Another week and another dubious performance from Arsenal. This time, a seemingly straightforward game against Blackburn, became another tale of woe as Arsenal’s season tailed off alarmingly even before spring has sprung.
Arsene Wenger was fuming with the players, who will have to shoulder some responsibility for the tepid performance which left them with just one remaining chance at success this season, in The Champions League. But, sooner or later, Wenger has to realise that this system isn’t working.
The game is constantly evolving and system’s change. But you always have and always will need real strength through the centre of your side. Barcelona are the only practical exception but, if a team never gives the ball away then it doesn’t require big players to get it back.
But look at serial winners Manchester United. They have an abundance of flair in their side, but for all that, they wouldn’t be anywhere without a generous portion of resolve in there too. United are happy to win ugly. Indeed, they know you can’t win things without sometimes sacrificing guile for grit. A case in point last Wednesday. United faced Real Madrid in the Bernabeu. The Manchester United player who came out of the game with most credit was Phil Jones. Never the most graceful player you will see, but he did a superb job shackling Ronaldo. And without that dogged performance, Manchester United could be 3 or 4 down going into the second leg. If Manchester United do win The Champions League noone will complain about Jones destroying football. Defending is crucial. Simple as.
We all know it. It’s not rocket science. Arsenal have never replaced Patrick Viera. They have an abundance of talent in the midfield, but noone who can dominate a game through sheer size and physicality, when it turns into a bit of a battle. They need a slugger to add some steel to the side. Which is why reports of Arsenal scouts watching Celtic midfielder Victor Wanyama should encourage the fans enormously.
Despite the rumblings of discontent amongst the Arsenal faithful, they aren’t actually far off the pace. Most Premier League clubs would kill for that squad. They have genuine class in there. But they just need a big leader to look to when the backs are to the wall. Because, at the moment, they don’t have it and they suffer every time the going gets tough.
Wenger needs more substance in the spine of the side and we couldn’t think of anyone better to provide that than Victor Wanyama.
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