Thursday 1 October 2009

Wenger's Lucky Thirteenth?

There is always an element of subjectivity in any analysis or judgement, particularly so, perhaps, in matters of the heart. And football.

Along with the Corrs dilemma, the other seminal philososphical debate of the modern era is if you had a straight choice between Arsenal winning the Champions League and the Premier League - which would you choose?

Now, before you choke on your cornflakes, take a moment to reflect a little further on it.
It would be the dream Champs League final against the team of your choosing (Manure? Barca?), the dream scoreline (that in itself is tricky - a 6-0 thrashing or a brilliant last winute winner?), at the venue of your choice (got to be in Spain), and you get the memory of being there for the rest of your life. I guess the dream format for winning the league would be a repeat of the Invincibles season in 2004.

13 years ago, the above scenarios were both so unrealistic for Arsenal fans that they actually did pose questions that would trouble drink-addled brains late into the night, but times have changed. In 2004 the Invincibles won the perfect league title. In 2006 the dream Champions League final almost happened. All but the damned scoreline in Paris that is.
But since that moment, there has been a bit of a lull in the Arsene Wenger invasion of world football.

But I think we are at a turning point. Its not the dark before the dawn - the sun is already peaking over the rooftops and its going to be a glorious day.

There is a confidence in Arsenal's play that we have not seen for a while. Olympiacos, the Greek champions, were utterly thrashed on Tuesday night at the Emirates. The inclusion of Cesc, Rosicky and Arshavin in the line up had the explosive result that we have only been able to dream about since January when Arshavin signed. But seeing those three together on the pitch was simply incredible.

People may point to Olympiacos being a bad side, that we only scored late, or that Arshavin's goal was offside, but I have not seen Arsenal play that well for years.

Eboue is back to his very best this season. He still likes the theatrics and may not be the best defender in the world, but his confidence has improved dramatically. The mistakes have been eradicated and he now poses a genuine selection headache with Sagna. Clichy on the left likewise seems to have stopped diving in to tackles and playing more of a perecntage game as a defender.
The front six players now has options that I do not think an Arsenal side has ever had before. It sounds a bold claim, but its probably right. Tuesday night was the first time we had Arshavin, Rosicky and Cesc start a match together, but Bendtner and Walcott were both missing., as was Denilson. I cannot wait to see what this team can do with a full strength side - on paper it could be incredible.

That said, as per 1979's post on Monday, big doubts remain over our defensive abilities, particulalry the balance in midfield where Song is currently our only tough player out there. Denilson would add to the balance defensively, but he is not exactly nails hard himself and (shock horror) is not as good going forwards as Diaby, who is currently playing. Somewhat bizarrely, apart from Song, 99% of the good tackles that have been made in midfield have come from Tomas Rosicky. so I would expect Tommy to play in midfield more than as part of the front 3.

The permutations up top are bewildering between RVP / Bendtner / Arshavin / Eduardo / Walcott / Vela and I won't even try to give a comparison between them, other than to say that Arshavin and RVP are practically dead certs to play if fit, so the rest are really competing for one slot.

If we can put Blackburn to the sword on Sunday and get to 15 points from 7 games, then we will have made a more than decent start to the season. Its a hell of a long way to go, but I am surprised to realise that the first quarter of the season is almost gone.

Wenger needs to keep the team motivated and focused and if we can get through our traditional sticky patch in November unscathed, then who knows what Wenger's lucky 13th year is going to bring. 'Cos I want that Champions League trophy in our cabinet real bad...


Anonymous said...

i would settle for the carling cup this year!

Anonymous said...

Way to go! You've come up with a concept that even Google cannot help me decipher...

What is a "Corrs dilemma"?

Uncle Mike said...

Blackburn, fry. Blackburn, fry. Cesc, Arshavin and Rosicky forever? All of your life you have been waiting for this moment to arrive!

If Rosicky becomes that defensive midfielder that Arseblogger and others have been demanding (and rightly so) for over a year, and Nasri comes back (so he can play offensively AND van Persie is available to take corner kicks instead of give them), this could be a real bastard of a team for anyone to play.

Anyone. ManUre, Chelski, Barca and Jose's Inter -- I would loove it if we face them in the CL and beat them, loove it.

Uncle Mike said...

Of course, I meant "Cesc, Arshavin and Rosicky together." Sorry.

I may have mistyped, but I certainly didn't mean "forever," much though I would wish it. As too many Arsenal managers have proven, nothing lasts forever. After all, Charlie George and Ray Kennedy were still under 30 when the '79 FA Cup Final and '80 Cup Winners' Cup Final were played. What they could have done with Liam Brady and Alan Sunderland... alas, we'll never know on this plane of existence.

1979gooner said...

good point about the thirteen years,

i'm very happy with where we are at the moment, we're set up very nicely as a club in many ways and most of the credit for this must go to arsene

i do think we will struggle defensively, we will leak too many goals to win the title

i would love to be wrong on this though

K man said...

great post Ted.

Corrs dilemma - would you shag the Corrs (Irish band made up of three very stunning sisters but one rather ugly brother)? To be fair the dilemma was invented about 12 years ago so I probably wouldn't take up the challenge now. Ted?

I love how if you goole "corrs dilemma" the first hit is this blog. genius

Ted said...

The Corrs dilemma poses few problems for utilitarians. The greatest good for the most people is achieved, without doubt, by getting your dirty mitts on them. And the price is worth paying.

Oh yes.

Anonymous said...

The Corrs dilemma is easy.

Its a no.

marjul said...

There is no impossible if we all supporters would PRAY that even one trophy will do...hey you! don't smirk at me the ONE who gave you gift,talents,skill, etc...staring compassionately at you. HE just waiting for us to say PLEASE ILLUMINE THE MINDS OF THE PLAYERS (Arsenal of course) SO THAT THEY CAN SEE WHAT OTHERS CANNOT SEE.
I am not a football wiz but I love so much Arsen-nal Team!