Arsenal's season took a turn for the worst this week with two straight defeats.
Arsenal fan Tom Williamson gives his opinion after the Blackburn and Bayern Munich games
1. Jack Wilshere’s future
Even though Wilshere has just signed a new deal, the last four days is bound to have an effect on him. When he slumped in the centre circle after the Blackburn match was he contemplating his future? Will he conclude that the only way to win trophies is to leave Arsenal, as Van Persie did last summer?
The sight of Samir Nasri beaming with a title winner’s medal a year after leaving probably had an impact on Van Persie, so when he does the same this May, as well as former Arsenal players probably winning the FA Cup and possibly the Champions League, what effect will that have? A second issue is the way that he had to come on at the weekend as part of an attempt to salvage something from the game.
There are parallels here with Van Persie, because the Dutchman, who as well as wanting to win things, also didn’t want to have to carry the team.
2. Arsene Wenger is clearly to blame for the clubs problems
It is a source of debate among the fans over who is more at fault for the clubs recent problems, the board or the manager. The last four days must show definitively it is the manager.
There has never been any suggestion of Chelsea style interference with Wenger’s role at Arsenal, so he is to blame for picking an understrength team in the highly winnable game against Blackburn in hope of winning an extremely tough game against Bayern, for failing to train the defence up to an adequately, especially with the problem of whipped balls into the box and for failing to install any kind of winning mentality into the team.
When the game started last night the team clearly lacked confidence and self-belief, something which is clearly the fault of Arsene Wenger.
3. The importance of momentum
In my opinion momentum is an underappreciated side of football. Before this extremely tough game, how much of a confidence boost would a big win over Blackburn have been?
By putting out an understrength team and losing, Wenger ensured negative publicity and talk of a crisis, which only further dented the team’s confidence. After losing while playing badly the players went into the toughest game of the season demoralised and down, as well as having a manager publicly cracking up. This shows how resting players is often in fact a false economy which can do more harm than good.
What do you think about the points raised?
image: © wonker