I was discussing about Van Persie transfer yesterday on twitter and came across this interesting tweet
“The last time Arsenal played a season without Persie , We went unbeaten in League ”
Van Persie and Alex Song are the last remaining players from the post invincible generation. Now that Song going out is also doing the rounds, I just want to look back at the players who followed the great team of 2004. I call them the “Spoilt Kids Generation”
Most of them were talented raw kids when they arrived at Arsenal. These were the players handpicked by Wenger at a very early age, nurtured and made World Class. This was probably the first set of players that Wenger has maximum influence on. But they have all moved on. Where did Wenger go wrong? Why did they move on or were found out at the highest level?
I divide it into 2 batches. The first set of players arrived when the invincible team was slowly getting disintegrated. They were the likes of Adebayor, Fabregas,Van Persie, Hleb, Flamini , Senderos, Clichy,Eboue. No one can point a finger at the talent of the above mentioned players. And neither can you question the fighting spirit of these players. We all know Fabregas played for Arsenal with a broken leg and Adebayor had to endure so much tragedy in his home country. But still most of them neither stayed long enough nor won anything big. What was their problem?
The main problem of these players were they started thinking they were bigger than the club the moment they started performing. Remember, Most of them were replacing some of the legends of Arsenal. Adebayor scored 25 goals in one season and saw him as the next Henry without even winning a single title. Hleb thought he had replaced Pires and had outgrown Arsenal. Ego took longer to get the better of Van Persie because of his injuries. This team slowly but steadily disintegrated. They either went in search of greener pastures or lost their game.
But Wenger was not to be left behind. By this time, He has started getting more and more players from the Academy. Remember that these next set of players were bought by Arsenal mostly at around 15 to 17 yrs and then slowly developed. These were players like Denilson, Song , Bendtner, Djourou,Vela, Walcott. What was their problem?
The problem with these players was that they got their places in the team so easily. At least the earlier generation of players had to prove and beat competition before getting first team action. But these players walked into the team directly replacing the exiting players as we ran on a tight budget in those years.
Who challenged Song for his DM position? Denilson and an injury ridden Diaby. Bendtner was literally our first choice Striker for some time due to injuries to Eduardo and Van Persie. Vela got a pay hike after a couple of chips in carling cup. They got the best stadium to play, one of the best training facilities in Europe , a legendary Manager to work with, a city like London to live and on top of it all , First Team Football week in and Week out. Naturally, Lethargy, Laziness, Complacency set in these players. Denilson fell away, Djourou was replaced by better defenders, Bendtner let himself down, Vela travelled all over Spain and Song improved to save his place. But this team also let Wenger down. He was expecting so much out of the likes of Denilson,Vela , Bendtner but none of them delivered.
Critics started saying that Project Youth is dead. Sorry Folks. Wenger learnt from his mistake yet again.
Thus begun the current “Project Youth 2.0” .From 2011 season, He started buying experienced heads to provide guidance to youthful exuberance. We still have the 2 best England prospects in Alex Oxlade Chamberlain and Jack Wilshere. 2 years back, they would have played week in and week out.Not anymore. Now they have to fight with the likes of Podolski, Cazorla, and Arteta for a place in the first team. Gibbs cannot walk into the team this week after making a mistake the previous week. Santos is ready to take his place. The likes of Coquelin , Ramsey will not be pushed to the deep sea and asked to swim. Ignase Miquel and Kyte Bartley are our 5th and 6th Choice Centre Backs.
This project is more exciting than the previous one. We have the wise experienced heads to guide the young ones to glory. Wenger got it wrong twice. But as they say , third time lucky… !!!!
Arsenal is here to win. And More Importantly We will win the right way..!!!
Come On You Gunners..!!!
Mean Lean's Response
There is certainly a change of approach at Arsenal right now, we are looking at the Arsene Wenger of old during the Highbury days. Looking for hungry, experienced players at a good age to slot in and pretty much hit the ground running. At least that is the hope.
I believe this has always been the target of the manager since we moved to the Emirates. The trouble is, this was always going to take some time due to the financial handicap slapped on the manager when we packed up and moved to a brand new home. That home needed paying for so we had to resort to shipping off the high earners and getting the most from their resale value before it plummeted downwards.
Essentially the Arsenal manager has been fighting with a ball and chain around his ankles as well as one arm tied behind his back.
With the eagerly awaited new commercial deals around the corner as well as the stadium debts being chopped down on a yearly basis, it looks as if the keys to Arsene's chains may have been found and we can start competing on a level playing field with clubs that actually have to think about their balance sheet.
It is strange to lose two big players and still feel rather encouraged about the strength of our squad. A squad that will hopefully get even stronger from now until the close of the window.