After a long break from blogging i’ve decided to pick up the baton and carry on as it were. After much deliberation as to what I should start on, I thought i’d take a leaf out of my own book and start the way I did before and talk about Arsenal.
Despite what you’ve heard from the media, things within Arsenal couldn’t be much better right now. ‘How?’ I hear you say coming off the back of a 2-0 defeat to Bayern Munich? Well for a start there are more positives than negatives to be drawn from the game. For a start, I believe if Szczesny wasn’t sent off the whole complexion of the game would of been different, considering our defensive record at home is impeccable, it would of freed up time and space for our offensive players to get to work like they did in the first 15 minutes. Let’s say for example that we went on to win that game 2-0, keeping a clean sheet and scoring a couple of chances, people would be writing Bayern Munich off. Considering what happened last year when we famously went to the Allianz Arena and won 2-0, albeit getting knocked out on aggregate, it was a statement of intent being the first English team to do so. So I wouldn’t be so quick to write off our chances this year, with Fabianski taking Szczesny’s place, who incidentally is going through an amazing patch right now (watch the Arsenal v Liverpool FA Cup match), arguably the best defensive partnership in the Premier League Mertesacker & Koscielny, the anchors of midfield Flamini & Arteta, a plethora of attacking talent to choose from in midfield and a promising young talent in Sanogo. If we get off to the same start we did the other night in Munich then expect a very hard fought and surprising result.
Yes, admittedly we lost 2-0 and it will be hard to come back from that, especially if Bayern score first in the second leg. However, I still think that the defeat will kick the team up the arse and evoke a strong response from them. If Oxlade-Chamberlain starts expect him to be a key player in the match. I also expect Podolski to have a good game if he’s involved. But most of all, in the last game I was impressed with Sanogo. I will stand by Wenger’s decision to not buy a striker in the transfer window if Sanogo develops properly and is nourished by Wenger, much like another young Frenchman that came to the club! Also it’s worth remembering that Henry himself didn’t score for 8 games when he first started at Arsenal. Now I shouldn’t compare the two I know, but I just want people to get perspective in regards to the situation and not write the young man off too early. If it’s one thing Wenger knows about it’s teaching and guiding young players, all you need to do is look at Aaron Ramsey, someone who even myself over the years have bad mouthed. He’s easily one of the best midfielders in the league and he’s done that by proving all the haters wrong, Wilshere, Jenkinson, Gibbs, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Walcott and Szczesny all joined at young ages, a couple through the academy others joining from other clubs at around 16/17/18/19, now look at them!
If you look back over our baron trophyless seasons you begin to understand why we haven’t won things and understand what’s going on in the background. I knew nothing at the time only being a young teenager and not looking into how the club was run, me being 23 now and paying attention to most things behind the scenes. The best place to start would be the Champions League Final 2006, not the FA Cup in 2005 as most people say was the start of our ‘downwards spiral’. People forget that the season after our last cup we won, we reached the Champions League Final beating Real Madrid at the Bernabeu in the process (another first for an English team I believe). Yet again in circumstances that remind me of the other night, Jens Lehmann became the first goalkeeper to be sent off in a Final, and we chased a Barcelona team for the rest of the game, had that red card never been issued I believe we’d of outplayed and beaten Barcelona, much like Bayern Munich the other night, but we didn’t and that was the fateful night that started the ‘disbelief’ of Arsenal fans and pundits alike. Bearing in mind though we still went and scored from that glorious Sol Campbell header, if we could score one against Barcelona with 10 men, imagine what we could do with 11. The following season we saw an exodus of core parts of our squad, they were part of the invincibles, the likes of Henry, Cole, Campbell & Lauren. This triggered a knock on effect and we lost our top players each season from then on as we didn’t have a player of Henry’s calibre to bring in big signings.
Yet, this was a mastermind move from Wenger and the board of directors as the fees we received from all of these transfers were paying off the stadium we’d just moved into and creating more revenue, which in doing so freed up funds which are currently available this season. I never understood this obviously as I wasn’t paying attention, and now feel harsh of my criticisms of Wenger when I was a teen. Although I can resolutely say I have NEVER jumped on the ‘Wenger out’ wagon, he makes the club what it is and were he to go then expect to see what is currently happening at Manchester Untied or maybe even worse, considering it’s publicly known that several players have come out and said that if Wenger left they wouldn’t know if they’d stay, causing yet more unstability within the team and any new manager would have an impossible job. Apart from of course, the return of Thierry Henry who recently omitted his desire to return to Arsenal as a manager one day, which would be the only suitable candidate in my eyes. Although, Thierry needs to go and get some management experience under his belt first, but the raw talent and understanding of the game he possesses and his understanding of the club and how it works and our style of play would mean he would slip right in. I only write this as I can tell like many others that Wenger will leave the club in the next 3/4 years. Anyway back to the point, now we have the funds available, we are suddenly a big choice for big names, we proved this with the signing of Ozil. Think about it, we have an amazing squad available, players other players want to play alongside, we play Champions League football EVERY season, we are title contenders, we have a healthy history and a genius manager. One thing I will say, this summer watch for another German to come in, whether it be Draxler, Khedira, Emre Can or Bittencourt, it’s a pattern i’ve picked up on like the flood of french players that came in from the late 90’s/early 00’s who all wanted to play with Vieira, like Petit, Henry, Pires, Wiltord, Cygan, Clichy & Flamini. We already have Mertesacker, Ozil & Podolski, with the emergence of Gnabry, Eisfield & Zelalem from the youth set up. I think it would be fair to say we can expect one or two more German’s to join this year.
So to conclude, the reason I think we could go on and win the league if not any other competition is because we have rebuilt our core and with the funds available are on the verge of adding some real world class players to our already extensive squad, whilst still keeping a good balance! Also Ramsey is yet to come back from injury and could be the deciding factor in the latter stages of the season, only time will tell. Thanks for reading!