Morning all. Did you ever wake up with a song playing in your head? This morning’s alarm call is Neil Diamond’s ‘You don’t bring me flowers’. Why? Jesus.
After the Stoke defeat Gael Clichy questioned the team’s attitude, saying they needed to work harder to repay the faith shown in them by the manager. He was essentially saying the team was coasting, not putting in the graft to win games. He has repeated that in the wake of the Villa game and issued a stark warning to his teammates, saying:
It was a great performance against Manchester United and if we do that every week we’ll be fine. But we did the opposite and we cannot work like this. There is time and there’s a way to go. There is time to catch and for other teams to drop points but if we play like we did (against Villa), after a few months the season will be finished.
Strong words indeed. And true words. The way this team can perform exceptionally one week and then like a pack of chumps who appear not to care less the next is infuriating. Realistically I think there’s little chance of this lot challenging for the title but with so many games still to play that optimistic part of me, the one that thinks we can win everything at the start of every season, doesn’t want to write us off just yet.
But you have to question how many times they need the wake up call? How many times can our own players admit lack of focus, poor attitude, lack of effort before they realise they’re letting themselves, and everyone else, down?
The key word, and one I’m sure we’ll be sick of hearing before too long (if we’re not already), is ‘consistency’. With Arsene Wenger admitting the international break is doing him no favours it’s hard to see how anything can be worked on this week. He claims there’s no rational explanation for the poor performance against Villa after the good performance against United but there are those who would say there are a number of good reasons for it (reasons which we have gone over more than a few times so don’t bear repeating).
He also claimed that the lack of consistency is not down to the lack of experience in the squad. I’m pretty sure he said almost the opposite in the past but nevermind. Defending his decision not to bring in an experienced midfielder in the summer he claimed not to have any regrets:
Not really, we had no player we really wanted and for now we have no regrets. You cannot explain the own goal of Gael Clichy by the fact we haven’t got an experienced player in midfield.
Leaving aside the first part of that which makes my brain hurt in a bad way the second part of that statement is hugely disingenuous. Of course an own goal by Clichy can’t be explained by not having an experienced midfielder but having an experienced midfielder would have made it easier to get one back or, shock horror, actually be ahead in the game at that stage. Having an experienced midfielder would improve our team irrespective of somebody scoring an own goal so that doesn’t make much sense to me. It sounds like excuse making.
‘You cannot blame the fact I burnt your steak on the fact that I did not clean out the fireplace’.
The fact that he says there was no player he really wanted is staggering though. I’m told he really wanted Xabi Alonso so while he might be saying this for the benefit of his squad, struggling as they are with confidence, it’s a bit insulting as a fan to hear him say it. That he has no regrets, after four losses in thirteen games, is the icing on the cake and icing is made of poo.
Again the optimist in me is hoping that Arsene is saying one thing in public while thinking something completely different. My big worry is that he actually believes what he’s saying, believes that this squad of players is capable of winning the title without augmentation. He says defeat is harder for managers than players. I have no doubt he’ll pore over the tapes but if he does that and can’t see what the team is missing, if he can’t see a ‘rational explanation’, then I’d be even more worried.
I also think, not for the first time, that the stories on the official site do him no favours at all. ‘Defeat is hardest for managers’, screams the headline and as a fan that immediately got my back up. When you read the article it explains a bit better but the lack of awareness of the writer or the site editor is telling and it’s not the first time the Arsenal website has done that kind of thing. Try to soften the blows, if you can, not make them worse.
Not much else going on really. The internationals take place tomorrow and I am expecting at least a dozen injuries. Which will require the Carling Cup team to play against Citeh. See, there could be a plus side to these injuries.
Hasta mañana, Arsechums.