first, it was just a matter of time before Merts cost us a game. i’ve been saying that we dont need Mert in most of our games, he is the weakest link and if you play against a top team, you will be stupid not to say they will map him out to attack. it is very painful that only Arsens doesn’t see this. i dont want any one here to tell me that we need a calmer head to partner Koscielny at the back, if you are a defender and you aren’t aggresive then you dont aspire to become a top top class CB. Ramos and Pepe, Kompany/Otamendi, Pique/Vermalaen, Terry/Zouma are all aggresive pairing for their teams. if Arsene doesn’t trust Gabriel then he needs to find another CB, he should stop playing Merts against top teams using high-line tactics.
And Walcott needs to start on the bench next games, he is just frustrating to watch. just dont understand how an injury returnee performed more than the fitter players, other players except Bellerin,Monreal,Kos,Cech,Sanchez,Ozil(though he was poor yesterday too) should perform or they just get out of the club. the Jersey just doesn’t fit them, rather go and play for Man UTD and perform poorly.
I think Arsenal has a mental or psychological issue with Chelsea. Even Bournemouth beat Chelsea this season. Arsenal really need to get over this psychological monster and see Chelsea as any ordinary team. If you ask me, I think Arsenal fear Chelsea more than they fear Barcelona.
Hence why you don’t rely on the same players that failed to beat them for 3 seasons. Walcott, Flamini and Mertesacker shouldn’t have been in the team. Campbell, Giroud, Ozil and Sanchez would’ve turned up against them if Wenger chose the right team. smfh
Our problem the last few games has been Aaron and Flame do not know how to control the midfield. AW should have at least threw a makeshift midfield pairing of Chambers and Arteta or Gabe, at least these guys know how to defend and turn over the ball. Without midfield control there is no link between attack and defense and balance is lost…
Wenger is great at getting the most out of avg players and thus making loads of cash for Kroenke so he can go buy a new stadium in LA. He still hasn’t figured out how to beat Chelsea, what a massive fraud he is and he thinks he will win the league after 11 years of failure. What actually irks me is that there’s rumors he wants to sign an extension which i think is the biggest mistake of his life. Lastly, every decision he made yesterday was a mistake; from not playing elneny over flamini, to snubbing Gabriel for Per and lastly not using Iwobi who i think at 19 is already better than Walcott.
Ethics!!! Is that the same reason he keeps playing a wasteful and out of form Ramsey? Talk for another day.
Arsene needs to work on the psychology of his players. We so have no reason to lose yesterday’s match; even the red card isn’t one. If we cannot work on our psychology then expect a repetition against Barca, my reasons:
We have not ELIMINATED Barca in Champions League and in recent times have been crashing out @ d second round of UCL. We need more than being in form to scale through. PSYCHOLOGY is key.
People like Uche are part of Arsenal’ fans problems. When you make excuses for failures like Wenger, and start looking for positives when we can all see that we’re being taken for granted, and taken advantage of… By dis Jerk Wenger… It’s unbelievable.
Shame on U and Ur positives…. # Wenger Out#
Many of our fans swore never to see sense even when it is glaring; hence Uche will not be appreciated by many on this website who are driven by emotions rather than logic. Much as it was painful to lose to Chelsea at home we cannot turn it into an obsession. What needs to be down is to reorganise and move on since we can’t undo the loss. Perhaps the one point where I disagree with Uche is on Giroud’s substitution. Uche looks at Walcott’s pace as an asset but fails to look at Giroud’s fighting ability, aerial prowess, holding the ball, defending against set pieces and ability to head in a dead ball or fighting in the box where the small players failed to make an impact. On balance I would say it was a mistake to remove Giroud. If we needed Walcott for his pace maybe Flamini, Campbell or even Ramsey could have been removed. If we had Welbeck in the team I wouldn’t have minded Giroud’s removal but he was the only big player we had. Hence his removal deprived us of aerial threat which Giroud possesses in plenty.
Going to the positives, I think Uche should have pointed out that we managed to hold Chelsea inspite of our numerical disadvantage. Furthermore he also did not emphasise the key role the returning players namely Coquelin, Sanchez, Wilshere, Welbeck and Cazorla as well as the signing of Elneny will play.. All these will be key in the run-in. The oft-quoted phrase of Wenger not winning trophies or Arsenal bottling it up will soon become redundant because it was brought about by Arsenal’s lack of quality players and not the manager’s ineptitude. The main problem we have on this website is that many of the contributors are those who started watching football in the mid 2000s when Chelsea had gained ascendance due to Abramovic’s money. Many might not have heard nor care to know that Arsenal under Wenger was a dominant force prior to the construction of the Emirates stadium. Wenger won three EPL trophies between 1998 and 2004. So the assertion that Wenger is incapable of winning trophies is a sham. His win of two FA trophies and two community shields in a row should dispel these assumptions. He will for sure soon win the EPL now that Arsenal has solved the issue of finance because he knows how to do it. The fact that Arsenal is still in the top two positions is not a fluke. Let all true Gooners have belief and see how the season ends.
The only positive I that Mertesacker will not play our next three games.
Did anyone notice how often Ramsey misplaced passes? I like that lad but he will never be world class if he doesn’t get his passes right.
I’ve said that we have to allow our anger to evaporate so that we can think very well to proffer solution to the problem that has befallen us. it’s true we lost our table topping place as a result of the Chelsea defeat. The team which the Boss had put out against Chelsea was our 1st team starters the Boss has put together after we lost the Boss’ preferred mid-base of Cazorla & Coquelin. And they have performed fairly well since then. What I believe had caused yesterday defeat to Chelsea was the sending off of Rhinosacker by Ref Mr Clatenburg. Which was totally an unfair straight red card to Rhino. Another Ref would have overlooked the incident or at most shown a yellow if he had to book Rhino. Rhino had to do that professional tackle on Costa who was escaping on goal after been setup by Willian. And Koscielny was out of sight to do a secondary tackle if Rhino choosen to ingnor. Rhino’s tackle was clean as he got d ball to touch and not just to hual Costa down. Arsenal will bounce back to top the table again.
That was a great article Uche. Listen guys, WE GONNA WIN IT. Yeah, I said it.
Look, I still think our squad needs a few more world class players. Mertesacker, Arteta and Flamini should have been sold last season. Mertesacker is a massive liability at the back and there are PLENTY of decent CB’s we can replace him with, Gabriel being no1. Ramsey is one of those players who you just feel in your gut will never quite achieve that world class status. You cannot deny his engine and work rate, but he just lacking that special something. Don’t think he will ever get there…I mean one or two good games here or there is not enough, we need consistency. Wilshere seems to me another Diaby. Welbeck too scared to shoot and also injury prone. Rosicky, Arteta, Flamini over the hill. Arsenal will never win honors outside of England with this squad. With our financial backing and such an experienced manager, we should be looking and playing much more comfortably. Walcott and Chamberlain hot one game, cold the next two. Walcott always good to have in the squad, but keep him down the RW, that is where he is most dangerous. Leave the CF for Giroud and sign a player like Cavani who is guaranteed to score you goals no matter where he is. (The guy has been played second fiddle to Ibra and he has plenty of goals.) Arsenal need to stop relying on players that ‘might’ get there one day. Right now we can clearly see that Cech, Koss, Monreal, Bellerin, Ozil and Sanchez are are best players. Giroud has also earned his place. Campbell you can see will be world class one of these days. But the rest of them need to start performing or make room for better players – and yes there are much better players out there which Arsenal can quite easily afford.