Arsène Has A Big Task Of Changing The Team’s Mentality.

I can’t believe I am still talking of mentality in 2017. I can’t believe the team still start a game sluggishly, shoot themselves on the feet and fail to get even a single point from a match they are supposed to win with minimal ease inside the Emirates stadium. I can’t believe that in 2017, Aaron Ramsey would still be just a prospect within Arsenal fold, can’t be trusted to keep composure and concentration for 90 minutes without selling his team out, almost 10 years after the start of his Arsenal adventure.

Maybe it’s time to cut our losses and get him moved on. Maybe he needs a new surrounding. His development seems to have stalled, and he doesn’t have any motivation whatsoever. Looking at him last night lose the ball, from an otherwise low pressure circumstance; when his defenders were all coming out from the 18 area, and trudged back with nonchalance only reminicent of one Andrey Asharvin’s during the last months of his Arsenal career, I was lost for words to describe him; considering the enormous faith Arsenal and Arsène Wenger put in him. It’s just plain pity that he (Aaron Ramsey) thinks he’s doing enough to repay the club with such lackadaisical attitudes. Deflecting an otherwise harmless free-kick into his own net and strolling back after gifting the opponents the ball in a dangerous area directly resulting in a 2-0 deficit inside 15 minutes of the first half, then you go down with injury before 20th minute; leaving your team mates with a mountain to climb.👏👏

Even though the team had no power over the outcome of other title contenders’ results, they had absolute power to determine the outcome of their own match. Their fate was always in their own hands. What did they do? Throw it away to the wind. Chelsea dropped point, Tottenham dropped points to relegation strugglers Sunderland. What an opportunity to close the gap on the top and put a psychological hold on Chelsea ahead of our clash with them at Stamford bridge this weekend. At the end, we did what we know to do best; we bottled it.

“We didn’t start the way we wanted, in the second half it was all us, and we were unlucky to lose the game as well. We did not deserve to lose this game.”
 -Arsène Wenger

Any title chasing side must first be hard to score against, must have the technical skills, must be opportunists, must be psychologically and physically ready every week, must have the dugout tactical prowess to change things in little or no notice; must be able to improvise. Last night caught us wanting on several of these key areas. Arsène Wenger picked a wrong team. Inasmuch as the manager knows best, we football fans sometimes can determine the outcome of a game just by looking at the team sheet. We know them, we know their current form, so we can tell. As soon as I saw that line up yesterday, I was sure that something could go wrong. Whatever happened to the trio we saw at Southampton in midweek?  A team so dynamic that a very good Southampton side did not have any answer to the questions being thrown at them. Welbeck, Walcott, Perez.. You can argue that Welbeck need not to be rushed back, but the truth remains he is still fresh and would benefit from an extended run in the team. With the absence of Xhaka through suspension, why not Chamberlain-after his five star showing against the saints? Why start with Paulista against a saints side which does not boast of any outstanding wing backs, why keep Bellerin on the bench? Why start with Giroud who always have his best days coming in from the bench? Why sub Coquelin just when Arsenal were on the ascendency with Iwobi at the heart of everything good, moving the youngster down into the place vacated by the defensive midfielder? Since I didn’t want to risk Bellerin, why not sub Gabriel Paulista, who never found his touch going forward, bringing in whichever more offensive option you want while leaving Coquelin to man the middle and also snuff out any attempt of theirs down the right wing; thereby overloading Watford defence with goal scoring threats? These are calls which I think should be common knowledge to any good thinking football analyst or enthusiast, but our manager didn’t quite get them spot on; hence Arsenal paid the price. He took the blames head on though. 

Arsène will not always get the calls spot on all the time, but I expect him to instill in these hugely talented group of players a mentality that befits a title challenging team. I do not wish to compare Arsène with anyone, but in his days, Alex Ferguson would be smiling to the title with this set of players at Arsène’s disposal. It’s all a matter of mind set. Wars are first fought and won on the battlefield of the mind. These set of players are proving year after year that they are not up for it. Therefore, if Arsenal will be champions of England come May, nay, if the team has any dream of being in the top four come the end of the season, then Arsène has got a big task of changing his player’s mentality. Next up is a trip across London to Stamford bridge. Lets hope for the best. COYG!!

Here is the full match media conference by Arsène Wenger. Mind you, he’s always got his reasons.

They Came, They Saw, They Were Defeated.

Monaco celebrate against Tottenham

Djibril Sidibe and Radamel Falcao celebrate Monaco’s opening goal (BBC sports)

Even though they are still unbeaten in premier league until now, their debacle in European elite competition has shown that our north London neighbours are not as big as they think themselves of, and should be content with thursday night fixtures in Europa league. Rewind back a few months when the draw was made, on paper, they had the easiest of groups, that even their fans were all smiles. Fast forward a few months to UCL match day 5 in Monaco, Spurs were all frightened kitten as they succumbed to their third consecutive defeat in the champions league. Monaco 2-1 Tottenham. They bottled it up as usual -otherwise, who comes third in a two horse race?

Totally outclassed, Tottenham were second best in all aspects; 15 touches on the host’s penalty area to a whopping 26 touches by Monaco, 6 shots on target to the host’s 16 shots. (Monaco left/Spurs righ)

To say that spurs were totally outclassed is to spare them serious blushes; they were annihilated. It was a miracle that the game was in balance until the 94th minute, thanks to Hugo Lloris masterclass in goal. Little wonder he was the man of the match on the night. Wonder saves, penalty save And what not. Sidibe was a pain in the ass for the visitors, with his marauding runs on the right flank, while Bernard pulled strings in the middle of the park. It was a fitting performance from a worthy group toppers. 

What’s  next for spurs? 

They travel to Chelsea this weekend in what might be the end of their unbeaten run in the premier league.

“We are out and we have time to assess and analyse. It is true we feel disappointed but today we missed opportunities”

-Mauricio Pochetino

Goes to show how remarkly consistent Arsenal has been, even through untold difficulties over the years; qualifying for the knockout stages of the UCL, year-in year-out with limited resources. This Tottenham side had Everything they needed to qualify from a seemingly easy group, yet they redemonstrted why the red divide of London thinks they are forever in their shadow.

Even standing on the Emirates stadium turf, they were still in the shadow?

Take a moment and observe a minute silence for our neighbours. North London will always be red. COYG!!