View From The Bank: Arsenal 0 Blackburn 0
Frustration, disappointment and a lot of anger was felt as the full-time whistle blew, even a fair few boos; this was a disappointing result, and an even more disappointing performance.
Firstly, I can understand the frustration, disappointment and also the anger, but booing the players off the pitch does absolutely nothing to improve matters. Season tickets cost a lot of money at Arsenal and Gooners are spitting blood for silverware, so it’s understandable that there is unrest, and to see some fights kick-off amongst our own fans leaves a bad taste in the mouth.
It shows that we all care and it also shows that there is a divide amongst supporters in terms of how the club is run. The are those that believe in the vision of the club to buy young and develop into stars rather than spending millions on ready-made world class players. And then there are others that feel enough is enough and that we have to have a clear-out and spend big; and that we should have done this a few seasons ago.
Regular readers of this blog will know that we believe in Wenger’s model. It gives us an immense sense of pride to see players such as van Persie, Nasri and Fabregas develop from good to great and to see an amazing new stadium and training facilities built without a handout from a billionaire to finance his plaything.
But if we go this season empty-handed yet again, which is now highly likely, Wenger will have to get some new personnel in the squad, and from what I’ve heard he will – more on this later.
This season it has become clear as day that a lot of our back-up players are not up to the task. None of the likes of Rosicky, Denilson, Diaby, Eboue, Squilacci, Bendtner et al have put pressure on to claim a first team place on merit. It’s evident that they’re just not good enough for Arsenal and even Wenger – who has had the utmost belief in them – is now realising this.
Yesterday was more frustrating due to the fact that we were Szczesny, Djourou and Fabregas away from a full strength starting XI yet still failed to beat a struggling team playing with 10 men for 70 minutes.
As Wenger said it was a flat performance but we made more than enough chances to finish Blackburn off. Jack’s guilt-edged chance in the first half; Bendtner’s three headed chances (including the one cleared off the line); and RVP had two even easier headed chances.
I was surprised to see Arshavin taken off as he looked the liveliest and likeliest. I didn’t feel that Song was needed for that last half hour of a must-win game as this.
And I would certainly push Bendtner ahead of Chamakh in the pecking order as the Moroccan is so out of form, a consequence of burnout and adjustment to life in London. We all know that Bendtner misses more chances than he sticks away, but he makes things happen and his aerial ability is wasted on the right flank. Having said that, Bendtner is one player who I would be amazed if he is still an Arsenal player come next season, especially if Bayern come in for him as has been reported.
We still lack a Johnny-on-the-spot striker. Imagine how many goals a striker like Hernandez would notch for us!
Credit to Blackburn, they defended resolutely using all the elbows, niggles, two footed challenges and flying blocks with their heads that they could, but what else are a team like Blackburn supposed to do when they come to The Arsenal?
It was disheartening to hear Arsene talk about our lack of pace, penetration and his concerns for such a flat performance. It’s clear that the majority of players are out of form and to think they they clearly could not lift themselves for a game of such magnitude is quite frightening. The evident lack of on-field leadership is also a major concern.
So, where do we go from here? There will be a clear-out of sorts in the summer without doubt. I’ve heard that players will be sold on to help finance moves for other players, and Wenger will also integrate the likes of Lansbury, Frimpong and a fit again Ramsey from the start of next season. There are members of Arsenal’s staff that have lost patience with certain players and the scouting network are working hard to find gettable replacements.
Until then, it’s difficult but as supporters we need to stay behind the team and hope that we find winning form fast – and also that somewhere along the line United slip up more than once. Their determination has earned them a great deal of luck; perhaps some of our players should look to that as incentive to try, and perhaps care, that little bit more.
The real reason for Arsenal’s decline
Since switching back from the yellow winter ball, Arsenal have drawn three in three #clutchingatstraws