Despite plane troubles that nixed the pre-match press conference, Wenger found a way to get out to press a good ole fashioned pep-talk, saying that the destiny of the team is in their hands and that he wants the boys to be rewarded for all their hard work and that he’s personally going to buy them all a pony when they get back to London, if they beat Roma.
Sounding a familiar refrain, he said:
You judge a season at the end of the season and it’s down to us in the coming months to show that we have the necessary quality and that people were too quick to write us off.
Sorry, but I don’t recall any “writing off” of this team. I do recall “slagging off” after shiatty performances but that is perfectly natural and something I think the boss and his creche of players would do well to take on board rather than dismiss out of hand with broad statements like “we have been written off” and “judge us at the end of the season.” Fans, ‘fanatics’ who love the club, are going to judge and be pissed off when they spend $1000 to fly to London to watch Arsenal take on a team of Tottenham rejects and put in a performance that was literally a somniferant to at least one other spectator.
I can’t possibly speak for everyone but I’m fairly certain that what we all want to see is a team that is progressing from year to year. Getting better, challenging for awards, give the fans something to celebrate, and for 3/4 of this season, this was a club that looked more like it was digressing rather than progressing. Yes, Wenger and The Young Ones have turned that around a bit with this current run of form and Arsenal are finally closer to 4th place than 6th. They are also a hound’s tooth away from the Champions League 1/4 finals and still playing catch-up with the rest of the league in the FA Cup.
Huzzah, keep up the good work, but could you all please do us a favor and stop pointing the finger outward for once? Take some responsibility for this mess?
If we have been critical it’s because the team has put in a lot of gormless performances and the manager has refused to bolster key positions that he even admitted that the team needed. Frankly, it’s patently disingenuous to say “oh well, you shouldn’t have written us off” before you win anything. It’s almost as if he’s gloating, like he’s saying “I told you not to write us off” — dude, beating Burnley and West Brom is hardly setting the world on fire. It was only two weeks ago that Arsenal let Fulham, FULHAM, overrun our midfield. So, maybe save the gloating for when you win the Champions League, you know, at the end of the season, when we’re all supposed to judge you?
For me, the worst part of what he’s doing is that by blaming those of us who have been critical, it absolves the team of their responsibility. And in this match today this team will be held accountable by Roma. Roma have watched the Fulham and Sunderland match tapes and they are saying that they are going to be “cautious” and “patient” which translates into “defensive” and “stealing goals on the counter.” Arsenal will need to be at the top of their game and not let off for one second — this is a Champions League game, there’s no do overs.
Fortunately, one characteristic of this team is that they do show up for big matches and if they play the way they did two weeks ago, if Denilson and Song can scratch out a huge performance in the middle again, and if Arsenal can take the chances we are given, I have no doubt that they will beat Roma.
This team has the quality to beat Roma but it’s not about the quality, it’s about the desire. We’ll find out if they have the desire tonight.