Moments Of Clarity: Third, Appeals And Squad Strength

Chelsea’s qualification for the Champions League final has provided clarity to a situation that was long suspected to have existed; Arsenal must finish third this season otherwise there is an uncomfortable wait for the final whistle in Munich. You would hope that the match will be over long before that with Bayern highly motivated to lift the trophy in front of their own fans. That this might cause more pressure than they can bear is a real danger, stifling the Germans even more than the Chelsea midfield and defence will try to do.

For Arsenal, it is a tricky situation. Barring a massive turn around in their goal difference, Newcastle need to accumulate more points over their remaining four fixtures. It is by no means certain that this will be the case with only their final opponents Everton, having nothing to play for. That is not to say Arsenal’s matches are no less difficult. Stoke City and West Bromwich Albion have proved obdurate opponents on their own grounds in recent years with the only victories over each coming two seasons ago. The ground is generally a tricky one for the bigger clubs, not just Arsenal. Each season sees the top six leave with a general record of on average a win or two, a defeat and three or four draws between them. The defeat has already happened this season so Arsenal have the chance to keep up with history this weekend. A point would not generally be such a bad result yet now the context is seen only with the results of others.

What is clear is that third is the only guarantee of entering the Champions League next season; the squad and manager have spoken frequently that this is their target, how their destiny is in their own hands so now is the time to prove it. Nobody said it would be easy and true to Arsenal traditions, they are going about achieving their targets the hard way.

Winning the Champions League is something of a holy grail for the manager and any chance of success will be tempered by his three match ban. That he has chosen not to appeal the harshness of the penalty is interesting: an exasperation with Uefa that any appeal is likely to fail or equally as likely, an admission of guilt? I wonder if those who opine that all players should have their suspensions wiped for finals will join me in noting that managers should not be banned as it generally serves little or no purpose.

Has for example, a team ever lost because the manager was not on the bench? I cannot think of one. Or even that Arsรจne will stop picking on defenceless referees, an endangered species only trying to do their honest nights work. I’m not holding out any hope of either scenario being taken up.

There is a familiar feeling about the end of this season, not just in the inconsistencies of recent performances. Next year will be better. It will, Wojciech Szczesny says so,

When you play for this Club you want to win trophies. This Club deserves trophies and we didn’t get any this year so it’s always disappointing. I think the quality is there. We all know it – we have the quality to fight for trophies in Europe and this country. It’s just consistency that has been a bit of a problem for us this year. But the team’s getting more experienced and hopefully we’ve got the experience to win trophies next year.

I think if you look over the last couple of months we’re probably one of the best teams in the Premier League. So we’ve got three games to go and we need to win all three and we’ll finish third.

I am not quite sure what else the Pole is supposed to say. Arguing that the squad needs to be improved further before any title challenge can be made is not going to endear himself to manager or team-mate alike. I am not going to indulge in fantasy football manager here, my views have not changed over the years: every single squad needs changes each summer, every squad can be improved. To believe otherwise is delusional and ignores the realities of football.

The manager will not want a repeat of last summer. A valid point was raised earlier this week in response to the piece on Robin van Persie: Arsenal may hold onto him even if he signals he is not going to renew his contract as it makes it more straightforward to sign a replacement with the Dutchman already confirmed as leaving the club. At that level, the players want to know there is a relative cast-iron guarantee of first XI football not that they are competing with the best player in the world (at the moment). Fragile egos and all that.

A big improvement in the consistency that Szczesny speaks of, would come through fitness being retained through the season. How Arsรจne would love Jack Wilshere to be fit now, easing the absence of Mikel Arteta and Theo Walcott. A squad player such as Denilson would be a decent addition. The Brazilian would be a good fit into the side now in these circumstances. This season’s fluctuating form has not just been down to injuries, the mishandled transfer window was a lesson that the club has learned from hopefully. However, the injuries do not help sustain form or improve it where needed. With a plateau coming in the top six teams – many of a similar level whilst Newcastle showing teams can break into the European placings – it is vital that Arsenal stay ahead of their competitors whilst bridging the gap to the top two.

Elsewhere, Nicklas Bendtner does not feel that he wants to prolong his stay in the North East nor is he overly keen on staying at Arsenal. Potentially a good centre forward, the Dane is proving outstanding at burning his bridges. Carlos Vela is more circumspect about his future, preferring to stay in Spain with Real Betis interested, as well as current club Real Sociedad, but if he has to come back to England, he will. Very reluctantly, it has to be said. Meanwhile Jan Vertonghen‘s flabber has been well and truly gasted by the lack of reciprocal Arsenal love and realises that he might not be leaving for anywhere soon at all. So much so that he is backtracking faster than most of us can move forwards. Perhaps he ought to phone young Bendtner and offer a tip or two?

’til Tomorrow.

162 thoughts on “Moments Of Clarity: Third, Appeals And Squad Strength

  1. Khalifha

    It aint for me to get over anything. You are the one with the problem. You are on probation as far as I am concerned. Don’t trust you man, your shit stinks. prove me wrong, or fuck off.

    No offence.

  2. Dexter, after last night I’m hoping your dream has already come true – right score, wrong teams!

  3. Thanks Fins for all three videos. Delightful and the awards ceremony was great to see too. Highlights: he thanks Arsenal and calls it a massive, massive club, that it was a dream to come play at Arsenal, that there are such great teammates at a club like Arsenal. For RvP it is Arsenal, Arsenal, and a little bit more Arsenal.

    Wonderful representative of our club. I’m very proud to have a captain and player like him.

  4. Dex @ 9:04:

    Why so serious, just having a bit of fun.

    TBH, You are correct that one bad call or even a series of bad calls or results proves nothing but you and lots of others quickly forget that when a call or a result goes the other way. Imagine how many comments there would have been about the dodginess in the game if Barca and Real had won.

  5. Khalifha

    Yep, you are a tool. I just mean in terms of your posts, I aint threatening you with anything other than me not takin anything you say seriously. Your posts are reminiscent of a few doomers who try and make out they aint.

  6. Bill

    I didnt see any of the CL semi’s mate. I thought the chavs had a good chance as barca have been in a bit of a slump, by their recent standards for a while now.

  7. Putting a smiley face at the end of a post does not make it funny.
    Dex.Trojan horses some of them.Do you think?

  8. Yeah DukeG, you know she wears the trousers man, mainly due to the fact George hasnt been able to fit into a pair of strides since 1978.

  9. Duke,she should have taken classes instead of living off my blood sweat and tears.
    Lazy bitch.

  10. Team for Saturday;

    Szczesny
    Sagna Koscielny Vermealen Santos
    Song Rosicky
    Benayoun Ramsey Chamberlain
    RvP

    Kinda picks itself really, at the moment, I suppose.

  11. Pep might announce he is leaving Barca tomorrow. Soon Cesc is going to be scapegoated and may wish he never left Arsenal. Perhaps the bad karma of his recruitment is catching up with that club.

  12. Limestone

    Where did you here that about Pep man? I think you may well be right about cesc, he will be blamed for making the boss have to change his tactics to fit him in, well, if twats like Balague have anything to do with it.

  13. Dexter, doomer?, really?, this is the only blog i read without bitch slapping myself for thinking it would any good, i find that very insulting because of the amount of respect i have for wenger you a.hole, besides the theo gibe was just some frustration spilling over, i could not bottle it up anymore, it may have come across a your usual legrove rant but it was far from it.

  14. Looking ahead, am very confident of us getting the three points at jurasik park, why? Law of averages , stupid. Stoke have drawn with man united and chelsea, beaten liverpool and spu*s there, we are bound to win there, What!! You don’t believe my theory, lets just wait and see.

  15. Again with the insults.

    New arrival, spews some bile slating an Arsenal player. gets pulled up about it. Changes tune dramatically and goes over the top with positivity. But over time that same negative shite pokes through, till the true colours are unravelled. oh and insults a plenty along the way.

    Yep, you fit the bill 100% so far.

  16. khalifha.
    How to make friends and influence people?

    Where is our resident fence sitting soldier these days?

  17. Dex:

    I have been called lots of things by you and many others, but simple is a new one. I will add it to the collection. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Barca are having a mental letdown this season but even with that I did not think Chelsea had a chance at the Nou Camp. When you win as much as Barca has its hard to maintain the same edge for a prolonged period of time. Pep leaving would be a surprise but things go stale after a while even for the best managers and sometimes a change just for the sake of a change is needed. Arsene and Fergie’s are much more of an exception rather then the rule.

  18. Bill

    Ha! As far as I can recall, I’ve called you a chav fane…. can’t think of any other names dude!!??

  19. You got some serious competition George. Not sure we have room for 2 boring unfunny cunts on here though? SMILEY FACE!

  20. Cheers Limestone, just read it. There ain’t no quotes though, i guess it could be true? Maybe he will leave and then… Take the England job!!!

  21. Dex:

    All the names I have been called and the people who do it run together after a while. Limpar was always the most creative and I miss him. Thats all part of the fun. ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. Fukin el, pepe has won 14 trophies in 4 years,ok 4 of them are mickey mousers but cesc wont have anyone saying that..

  23. Let’s keep it clean boys! And btw, shouldn’t it be spelled khalifah, if you must transliterate the “h” for the ta’ marbutah?

  24. we could be here all night if we listed all the names george has been called by fellow bloggers.

  25. 14??? 3 La Ligas and 2 CLs man. What else? Those 5 are well impressive, just curious to know what other trophies are counted in that lot man?

  26. Quotes? That’s so old media, my man! You’re right that it is somewhat speculative but you don’t have to have quotes for it to be reported properly.

    The only quote that will matter is Pep’s if he has anything to say tomorrow. We shall see.

  27. Er erm, untold arsenal were running some sort of arsenal awards , there was a category that had to do with breakthrough star for next season – long story short, the winner was coquelein
    The nominees were
    Santos
    Coquelain
    Diaby
    Jenkinson
    Miyaichi.
    Who will make the biggest impact next season?

  28. sorry thats 13 trophies…3 la ligas, 2 cl, 1 lana del ray, 3 supercopas, 2 uefa super cups, 2 fifa world club cups.

  29. Limestone;

    Well the report said Pep wanted to take a break from football, so the England manager’s job should be perfect!

  30. Intrigued by the discussion of who should play out wide on Saturday. Britannia Ground doesn’t have an “out wide” does it? Tactical selection would be Szcz, 6 mid-fielders and a troup of armoured tanks.

  31. “Breaking: Rangers have just announced a new TV deal. From next season their games will be shown on the History Channel.”

  32. Finally get a chance to pop in and what do you know, Paul-N ends off the days rants with a howler ๐Ÿ™‚ well played lad, well played!

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