England relieve the pressure on Arsenal supporters

June 19, 2010

Well what a load of rubbish our national side dished up last night. My immediate post match reaction was all about anger and disappointment rather than logical analysis – just like when Arsenal have a poor game. Of course it’s all football and not surprising that the emotion is similar when watching England as watching Arsenal.

Arsenal will always come before England in my heart, but I’ll watch a game in the park and find myself urging one team to win even though I’ve never seen them play before.

All this got me thinking about the parallels between a poor England performance and a poor Arsenal performance.

The big question that applies to both is….. are the players to blame or the manager?

Did Capello become a bad manager in the last week? Do we have a different Arsène Wenger in charge compared to the one who orchestrated the Invincibles?

The England side lacked balance. Players were played out of position – Gerrard wide left; Heskey just a magnet for the long ball with no end product; Lampard there just for his reputation. Joe Cole was the only player available who could produce some magic and he was left sitting on the bench. I’m 100% sure that if Theo had been on the bench he would have been brought on last night, but he wasn’t even in the squad – BIG mistake.

The manager clearly failed to say anthing to make a difference in his half-time team talk and he didn’t select the players from the bench who were capable of turning the game around. I don’t buy the argument that the players are overpaid prima donnas who couldn’t care. To me they looked like they wanted it too much, were scared of failure and could not handle the pressure despite their wealth of experience. I consider Capello to be the most culpable for England’s poor performance.

Arsenal too have been guilty of fielding sides that lack balance and using players out of position. We have favoured players who by all accounts are brilliant in training but fail to reproduce that form in matches. We have looked clueless and lacking in a plan B, so logically, one would expect to apportion most of the blame to the manager – and as we are all aware, many supporters take that view to extremes.

Here I think the comparison falls down. Unlike Capello, Arsène is answerable to a Board who’s first concern is the future and financial stability of the club and possibly if I am cynical, the potential future value of their investment. The candy coated PR that Arsenal churn out is blatantly aimed at giving the message thay want us to swallow rather than a true account of activities behind the scenes and Arsène is a pawn in that process. I believe he is currently making statements regarding transfers that he knows are unlikely to come true.

Yes Arsène has made some bewildering team selections and persevered with players who many believe will not make the grade. Sometimes as in the case of Alex Song, he has been proved right andin other cases the jury is still out. But he is the manager and he is paid to make those decisions.

Some of the media mongrels are already calling for Hary Redknapp to replace Capello. Although I’d like to see it simply because it would be great to hear all the whinging totnum fans, I don’t believe he has ability to manage much above the Championship.

So thank you very much Mr. Capello, you have made the self flagellation of being an Arsenal supporter in the transfer window just a bit more tollerable. I wonder if Mr. Wenger has a wry smile on his face when he witnesses the fierce condemnation that his contemporaries Domenech and Capello are being subjected to.