Sunday, April 19, 2009

Where was Arshavin?

"The season will only be good if we win something. Otherwise, it will be a failure."

- Didier Drogba, spelling out the truth for both Chelsea and Arsenal

We're not going to win the treble. Drogba put paid to that in the 84th minute when he scored Chelsea's second goal, and sent us out of the FA Cup. You can argue that Fabianski made a hideous mistake rushing out to meet Drogba, and it cost us the game. But truthfully, the match was over a long time before then. It was over the minute the team sheet was released, and Arshavin was on the bench. 

Why Arshavin was left on the bench is a bit of a mystery. We need the Owl to play every game he can. He's probably our best player. He's certainly been the most influential player in in the games he's played. And yet, he was rested for the game. 

I only saw the last twenty minutes of the match. We were getting killed all over the park by that stage, but it was still 1-1. And yet, we had Arshavin,  Nasri and Song on the bench while we had Denilson and Diaby on the field. It beggars belief that in the one competition we had a chance of winning, we'd go in with a weakened side. 

After we lost, I spent most of night wondering why Wenger would do that. Came up with a few ideas:

1. He wanted to rest Arshavin: 
Arshavin hasn't had a pre-season and has played almost every game for almost three months now. He's been playing one or two matches a week. He's not conditioned to this much football. He could be a bit tired. He could have a soft tissue injury. He might need a rest for Tuesday. 

2. Wenger wanted to hide Arshavin from Hiddink:
Arshavin might have some secret weakness that Wenger doesn't want the world to know. And if Arshavin has a weakness, Guud Hiddink will know about it. Hiddink wouldn't want the world to know about it either, but if it was a choice between Chelsea winning and losing, he'd take advantage of it. And Wenger would want to protect that weakness, because Arshavin's mystique is the best thing we've got at the moment. 

3. Wenger overlooked Arshavin, literally:
Arshavin is very short. And Wenger is very tall. Maybe Wenger had all the players in the dressing room, looked around but forgot to look down. He couldn't find Arshavin, panicked, saw Diaby (who is also very tall) and picked him instead. It's happened before - Diaby and Song do play a lot more matches than Nasri, Vela and Walcott. 

Whatever the case, we're in a bit of a bind now. The FA Cup was our best chance of winning something this year. And now, we're out of it. And it's okay, really. We've got two games a week for three weeks, against some of the best sides in the world. We're not going to win every match. But still, it's frustrating that we didn't bring out our best side to a game we really should be winning. 

As Drogba put it, a successful season is determined by the trophies you win. 


Patt said...

As much as i hate the twat, Drogba is right. Success is determined by trophies. AW does not seem to be keen on winning them so i wonder what his interpretation of a successful season is. He threw the game away and im gutted, even more so now knowing that we would be playing bloody Everton.

Anyway, its done and theres nothing we can do about it. We are still in the CL and i think we can beat the Mancs and Barca. We just have to play our own game and not worry about what the other team is doing, it proved fatal last night. I just hope AW learned his lesson.

Vertino Aleci said...

Weg, the third explanation offered by you, absolutely hilarious stuff. You never know with AW. I think reason 2 is more believable, perhaps he loves AA so much he coudn't bear to see him go anonymous as he did for Russia in the Euro 2008 semi against Spain.

Drogba looked so calm before the match. I wondered why, perhaps he knew that our defence would just have a crazy moment every now and then. Otherwise I thought the defence was not too bad. Gibbs was oustanding, more of the same (I nearly typed Shame there) That would be Ashley Cole.

Connolly's agent said...

Frustrating stuff, fellas. And Vertino, I think reason three is the most likely; Wenger said something about wanting someone tall in the middle to counter Chelsea's midfielders.