Monday, April 20, 2009

Why, Wenger?

"It would be unfair to put too much responsibility for this defeat on Fabianski. I just want to see him recover because I firmly believe he will be one of the best goalkeepers in the world."

- Arsene Wenger, passing the buck

The thing is that we don't blame Fabianksi for the goals. Yes, he was beaten at the near post for the first. And yes, he shouldn't have rushed out for the second. But he's our second-string keeper and he's inexperienced. You expect horribly gauche mistakes from inexperienced players. As Wenger once said, you pay for their education in points. We don't blame Fabianski for the loss.

We blame Wenger.

Arsenal vs Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-final is a big, big game. It's our best hope for a trophy this year. We've got a team that is enjoying a late-season resurgence. We're facing a team that's leaking goals. If we attack them, there's a fair chance they'll fall over. In fact, with our patched-up defence, attack is our only chance of winning.

And what do we do?

We play a 4-5-1, stock our midfield with tall players who aren't in-form. We rest our in-form players. We leave our best player on the bench. We take an early lead, and then wait for them to equalise and take the lead. In short, we bottle it.

It gets me angry. It makes me sad. It leaves me with a mild headache and in a profound state of melancholy. Playing Chelsea is difficult enough without playing a half-strength side. When we play Chelsea, we need to play our strongest side and hope for the best. If we don't do that, and we throw a match like we did the other night, what's it all for? Why are we following a club which doesn't take a match seriously, which treats its supporters with contempt, which looks Triumph and Disaster in the eye and treats them both impostors as the same? After all, it's not a fucking Rudyard Kipling poem, Wenger - it's football.

What makes it even more galling is that Everton beat Man Utd last night on penalties. If we'd gone into the Chelsea game with our best side, and if we'd won, we would've been odds-on to win the FA Cup. I don't rate the FA Cup personally, but it's still a trophy.

And for a side as callow as ours, the experience of winning a trophy is priceless.

No comments: