Sitting here in front of my keyboard thinking over the points I want to make, I suddenly realise I’ve said them all before. Let’s see… van Persie is our only decent striker – check. We miss too many chances – check. There is not enough depth to the squad – check. Wenger has taken a massive gamble not strengthening in January – check. Our mediocrity is a result of a terribly mismanaged summer – check. Spurs are much better than us – check. We won’t qualify for the Champions League – check. Our transfer strategy is causing us to be left behind – check. Wenger is going to tarnish his wonderful legacy – check.
Have I got any of those wrong? Have I missed any?
To be honest I’m way too disillusioned right now to write a proper match report, even though I was fortunate enough to watch it uninterrupted on a decent stream. A lot of reports are saying we missed loads of chances and make it sound like Bolton were hanging on like the 0-0 at home to Wolves last month. That’s not true at all. While we did miss a few decent opportunities and van Persie was extremely unlucky to hit the woodwork twice, Bolton had their moments too. We had 16 shots to their 14, had 51% possession and forced 6 corners apiece. A point each was a fair result on a night where we didn’t create enough in the final third to hurt them. For a change.
Which brings me onto the subject of Aaron Ramsey. I’ve seen loads of people lay into him recently, criticising his performances and suggesting he isn’t good enough. What people seem to be forgetting though is that Wenger left a world class hole in the midfield when he sold Fabregas and has filled it with a raw 21 year old just back from a career threatening injury.
It’s not Ramsey’s fault he’s been asked to take over from Fabregas. It’s the fault of the tight-arse who refused to spend money to replace him and has put all the pressure and burden of expectation on a player who isn’t ready to be a regular starter. Don’t blame Ramsey for not being as good as Fabregas — blame Wenger and his misguided transfer policy.
One person who is coping much better with the pressure is Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. He was our best player again, allying his terrific skills with determination and desire. On more than one occasion he picked up the ball wide left and drove at the defence, causing panic and creating chances for us. The best example came after about half an hour when he picked out Walcott superbly and left the England man with a one on one chance, but he fluffed it, allowing Bogdan to save with his legs.
If RVP is out of luck, Arsenal are out of luck
Wenger withdrew the Ox after 69 minutes despite him being our most potent threat (along with van Persie) and introduced Henry. I’m sad to say it, but Thierry did nothing. He looks a shadow of his former self and the goal against Leeds will probably be his only significant contribution. Again, not his fault — he didn’t ask to come here on loan. It was the cheapest option available to Wenger so he took it, simple as that.
I don’t even know what Wenger said after the game and frankly I don’t care. I’m fed up with reading his bullshit propaganda and get insulted when he tries to convince me we have a good side. It may wash with the Arsene worshippers but I’ve heard it all before and nothing ever changes. Actually that’s not true, it has changed — we are now much worse and sit in 7th place behind Newcastle and Liverpool.
So we head into a month where we play Milan in the Champions League, Spurs in the Premiership and Sunderland/Middlesbrough in the FA Cup. In years gone by we’d be fielding a weakened team in the FA Cup to concentrate on the bigger matches, but things are different now. We have no chance of winning the Champions League and only a slim one of finishing 4th, so Sunderland/Middlesbrough is the crucial game.
The fact that the FA Cup is now our best hope of salvaging something from a disastrous season is a damning indictment of Wenger and the direction he’s taking this club.
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