This is a weird old time at the moment. Weird because we have a week and a half without the Arsenal, but because it isn’t an interlull, every other fan of a team is counting down the days until the weekend and seeing their team play, so we just have to sort of twiddle our thumbs and pretend to be neutral for a while.
Of course we won’t be because Man United losing to Southampton in the cup would be delightful, as would Chelski losing to Swansea, Liverpool to Leicester and the Tiny Totts to Stoke. But sadly I fear none of that will happen and by Tuesday morning we could be as low as fifth and with Chelski getting closer and closer to being mathematically beyond our reach.
Stop sniggering at the outside prospect of us winning the league. I was only highlighting that to show you how far away we are from them.
Still, at least we can cling on to the possibility of a day out at Wembley, assuming we can navigate Lincoln that is. There are many who besmirch the semis being played at the national stadium, but from a personal perspective I think it’s great, because it represents a day out that not every team gets to experience. I’ve been to Wembley five times in the last four years and each time there has been an excitement in the build up to the game, a few drinks with friends in the pubs before and reminiscing of good times past. And I think since we’ve started getting to Wembley again, it’s reignited my desire for us to get there even more, because it represents a memory that I will keep with me hopefully until the day I die.
So yes, I am pleased that we got Lincoln in the next round and yes, I am pleased the semis are played at Wembley. It’ll be another memory to add to the collection.
Hopefully if we get there, Lucas Perez will be playing and after another goal and decent performance against Sutton, he has stated of how he’s hoping to convince the manager to play him more regularly. I don’t think I’m alone in saying that the rest of us Gooners want the same too, Lucas.
He’s a player who has scored goals, looks good with his movement and is versatile across the front three. He’s always performed for us and if you were to remove the names from the back of the shirt, you’d be as baffled as the next man when trying to work out why the number 9 isn’t playing ahead of certainly 14 and 17 at the moment. If you read my stuff regularly you’ll know that I often theorise over Arsène and his ‘hierarchies’. He’s always had them for as long as I can remember, but there always comes a tipping point where he overlooks them and another player is moved in. Take Monreal for example. It looks like after half a season, Gibbs has overtaken the Spaniard and it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see Gibbs playing every week between now and May.
It was the same with Eboue, Denilson, Theo, etc, etc. Arsène works to a certain hierarchical structure and it doesn’t matter if you string three or four good games in a row together, you won’t get your chance unless the other guy nose dives his form over a longer period of time.
In one sense it says a lot about the trust the man has in his players. But it doesn’t breed the competitive nature in a team as much as knowing you could be out of the team the following week if you don’t perform right now. That’s what our team is lacking. That competitive hunger. We all – myself particularly included – thought that the squad was good enough last summer with the acquisition of Lucas as one of the final pieces. But what we forgot to factor in is that you can pack a squad full of talent all you want, but if you don’t keep the balance of competitive hunger in the players, you end up with what we’ve got right now, which is a team on the brink of losing out on the two major competitions we wanted to have a good go at.
I’m not going to go into a load of prose about how Arsène needs to be moved on. Lord knows there’s been enough of that written. But it does just feel like that change is coming and it needs to come if Arsenal are ever really going to get close to the league or Champions League.
Right, that’s me for the day, so have at it people.