Arsenal preview: It’s make or break

Eek, a whole week since the last post.

Which means I’m bouncing straight from a dismal post-mortem straight into this preview. I’d like to say my outlook has changed and I’m bursting with confidence. I’m certainly more sanguine than I was on Monday morning.

It’s been a funny week, coloured at the end by Wenger saying some odd stuff. There was mention of us nearly signing someone on deadline day. What was the point of that? He might as well have told me I’d nearly won the lottery.

Then he said it would be no disaster to finish third. Well, I suppose it wouldn’t to a point. Disaster is when you sell all your best players, have four owners in one year, no cash, a winding-up order. But is third the limit of our ambitions? Ultimately, it may be an achievement but history will not judge us on how many times we come third. It’ll judge us on trophies.

So anyway, onto today. The stats are here for you all to chew over, but the bottom line is it’s going to be hugely tricky for Arsenal. Chelsea will sense – as Wenger does – that we are lacking “that fraction of belief” after Sunday.

It certainly seems true that, for whatever reason, we are not the strongest side psychologically. Small setbacks can become big ones. Lots of our players are confidence players – fantastic on form, average when out of sorts. Why else would Wenger feel obliged to so frequently come out in public to reinforce the quality, belief and togetherness of his players if it wasn’t at least in part to convince them of it themselves?

The good news is we can do it. We were the last team to defeat them at Stamford Bridge in the league. We can do it again if the players come out all guns blazing, harrying, fighting, believing.

Which is why the first ten minutes will be instructive. If we come out and take them on from the first moment – rather than taking a half to warm to the game as we have done on other occasions this season – then we can do it.

It really is make or break if you ask me. Nine points behind would simply be too much at this stage of the season to overturn. It would be hard enough if it was just one team ahead of us, but there are two, both of whom have hit form.

More Sunday reading here if you can bear it: Manuel Almunia’s nerves add extra edge to Arsenal’s visit to Chelsea and Wenger worries that his side have lost belief.

Though you might want to avoid those if you’re of a nervous disposition.

Come on you reds!

6 thoughts on “Arsenal preview: It’s make or break

  1. Let’s not be defeatest , but let’s use logic .arsene somethings got to give, we either buy quality 5 plyrs or 10 yrs of coming 4th same old same old WwwwwAaaaKkkEeeee UP !!!!

  2. Hi, Rotorgoat

    Couple of things seemed a bit odd to me…
    “There was mention of us nearly signing someone on deadline day. What was the point of that? He might as well have told me I’d nearly won the lottery. ”

    He can’t very well tailor communications to suit each individual fan. You must have noticed that some fans say they want to know every detail of what’s going on with transfers, and claim not to believe that we are even trying to sign new players. He is talking to those fans.

    “Then he said it would be no disaster to finish third. Well, I suppose it wouldn’t to a point. Disaster is when you sell all your best players, have four owners in one year, no cash, a winding-up order. But is third the limit of our ambitions?”
    Of course it’s not the limit of our ambitions? Why would you come to that conclusion? Didn’t you write something recently about prioritising the EPL over the FA Cup? He wants to win the League. He’s just saying that there are degrees of success and failure. Coming third is our minimum requirement, and in itself would be an achievement. Not as big an achievement as winning, but still something to celebrate in a smaller way.

    Anyway, let’s hope the boys have a good one today.

  3. 86.I’M SORRY BUT ARSENE NEEDS DEFENSIVE COACHING HELP –

    See.. you take the Corporate world…Great Entrepreneurs are NOT ALWAYS GREAT ADMINSTRATORS…thats why small innovative companies when they become larger sometimes collapse – and thats due to Poor adminstration and control of a large firm…

    SAME HERE….NO DISRESPECT TO HIS ATTACKING FOOTBALL PHILOSOPHY (which also needs a bit of sharpening – cos we dont score much against Utd/Chelsea) BUT HE JUST DOESNT SEEM TO KNOW HOW TO TEACH THIS TEAM TO DEFEND…

    OK YOU MIGHT ASK HOW HE WON TITLES BEFORE – thats cos he INHERITED a set of Defenders who were ALREADY MASTERS OF THEIR ART, A TEAM THAT HAD THEIR BASICS OF DEFENDING ENGRAVED IN THEM AND IN THEIR MINDSETS – AND THAT RUBBED OFF ON HIS NEW (DEFENSIVE SIGNINGS) – Campbell, Toure, Cole probably got groomed better with the likes of Adams, Keown, winterburn etc etc…

    SO WHAT SHOULD ARSENE HAVE DONE – I think he should have retained maybe Adams, winterburn, dixon to groom the younger guys in defending…OR MAY BE HE SHOULD HAVE DONE THE UNTHINKABLE – GOT GEORGE GRAHAM FOR A COUPLE OF SEASONS AND GET THE DEFENDING SORTED !!!

    AND THEN THE NEXT BIG BIG POINT….

    I FEARED THE LOSS OF FLAMINI WILL HAVE AN EFFECT ON THIS TEAM….

    BUT I NEVER KNEW HE WOULD BE SUCH A BIG LOSS….

    Yes SONG has improved and will and should be that player in the CDM role for the future…

    BUT FLAMINI (THE ARSENAL VERSION) WAS a different CLASS ! And SONG Not yet there…

    ……….

    Most of my family never followed football…pessimistic people who always tend to see the negative side of things…

    Introduced Arsenal to them….the style of football, the philosophies…and bla bla…

    But guess I shouldnt have…cos every time during our Big moments over the past few seasons – where we screw up – these people are right at my faces…I’ve defended and defended…made that excuse…this excuse…

    BUT I’M TIRED…CANT SEEM TO DO IT ANY MORE !!!

  4. NOW – i know Our stupid Arsenal fans…I’ll recieve a barrage for saying the following….

    But I’ll still say it…

    should Wenger have done the UNTHINKABLE and Got George Graham in for this season and sort the defending part ???????????????

    I MEAN THIS IS SERIOUS….YOU CANT ALWAYS RELY ON YOUR CREATIVE PLAYERS TO ALWAYS SCORE…

    SO WHEN YOU DONT IN TIGHT GAMES LIKE THIS….YOU SHOULDNT CONCEDE WITH STUPID DEFENSIVE MISTAKES…

    AND GEORGE GRAHAM….A MASTER OF THIS…WHEN YOU DONT SCORE YOU HARDLY CONCEDE….

    I THINK THERES SOME BADLY NEEDED EXPERTISE IN THE DEFENSIVE AREA…

    AND ARSENE IS PISS POOR AT IT….

    Yes He won titles…BUT THATS COS THE DEFENCE took care of it self and I AM FUCKING SURE ARSENE Never dared to touch that area….

    YES He can be a genius in attacking football….

    BUT IN FOOTBALL THE RULES DONT SAY ONLY ARSENAL CAN ATTEMPT TO SCORE GOALS….AND ITS FORBIDDEN FOR THE OPPOSITION TO TROUBLE OUR DEFENDERS !!!

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