Sometimes you can’t see the woods for looking at the trees. Over the past few weeks we have all seen MoTD on the BBC or NBC with a veritable smorgasbord of pundits all praising Arsenal’s style of play, yet claiming that there is an inherent fault in our team’s setup which will prevent us from going on to win the league. They have come up with various reasons such as:
- Arsenal haven’t played any of the big clubs
- Arsenal have lost against the only title contender they have played
- Arsenal haven’t played in inclement weather, their foreign players aren’t acclimatised to UK weather and dark nights.
- Arsenal haven’t got the depth of team.
- Arsenal only have Giroud up front.
- Arsenal spent 42M GBP on a midfielder when they needed a defender, a keeper and a striker.
- Arsenal have don’t have as much talent as Chelsea.
1. It is not the big clubs that make or break a title race. As Chelsea, Man City and Man Utd have already found out in their first eleven games, the Premier League is littered with landmine games. One false step and BOOM! In recent years Arsenal have lost against Blackburn, Fulham, Swansea, West Brom and Sunderland with a concomitant drop in morale. This season Aston Villa, West Brom, Sunderland and Newcastle have all handed out lessons in humility. So it is not just the title rivals that can cause title contenders a problem. At the same time, Arsenal have done the business at home against two “bigger” teams which is the first order of business when seeking to win the title.
2. Yes we lost. But it was a close run thing, it wasn’t a slaughter. We have 27 games left to put things right (win them all?)
3. Most of our players have a lot of experience of Northern European conditions. Either they have played in Germany where even before the winter break it still gets “F” Cold (that’s f for freezing;^) or they have played in the Premier League for at least a year – Arteta, Cazorla. The YBC (Young British Core) of course also helps. So I don’t feel we are going to as adversely affected by the changes as we have been in previous years.
4-7. We do have a shallow team, the squad is probably 18-20 players at most, but the addition of Ozil has changed the dynamics of the team so that teams have more options they have to cover. His addition to the team also means goalscoring is not the preserve of one player. Look at where the 22 league goals have come from – 10 different players.
When teams focus on any one or two of our players then someone else wriggles free to find time and space that generates a scoring opportunity. The addition of Ozil has also freed up the requirement for Ramsey to get forward every time. This combined with the addition of Flamini means that we now have three players if they are playing in the team, who can fit into the holding midfield…yet another of my beloved triangles.
I could wax lyrical but it is only 11 games and I am not someone who would have the temerity to sing about being the top of the league at this time. The only time it counts is when the trophy is passed over in Red and White ribbons.
All of this pondering leads me to wonder “Are we the team in plain sight”?. The team who no-one outside of Arsenal really believes has more than an outside chance? If it comes true it will be just like Arsenal winning in 88/89 and 97/98. where we were an Arsenal who were a stealth team, unfancied, unloved and not factored into the equation, the rogue element if you will.
Written by N5Artillery