Is Cesc Right Or Is Age A Valid Excuse?

Our captain has come out with an interesting comment,

As a team, we need to be stronger. We can’t hide behind people saying we are too young or we have injuries. We just have to compete. People say you must learn from your mistakes, but you learn how to play football when you are 12, 13, 14, 15. You don’t learn these things when you are 25.

I call this interesting because there aren’t too many people who defend Arsenal based on age. I can think of only one prominent person and that is Le Boss himself. Now if I wanted to be sensational I would have given this a “Cesc hits out at Arsene” or some such twist. As most regular readers will know, that’s never my purpose so we will leave the “Fabregas is unhappy with Wenger/Teammates” angle out of this discussion.

Age of the squad is one of Wenger’s pet excuses. Some of the fans who are desperate for a title are probably sick of it. Even I am not a big fan of age as a reason for not winning especially when the manager was extremely confident we can win something this year. Since we have a lot to play for this season I will leave the title discussion out and focus only on individual games.

I am assuming El Capitan was reflecting on the recent losses when he made this statement. In contrast, this is what Arsene said after the defeat at Stamford Bridge,

Our average age is 23 years and Chelsea’s is 29 – I think that it showed in the decisive moments on the pitch.

The way I see it, Wenger might believe that the squad is good enough to win a title yet there could be individual games where experience makes a difference.

Cesc has a point when he says that one learns football at a very young age. However, I believe that is just the technical aspect of the game and that is something our players are good at. But learning never stops (something Fabregas has acknowledged in previous interviews).

I tend to divide mistakes into two kinds. One where you don’t know what you are doing and learn after the event and the other where you know what should be done but fail to do it. If the mistakes by our players had been in the first category Cesc would have been right. But the mistakes were not down to a lack of ability. These players have learnt in their early years that you don’t leave the post and go walkabout. They have also learnt the importance of positioning and coordination in defense.

At the Bridge our chief culprits were Clichy, Song and Vermaelen. These guys aren’t exactly novices but they aren’t in the same league as Lampard, Ballack or Terry from an experience point of view.

So experience of playing and winning big games could certainly be a factor. Winning on the big stage is never easy no matter how much talent you have. There has to be that instinct that guides you through the big moments. After all that’s what these games boil down to. Most of the play is in the midfield and wide areas and the crunch moments are few and far between. Unfortunately, we have not been able to stamp our class in those moments.

I like to think that within a big game of football there is a mini game of chess. It’s a battle of wits and patience. Two opponents with equal firepower move around slowly and wait for a mistake. Each tries to move the game towards their own strengths while hiding their weaknesses. This is perhaps where we have failed and this is what comes through experience.

The other aspect that comes with experience is belief. You know that you can turn things around. Unless you have done it before you can only think that you can do it. There is a difference between thinking and knowing. I guess most of us have experienced this difference in some way or the other. If not, I suggest watching The Matrix for a quick primer.

In that sense when I see that most of this squad hasn’t won anything, it makes me wonder if we lack that crucial knowing part of experience. Maybe Wenger has a point there that Fabregas has missed. But if Le Boss makes a valid point, then he’s also the one who’s supposed to find a solution!

Age might be an explanation after the fact but it should not be an excuse.


10 Responses to Is Cesc Right Or Is Age A Valid Excuse?

  1. aniruddh says:

    I totally agree, but considering our experience its not limited,is it? cesc himself has played around 250 games at 22 I think there wouldn’t be many boasting that feat. arshavin is a full international and also the heartbeat of a spirited Russian side, sagna,gallas,vermaelen,bendtner,nasri and company are also seasoned professionals so counting our team as inexperienced would be churlish. The main reason for our Naïve defending has to be lack of tactile understanding as you have pointed out so many times in previous posts. additionally we need someone to guide our team in defence is really required someone like Tony Adams(jobless, isn’t he?) or Steve Bould( who needs to be relieved of his youth team duties) let just say that teams that can stick to their gameplan like the chavs,the mancs,the stokes,etc can beat us but other teams can’t really exploit our defensive frailties and I feel most european giants can’t either because the game being slower on the european front our defence can cope even barca I feel were much the weaker side when we met in paris a few years ago (seems a long time back, doesn’t it?).

  2. John Muhindo says:

    cesc is right because wenger did not buy. He has given faith to his players until the season ends to player every game. Cesc as adriver must talk strong to improve on personality morals and believe to some players to win games expected by all well wishers for the club.

  3. Maddy says:

    I agree with Aniruddh. Experience doesn’t come just with age. The number of games also matters. That said and done, we’re now in the age bracket when player’s abilities are also MAXIMUM. So lets hope for the best. Oh and I came up with this one. What do you think?

    http://bigfourza.wordpress.com/2010/02/13/a-for-arsenal/

  4. Royal Arsenal says:

    He is most certainly right. we have a quite brilliant team, they can do some amazing things, i think its really just a complete lack of confidence against teams like man u and chelsea

  5. […] Is Cesc Right Or Is Age A Valid Excuse? Our captain has come out with an interesting comment, As a team, we need to be stronger. We can’t hide behind […] […]

  6. bobbygee says:

    It is the captains job to take over the team. He is the leader. The manager wants his captian to be the leader of the team. learn from your mistakes means this. After studying the game film you learn what you did right and wrong. Maybe a player didn’t read the situation right and should have reacated this way. Maybe Wenger is say this to force his players to dig deep inside to look at themselves. This is get the captain to react and force the guys to stop making excuses and step to the plate and play balls to the wall. The manager has to be a father, mother, pyschologist,and leader of the players. This is a good move by Wenger.
    Vince Lombardi was a master at this. Tom Landry, Bobby Knight are some of the other coaches to get the most out of their players.
    This is my two cents. Thanks
    http://defutebol.net

  7. awesome says:

    Hey! I have been following your blog for 6 days now and i should say i am beginning to like your articles.I guess im subscribing now for not missing anything new.

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