Archive for November 24th, 2009

Defeat at Sunderland makes winning tonight essential

1 comment November 24th, 2009

The Sunderland game was a horrible one to watch.  Every Tom, Dick, Harry and Hansen has pointed out that Arsenal’s front six was flawed by having too many similar players in it.  More significant, I suspect, was the fact that in Eduardo, Ramsey, Nasri, and Rosicky we started four players who haven’t played regular league football in some time.  They was a palpable lack of sharpess, and Sunderland capitalised with a goal from a poorly defended set-piece.

Having Darren Bent score against you is a rubbish feeling.  No matter how many goals he scores, a Darren Bent goal still hurts.  At the end of the day, this is a man who wasn’t good enough for Tottenham.  It’s like if Roman Pavlyuchenko left Spurs and later cropped up with a winner against you.  It’s like if Ramon Vega stole your girlfriend, or Christian Gross announced himself as your new stepfather.

We’re up against another man who never cut it at White Hart Lane tonight: Ricardo Rocha.  He says Liege need a miracle to win tonight.  I’d suggest all they need is for Arsenal to play as poorly as they did on Saturday.

A point would qualify us for the next round – a win would make us group winners.  It’s debatable how advantageous that is – we could win the group and still face European Champions Barcelona in the next round – but for the sake of morale and form it’s vital that we pick up three points.  On Sunday there’s a crunch game against Chelsea wherein defeat would see us eleven points behind the league leaders.  It’s vital we go into that match on a high.

To that end, Arsene is urging the whole squad – particularly Theo Walcott, who is likely to make only his second start of the season tonight – to forget about their World Cup qualifying campaign and concentrate entirely on their club now:

“The big season is with Arsenal, not at the World Cup. We do not pay players to go to the World Cup – we pay the players to do well for Arsenal. The first pride of a man is to do well for the guy who pays you in life, not to go to the World Cup.”

It’s easy to understand his frustration at being asked whether or not Walcott will go to the World Cup in June when we’re still in November and he’s yet to make a significant impact this season at club level.  The midweek play-offs also meant that Andrey Arshavin was not fresh enough to start at Sunderland.  With the qualifying campaign now put to bed, it’s only right that players should focus on the hand that ultimately feeds them – their clubs.

A good win tonight is vital.  I don’t know whether or not Arsene will risk fielding Eduardo three times in a week, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him start – he needs a goal to give him the confidence he requires to replace the injured Robin van Persie.

Come On You Reds.

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