When I first started reading the suggestion in the press, not so long ago, that Arsenal would not be strong enough to compete for the league this season I viewed it with mild fascination, I didn’t take it too seriously, after reassuring myself that it is no bad thing to be the underdog, I certainly didn’t let it upset me but now this idea that we have no chance of winning the league is becoming flavour of the month with stories in the press starting to appear thick and fast and what’s more they are starting to add a provocative tone to them as did this morning’s dig at us from the NOTW. This little journalistic gem includes quotes like:
“The vast majority of the North London club’s supporters grudgingly accept their side is simply not equipped to compete with the big boys any more. Only Ultra-loyal Arsenal fans may argue otherwise.”
Well, I am ultra loyal and I will argue otherwise: the principal reason I would put forward is that journalists who write this nonsense have not seen Arsenal play, the people reading this are some of the most obsessed supporters and we haven’t even seen the team that will start the season play, furthermore, I don’t expect to do so until the Valencia game, so I find the idea of being written off this early as ridiculous.
Yesterday’s game against Athletico was used for no other purpose than: fitness, giving the younger players like Ramsey, Wilshire and Merida a sense of involvement, for Wenger to try out a few new ideas such as playing Bendtner on the left and to put on show the players that are either up for sale like Eboue or available for loan like Traoure. With these two players in the side nothing can or should be read into the first half. The one big plus of the first half was Rosicky who was starting to show flashes of his old self; his fitness seems to be slowly returning, he was noticeably stronger yesterday than he was against Barnet.
The second half saw the introduction of Wilshire who instantly made the difference: played on the right wing he shone, being more effective in five minutes than Eboue was able to do during the whole of the first half. The fact that he can go past people in the final 20 yards is as Wenger says what makes him special. If you think of all the games when the opposition come to the Emirates and park the bus, the result being that play is condensed into the oppositions half and with 20 minutes to go and we still haven’t found a way through, then it is at this time I expect Wilshire to be brought on to try and unlock the defence. It is his close control and his eye for the incisive pass that makes him so lethal. Theo you will have some serious competition for your place this coming season.
The game was plodding along and then up went the roar as Fabregas, Arshavin and Eduardo appeared on the half way line ready to come on. I wonder if the NOTW journalist was still at the game when this gifted trio announced their arrival, I suspect not. Having been entertained with Wishire’s short incisive passing for 20 minutes our captain quickly reminded us that he can not only do that in his sleep but he has the longer range pass as well, he sent over a few long range sighters to Eduardo to run onto but they were probably two or three inches of the mark; I am sure he will avoid such sloppiness when the season starts. I obviously jest; Fabregas will supply Eduardo with 20 goals this season. Which brings me to AK 47 (raif) I rate him as the best player we have at the club; he is breath of fresh air and he scores goals to boot. I could try and describe his goals but you have all seen them: great control for the first and an impossible angle for the second. I was reassured that Eduardo was on the goal line ready to pick up possible scraps.
All in all we are starting to show some very encouraging play, something I expect to be built on today against Rangers.