One thing that I have noticed over this disappointing season along with many Gooners out there, the inconsistent effort levels produced by some players. Time was that playing for the badge was worth more than anything and playing for your team mates meant being willing to give blood sweat and quite a few tears. The players would never need lifting to smash the Tottenham in a North London derby. We used to destroy the likes of Middlesborough for fun. Tackles would reign down in midfield and our passion would pick up at least three straight red cards per season. The crowd would roar at Highbury  with two minutes of play remaining,  as rapid paced attack after attack would reign down upon the opposing side. That was the stuff dreams were made of!
Now we are faced with a benign almost grey tedious build up of sideways passes, and everyone advances beyond the ten yard margin for short beautiful passes. Instead of hunting in packs of three or four to enable our rapid one touch triangles, we are now static waiting for the ball to be delivered upon a silver platter. Tackles are not so much made as executed and when was the last time you saw an Arsenal player really make a foul? Eboue apart of course. I argue that the passion from our play has disappeared, and I suspect it is because the players are either disinterested or short on confidence or perhaps both? I am not calling for nastiness you understand, but more fire in the belly!
So what is that really motivates a professional football player these days? well in our team the absence of key players should really have been the motivating factor. In all areas apart from goalkeeping, certain players have been out through injury or suspension, but apart from Keiran Gibbs and Johan Djourou, none of the replacements have really taken their opportunities well. Perhaps the most motivated player in our side at the moment is Denilson. He plays as though he has something to prove. Despite his technical deficiencies, one can honestly say that he tries hard in every game. Gael Clichy is another player who seems never to be short on motivation.
I have argued that the large salaries of players is a key demotivational factor, and soon if we fail to make the top four, we will lose that final driving force that attracts the young and older player. The lure of the Champions League. Playing in the Europa cup with teams that have names that are barely pronounceable from the Eastern Block of Europe will be a disaster, but that fate is looming ever closer unless this team gets it’s act together. However despite the prospect of doom and gloom, the return of Rosicky, and Theo Walcott, together with Eduardo and our new signing Arshavin could provide the key motivation the team has lacked.
Try to balance the new midfield with Fabregas at its heart and suddenly key players are made surplus to requirements. Nasri? For Rosicky, Walcott for Arshavin? I believe that it is the competition for places and the fear of not playing regularly that is the key. Players then have to fight for the right to play for the club and perhaps get into their national side, or attract a big money move away. So perhaps one of the demotivating aspects of our club has been the over predominance of youth. The absence of pressure for playing places and opportunities, until those young stars have honed their skills to the level that they cannot be ignored. So it follows that soon competition will be quite fierce and a key motivational factor as our youngsters jockey for position. The only problem for a club like Arsenal is that this may come too late to save our prime league status.
What do you think?
Fabregas the King.