Wenger’s progress report

For a couple of months this season it appeared Arsenal had earned some praise from the Premiership’s hottest critics. No longer were they seen as untried kids but a team that had grown into serious title challengers, complete with the required metal in new signing Thomas Vermaelen.
For the time being that credit has been lost, after Arsenal were exposed 3-0 by a far superior Chelsea side on Sunday. Since the defeat, the same tedious words that have been written about Arsenal for the last five years began leaping off the pages of tabloids and broadsheets: inexperienced, lightweight, men against boys.
Wenger’s progress report
Sunday’s game was the anti-climax that makes Arsenal one of the most frustrating teams in the country to watch, as so often the potential to win big is hyped up, only for the team to find themselves back at the drawing board.
“This is our time,” Wenger had said at Saturday’s press conference. “Because we have top quality. As simple as that.
“There is a moment where you grow, grow, grow and then you show you are ready. This is our moment.”
Is it fair to say once again Arsenal fans were duped by Wengers optimistic chatter? Can we say it was the same talk of spirit that has hoodwinked Arsenal enthusiasts for the last five season?
Perhaps so, and because of it, the fans might finally have learnt to ignore Wengers ambitious poetry and verbal skill. This is certainly reasonable after five years of pretence, and it might be wiser for the fans to merely take things as they come, even if speculation is half the fun of football.
The pattern of the game in north London bore marks of last season when Chelsea embarrassed Arsenal in their own home 4-1. Then, Wengers men dominated possession but fell to Chelseas understanding that retention counts for nothing without the cunning and the ingenuity to complement it with goals.
On Sunday afternoon Arsenal were undone in similar fashion, which makes the loss all the harder, to think that since May Arsenal still hadn’t found new ways of beating Chelsea.
This is most concerning, that nothing appears to have changed and the reason why columnists were digging around in the archives Sunday evening, dusting off old reports which required only the finest of tweaking to fit the Monday papers.
The Gunners would get to the Blues 18-yard line before bouncing back off of John Terry and co. like flies attempting to escape a closed window.
s theories on insanity: doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results.
The (armband) shape of things to come
After Sunday’s defeat, Wenger stuck by his convictions that Arsenal can win the league.
“I do not think it’s over. I think we are fighters and we have to show that in the next game.
“The problem we have at the moment that we face is that people will not believe in us, so we have to make sure that lack of belief does not diminish our belief.”
Belief is hard to grab onto though, when in the final minutes on Sunday, Cesc Fabregas misplaced a pass and choose to shrug his shoulders rather than win back possession.
Sigmund Freud would have joined  Einstein’s debate purely on that show of defeatism, speculating that Fabregas was emitting all the signs of a man feeling flummoxed at his current club, much like Emmanuel Adebayor and Thierry Henry before him.
But then again, Henry had done about everything he could in a red jersey, bowing out as the clubs greatest ever player and Adebayor’s wage guzzling crave to make the Premiership’s rich list never did suggest he would remain an Arsenal player for too long.
Fabregas has more intelligence than the Togo striker and has repeatedly committed to the team this season in the wake of Barcelona’s campaign to prise the Spaniard away, so let”s put that shrug down to frustration.
But the figure wearing the armband generally has been a slight figure at Arsenal since the great names of Tony Adams and Patrick Vieira. On Sunday, John Terry was the bolt that fastened Chelsea together where his opposite looked all at sea in comparison.
Arsenal’s technical superiority will undoubtedly triumph over the lesser teams of the Premiership the majority of the time, as is vivid considering the goals the reds have clocked up this season. These can be the days when a captain files a low-key shift, or looks class without breaking sweat.
Putting in the performance of a season against your top tier rivals is the true test and one Fabregas needs to undertake for the benefit of his colleagues and the destiny of Arsenal’s season.
Think back to Steven Gerrard at Old Trafford last season and that is the kind of display Fabregas must emulate. He is a brawler and he has it in him and can’t be compared to Adebayor in anyway.
Wenger’s Christmas stocking
So, strong leadership is the first problem that needs addressing. Other than this, Wenger is usually only ever one quality player away from having a complete team worthy of success.
A January signing in the forward department would pacify Einstein’s outlook upon Arsenal, given that player was the Drogba sort to give Arsenal another dimension against stiffer opposition.
It could complement the team and by the sounds of things, it will be a frugal Christmas in the Wenger household as the Frenchman expressed his intent to scour the transfer market when it opens.
At the moment, Wenger’s Crimbo stocking is full with a Champions League knock-out stage affair, an FA Cup third round and a Premiership crown to be concentrating on, which is the best festive toy a boy can get.
In the Premiership, Chelsea travel away to Manchester City this weekend and a draw isn’t beyond Mark Hughes’ team.  With a win against Stoke, a good December and a January raid, Arsenal should bed nicely back into the title race. If you see Wenger on your television screen though, be sure to hit the mute button.

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