The dust settles on the weekend with the sun shining in the Arsenal world, even into the darkest recesses inhabited by the creatures of the underworld, emitting an eye-piercing scream, “Curse you Wenger, I’m melting“, as a top three finish is now deemed achievable.
I am not sure what effect the sacking of Andre Villas-Boas will have. Ordinarily you would expect that to be a spark for the Chelsea season but their season is beset by such deep-rooted problems that beyond the initial feelgood factor, is there any substance? Appointing Roberto di Mateo is not being met with universal dread outside of Stamford Bridge with his spell at The Albion hardly a ringing endorsement of his managerial prowess. Yet different clubs, different times; the judgement will come at the end of the season.
It raises an interesting contrast in managerial philosophy; some would argue that Wenger would be long gone by now, evicted from his position in 2006 following defeat in Paris. If you are going to apply the Abramovich business model, I would observe that Arsène would have been dismissed no later than 2000 following on from the Manchester United treble of 1998-99 and a failure to win silverware the following season. Considering that, how much of the golden years of his reign would have happened under anyone else? To be honest, it is impossible to conceive of it. After all, Arsenal had little or no competition for Thierry Henry’s signature from Juventus.
The constant rotation of managers is interesting. There are few, if any, clubs who have sustained success from that policy. Real Madrid and Chelsea both prove that you might have a few years of silverware but when that well runs dry, the foundations that managerial stability bring to the youth set-up are not there. Looking at Chelsea, they spent some considerable time with Frank Arnesen, buying up the cream of European talent (as they saw it) and have not reaped any benefits so far; how many players are in the first team from their youth ranks? That and spending in excess of £70m buying managerial contracts and then settling them when the incumbent is sacked, signal that they have little intent on complying with Uefa’s FFP regulations. Will Uefa have the same lack of moral backbone in enforcing them?
Not that the manager has given up on silverware this season. Casting his eyes to European shores, Arsène‘s philosophy is clear,
We want to make the impossible possible. From the first leg it looks impossible but we have to have a real go, play with belief and think we can do it. You never know. Maybe I will change the structure of the team to go for it and see if we can put them under pressure and score some goals.
We have nothing to lose. For us to find the right balance between having to completely go forward and not concede a goal will be the difficulty for us because they have talented players.
I should imagine that Monsieur Wenger would be more than happy taking the match to a penalty shootout following Wojciech Szczesny‘s Anfield escapade. As implausible as it seems, the match is a ninety minute cup-tie for Arsenal. They know they have to score at least four which is a tall order even before you consider that Milan are top of Serie A. It is not impossible, the North London Derby proved anything can happen in the next ninety minutes to paraphrase Commander Shore.
We shall see. I still cannot decide whether it is more beneficial for Arsenal to rest key players such as van Persie ahead of the home match against Newcastle. Yet that is a week away being the Monday night fixture which allows plenty of scope for rest.
I do not subscribe to the view that defeat will damage morale. The squad seem well equipped to separate league and cup form; startling well equipped. My initial view was to rest the first team and let Chamakh and Park loose to wreak their own havoc but that was under the presumption that we would defeat Sunderland in the FA Cup. Without that fixture pressure, is there any need to be that cautious? I’m not sure but that’s too decide ahead of tomorrow’s post.
Enjoy the rest of your day, especially if it is matching the Dales sunshine we have. ’til Tomorrow.