So, where are things at then? We’ve got a whole two weeks of nothing exciting, which if Wenger’s standpoint is to be believed, will benefit us; he reckons our defeat at Everton was at least in part down to fatigue.
Fatigue, it must be said, is a funny old thing. When your team is on fire, challenging on a major front and in form, it never seems to be a factor. Players just get through it, or don’t notice it. When you’ve had a kick in the teeth as we have, it becomes a factor. So I accept that argument to a point, though it doesn’t explain the toothlessness of our attack, nor does it really explain the loss of concentration that led to us conceding. The conceding bit has been happening all season.
Personally, I think this season – in the league – we have made advances. Yes, we’ve let too many silly goals in and yes, we’ve had a bad run of things over the last three weeks, but by and large we’ve been tougher in away games (last season’s big criticism), we’ve lost our two best strikers, and we’ve brought some excellent young players through. That experience will count next season.
Is Phil empty?
As for now, there’s been a lot of talk about Wenger’s odd choice of defenders over the last few games, but fewer questions have been asked as to why Wenger has been driven to do this.
What I’d love to know is: what’s happened to Philippe Senderos?
The big Swiss skinhead has not started a game since 28th February, and I think it’s fair to say he’s been a bit wobbly of late. He’s the kind of player who is prone to mild doses of defensive panic, and who makes a lot of challenges that could go either way. Two red cards this season prove that.
But while he started 19 league games last season, injuries in the World Cup and a suspension here and there mean that this season he’s begun just 8 league games. Have those injuries held him back? Has he made the kinds of advances needed to remove either Toure or Gallas from that slot? Not yet he hasn’t if you ask me, and the strangest thing is that for the last three or four games, the out of position Gilberto has been preferred to him.
Perhaps he’s been rested and it’s as simple as that.
Finally, I’ve been directed towards a Wrighty podcast on Talksport. He’s as forth[w]right as ever and talks about a few things Arsenal and England, so if you’ve got a minute – well, more like 20 minutes – then why not give it a try.
And if you’re looking for further aural pleasure, it would of course be remiss of me not to nod in the direction of this week’s excellent arsecast.
That’s it from me. What a cold, grey, football-free week this is.