It’s Election Day here in the UK and with most of the country can’t honestly tell the difference between the parties duking it out, the winner of this popularity contest will probably be the person with the greatest personality.
Arsène Wenger for President people.
It’s quiet on the Arsenal front. Quieter than a fox in a back garden wearing socks and mittens. Quieter than you’re average van Persie when watching the FA Cup final. Quieter than a Spud in a library.
With the team not playing until Monday night, there’s absolutely no need whatsoever to stir up any issues either, so we’re having to contend ourselves with the prospects of watching other teams in Champions League action. I started to watch the Barca v Bayern game and whilst it wasn’t too cagey in the first half, chances being at a premium as they were, I decided to catch up on a bit of Game of Thrones in the second. More fool me, it appears, as Messi once again stole the show.
He’s often the difference – much like Ronaldo, I must admit through gritted teeth – for Barcelona and given that it’s widely accepted that those two are very much ‘one offs’ I do find it humorous how dependent both teams are on those two. Sure, there are plenty of quality players in the team, but those two stand out. Which is why I crease a smile when I see people in the media talk about Giroud and a team not being capable of winning things unless they have a ‘world class’ player in their team. From what I’ve seen over the last 48 hours, there are players in all four Champions League semi-finalists – three of four who will be Champions of their respective leagues within the next few weeks – who I would class as not quite ‘world class’. So does the logic that you need to have world class players only applicable to English teams.
Yes, some would have you think, particularly when no English team is in the semi finals of European’s premier competition. For that is how the media judges everything. Not based on practicalities of performance, but on whether you’ve navigated a knockout comp. Chelski under Roberto Di Matteo were clearly the best team in Europe when they won it. Ha!
Still, at least we all do our best to drown out the hum-drum of the English press as best we can, with the help of Arsène and the team. Starting at some stage today with some sort of team news. Hopefully Ramsey has overcome his ankle knock and is available, but if not it will be a fine opportunity for Theo to ask the manager if he can have a go.
It’s funny, as we near the end of the season I am hoping we start to see some more rotation, because we want all of the players feeling like they can win their place back in to the team next season. There have been numerous accounts of players talking about how everyone is trying extra hard to win a place in the first XI in the wake of stiff competition, but Arsène does need to get the balance right, so freezing out some players isn’t really something I think should be considered and I do think he should rotate a few players where he can. I may be derided for what I’m about to say, but Chamakh and Jenkinson – when afforded time in the first team – were able to show that they were decent players. It was only when they were left out of the team for a prolonged period of time that they looked like weak links in the team.
Form and regular game time breeds confidence, as Jenkinson for West Ham and Coquelin for us have shown this season, which is why Arsène needs to strike a blend of giving players continuous game time to build momentum and rotating so that other players can hit the ground running if called upon through injury or suspension to others.
We’ve had problems in the past where the starting XI was the starting XI and as a result the squad players knew they didn’t stand a chance of staking a claim in the side even if they played and played well. We don’t want to go back to that. We need to keep players thinking that they can play in this Arsenal team and that if they string together a run of good performances, that they will get in the team, and stay there.
That’s why I hope to see a bit of rotation in the league. Let’s keep the momentum, but also keep a squad of players who are all fighting and motivated come August.
Catch you later alligator.