I haven’t had the chance to look at the United game again or to even study the chalkboards and there is plenty of chat on the internet about that, most of which is just zero-value noise, so I thought it’s best to leave that game aside for a day or two. I do want to discuss how Manchester United have a much better organized collective defensive system (best in the League if not the best in the world) but it’ll take some work. Hopefully I’ll get some time before the Stoke game.
Moving on, there have been a couple of interesting events at other clubs that I wanted to touch upon.
Carlos Tevez has put in a transfer request at City. Apparently, his wife doesn’t want to return to England and Tevez is citing personal issues and breakdown of relationships with certain people at the club as reasons for the quit request. Based on what City have said about this, one does wonder if it’s an attempt to do a Rooney. I don’t want to remind people of the various team spirit problems at City (something Arsenal fans must keep track of considering the demands to sign ‘world class’ defenders, keeper, striker, winger, midfielder, et al.) that in my opinion have not been dealt with properly. So I’m really keen to see how they deal with this situation.
City have the financial muscle to put Tevez in the reserves and buy another striker. Of course, it will have a big impact on their season because for large parts of the season the Argentinean has been their only real goal scorer. He is also very popular with fans. But if they don’t deal with Tevez in a strict manner, considering he has over three years left on his contract, then they will just give other troublemakers a chance to, er, make trouble!
While that would be fun for us from the outside, I’m not a fan of player power rising to such an extent that they start holding the club hostage with unreasonable and extremely selfish demands. Can Mancini and the City management make a statement?
On a related note, will the Misery Brigade say that Arsenal players have a winning mentality if the throw a strop when substituted?
The best news of the week though, has been the sacking of Big Sham. Kudos to the Indian owners for doing the right thing. I cannot imagine someone buying a football club and having Fat Sam as the manager. But the real big step for Venky’s will be the appointment of the next manager. Can they find someone like Holloway, Di Matteo, Owen Coyle, or Roberto Martinez to build a proper team on limited resources? And will that manager be able to get results with the collection of Thugs that Big Sham has accumulated? Will the short term result oriented thinking and the fickle nature of fans build artificial pressure on the club?
Since Venky’s are a proper business I’m assuming they won’t be interested in making huge losses at Blackburn. They’ll have to find a way of staying in the Premiership, keep the fans and players happy, while finding avenues to improve the business aspect of the club, and develop a better youth system for the future. Based on the decision to sack Fat Sam it seems the new owners also want to see real entertaining football. Not many have been able to achieve this balance in the Premiership. It’ll be interesting to see how others run a club the Arsenal way and how they handle the pressure that goes with it.
Finally, I wanted to touch upon the importance of having Fabregas back. While I like the fact that so many fans were disappointed we didn’t win at Old Trafford despite our best players not being in the starting line-up, highlighting their faith in the depth of the squad, I do feel we need Fabregas back in the form he was at the start of the season.
No team wins major trophies without significant contributions from the best players in the squad. I feel Arshavin, Chamakh, Nasri, and others are pulling their weight but the real champions are Van Persie and Cesc. Unless this pair, most notably Cesc, hits top form we will struggle in the battle for the two major trophies. Domestic cups are a different matter and hopefully we’ll bring home one if not both of those.
I’m not sure if Fabregas is having a fitness problem, a mental issue, or a combination of both. He hasn’t been close to his best for a few weeks and getting El Capitan back in top form seems to be Arsene’s biggest challenge right now. That’s not to say Wenger doesn’t have other issues to deal with but a fully firing Fabregas will solve half or more of those.