City’s day-after thoughts: Did Wigan cause a severe lack of motivation?
Written by Chris on April 25, 2010 19:00
Earlier this week, as a result of an article which many thought was too harsh, The Gunning Hawk was probably facing its most turbulent week since we launched way back in September 2008.
I didn’t like it. I always say this website is about respect and different opinions where as long as the message is delivered in a mature and respectable way, I have no problem in what the writer in saying. For instance you all know how much I admire Carlos Vela, but if someone sends an article for the “By Our Readers” section in which he criticises the player, I will not reject it if it’s well written and not offensive in any way.
I re-read my article a couple of times, trying to understand what was so offensive about it and I found no insults, so “f” words, no “c” words, no numbers, call them as you wish, which could lead someone in thinking I am insulting Arsene Wenger or any other Arsenal player. It was – as one reader called it – “calmly criticism”, coming from someone who believed in this squad last summer, who believed in the squad when Robin suffered the injury and believed in the squad when Aaron suffered the injury.
But anyway, life goes on as they say, and it went on with the most boring game the Emirates has ever witness since it was launched. I believe even Dennis Bergkamp’s testimonial was more entertaining to watch. And the game, left both myself and Hasmat, thinking the same things.
This afternoon, as I compared my day after thoughts with Hasmat’s, I realised that we are indeed more or less on the same wavelength, reason why I decided to combine our articles in one so you can say what you will read below comes from both us.
The game at the Emirates left many asking questions on the winning mentality of the players, or shall I say motivation, in order not to use those two words again with the risk of upsetting people for a second time in one week.
After a quick look at the starting line-up, you could say that Cesc Fabregas and Andrey Arshavin were the only key players missing in the side. Granted, Manuel Almunia, William Gallas and Thomas Vermaelen were also absent, but let’s face it, Manuel is Manuel and also there was very little defending to do with both Sol and Mikael doing it to perfection.
Make no mistake, I am not underestimating the importance of what we were missing. I fully understand Billy and Thomas are two defenders who can score goals at any time from set pieces and fully aware of how important Cesc can be in creating magic, but seriously, there will be a day or two next season when Cesc will have a bad at the office or an injury, so we cannot expect him to be the one to always get us out of jail and those who had – yesterday – did not raise up to the occasion.
From yesterday’s starting line up, Robin Van Persie can be excused for failing to make an impact as he’s been out for so long with injury but the likes of Samir Nasri, Tomas Rosicky, Theo Walcott and Abou Diaby are becoming too predictable. To be fair on him, it was amazing how Abou dealt with Patrick Vieira, but he still lacked in the final third.
The only good thing that came out of the game was the way Sol Campbell seem to roll back the years and keep Carlos Tevez at bay. Sol had quite an exceptional performance and so did Mikael Silvestre. I urged for the Frenchman to be sold last week but if he can play like yesterday, especially in games where he is under pressure, he can indeed be a worth-keeping backup.
We knew, after Wigan, that our chances of winning the title were dead and buried but this does not justify the performance. You always have to play for a win, especially against a team which has become one of your fiercest rivals due to obvious reasons.
Instead, our players showed no creativity or urgency to win the match. It was a poor show. Theo did very well in the first half but disappeared in the second half. Samir saw plenty of the ball in the first half but he also vanished in the second. Tomas looked unhappy at being substituted – maybe an injury – but am sorry to say, playing from side to side is not beautiful football.
There was a moment in the second half that depicts just how desperate this has gone. Three players lined up on the edge of the penalty box and as the ball came to each of them, they tried to pass it to the others and eventually gave it cheaply away.
Again, I will not question the “winning mentality” of this squad and maybe I was too fast in blaming Wenger for that as the players should share part of the blame, but I have a sad feeling that these players find it very hard to find the right motivations before games. City was not a solitary event this season, that’s why it’s worrying.
Arsene Wenger has stated he may not do many deals in the market as the new rules on players come into play next season. All teams in the Premier League must have a limited number of 25 squad players, of which 8 have to be home grown players. To be a home grown player, you must have signed for an English club or Welsh between the age of 16 and 21, with three years of experience with that club.
This should not be a problem as we have bags of young talent coming through but what will happen to Arsenal in the transfer market?
One last word on Emmanuel Adebayor and a great poster at the Emirates with Ade kissing the Arsenal badge and celebrating earlier in the season when he scored against Arsenal, it read:
“Apparently you can put a price on love”.
That says it all.