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Just a couple of minutes before the final whistle was about to be blown against Blackburn the commentator went on about what a shock it was and how no one saw this upset coming. 10 minutes into the game and I had a really bad feeling about this match. And having read other bloggers views on this match they saw it coming too. It was after all just a couple of months ago that we lost against Bradford and on that day we played our strongest lineup.
I didn’t have that much of a problem with Arsene rotating the squad for this game. I would have liked Ramsey to have to have started ahead of Diaby because i don’t rate him one bit. I was surprised Podolski was left out considering he didn’t play against sunderland but apart from that i thought the team selection was alright. After all we were playing Blackburn and the players out there looked good enough to beat them.
However we started this game just like how we started pretty much every game this season. Slow out of the blocks, a lot of sideways passing without really creating many chances. Diaby was literally playing it at a walking pace. Rosicky was trying hard but it wasn’t coming off for him. Gervinho actually looked a little lively but faded out soon. Chamberlain continued to struggle. We weren’t closing down properly and it was clear that we had taken the opposition lightly. And remember the players out there were maybe not first choice but apart from Chamberlain and Coquelin were experienced enough. This wasn’t case of previous seasons where we would play a lot of youngsters and get knocked out.
It really didn’t look like we had any sort of game plan for this match. I really don’t know how we were planning to score a goal considering Giroud was the only one inside the penalty box every time a cross came in. There was no movement whatsoever from our players. There was this one moment Gervinho got past the defender and attempted to cut it back in. He predictably scuffed it but apart from Giroud there was not a single player inside box. There were other similar moments like this in the match too. Apart from a lot of sideways passing pointless crosses were another feature of that dismal first half.
You would have thought they might play with a little more tempo in the second half. Surely Arsene Wenger would have had a thing or two to say at half time. But nothing really changed. We were still aimlessly passing the ball around. Rosicky had a crack distance and that the closest we came to scoring. The subs came on and incredibly enough Diaby didn’t get taken off. Rosicky clearly didn’t look very happy about been substituted. You know what happened next.Blackburn scored from a long punt and also with the help of some comical defending. We suddenly played with a higher tempo thanks to Jack driving us forward but it was too late. It looks like another trophyless season unless we pull of a miracle in the champions league.
For a team that has won absolutely nothing for 7 years we are incredibly complacent and arrogant. The manager has to take responsibility for this shambles. Financing doping or whatever has nothing to do with us getting knocked out by teams like Bradford and Blackburn. I am not suggesting that Arsene alone is to blame for this situation.But Kroenke or Gazidis don’t select this team. You cannot blame them when we don’t turn up against teams far worse than us. I am not alone in thinking our defenders are not all that bad. Yet we have conceded 49 goals in 39 matches this season. Season after season after defending keeps getting worse. Who is to blame for that?? Whose decision was it give an injury prone mediocre player like Diaby a new contract?
It was there for everyone to see how average our first 11 played against Blackburn. Yet it took Arsene 70 minutes to make changes. This is what Arsene said about our performance- “The top level is about consistency in every single game and that's what we could not show. Coming after the Sunderland game we came out with a flat performance and that shows that, mentally, we are not capable at the moment of preparing in exactly the same way for every game”. This is not a problem that has suddenly emerged this season. This has been our problem for nearly 4 seasons now. What makes anyone think it is going to change anytime soon? And its not just an issue against smaller teams. Just look at our first half performance against Chelsea a few weeks back. We just didn’t turn up.
Like what usually happens after every humiliating defeat there are reports coming out about inquests and how the manager has had enough and will spend big in the summer. We had money back in the summer. Its safe to say the clubs knew around July itself that the Van Persie was going to leave. So we had a full month to bring in another striker yet we didn’t. There were many Blackburnesque performances until December from Arsenal like Swansea(h), Bradford(a),Norwich(a) just to name a few.Yet the only player we bought in January was Monreal and that too because of the injury to Gibbs. What makes you think it will be any different this summer??
I really can’t see Arsene bringing the glory days back at Arsenal. I would absolutely love it if he managed to do it but I just can’t see it happening. He is just too stubborn to change his ways. I will forever be grateful for what he has bought to the club and what he has achieved. I really hope this summer regardless of whether we achieve Champions league qualification or not he should leave.I don’t think he has all of a sudden become a poor manager. I think he might do well at another club. But under Arsene now the club has become stagnant. I think a change is for the best not just for Arsenal but also for Arsene Wenger.
Mean Lean's Response
I am not throwing in the towel just yet with this squad, the game against Blackburn was far from fun but I take heart from recent performances from recent displays with our strongest team, notably the Sunderland performance. Unfortunately Arsene has had to start all over again and I'd say this team is roughly two years in the making. Some say it is 8 years in the making and I guess it depends how you look at it.
I am sticking that Blackburn game in the recycle bin in my memory and moving on. A good result tonight will lift the mood, just as the mood swung so drastically from Sunderland to now.