By Walter Broeckx
On more than one occasion Tony has shown that journalists and pundits are lazy people. And I think it is fair to say that we have seen it again in the last couple of days.
It all started (although not really started as such, as it has been the media/pundits theme for ages) with Thierry Henry saying Arsenal need 4 players to challenge Chelsea for the title.
I thought it was not correct from Henry to say this. And most people on Untold expressed their disagreement with this statement.
But…I think in a way Henry was right. Now in case you think that I have just joined the ‘spend the f*cking money’-brigade I ask you to read on before you jump to premature conclusions.
First let me start with what Wenger had to say about it. Wenger said that the opinion itself was wrong. And with Wenger saying that everyone know how the making of these comments works. Pundits and journalists have to make strong statements to earn their money. And so saying such things will make sure that their pay cheque is secured for the future.
Believe me top persons of the club know how the media treat them but they don’t want to go into an open war with them. Because the media are very powerful and in the end Arsenal might lose the propaganda battle. So I feel that they just let it just pass by and ignore them as much as possible.
The same occurs with the hysteria that takes off whenever we drop a point or lose a match. As a top person once said to me: “if you just read the headlines you would think Arsenal are bottom of the league and already relegated.”
So maybe we should do as Arsenal do, shrug our shoulders about so much incompetence from the pundits/journalists, and move on. But that is easier said than done of course. If people constantly attack the person (or club in this case) you love it does irritate for a bit and sometimes it can get a bit tedious and bring you down.
But now to the “Arsenal need 4 players” statement itself. A goalkeeper, a central defender, a midfielder and a striker. That’s it. No more, no less.
And this is where I now want to agree with the Arsenal need four players. And even more… I will not just say four players. No, Untold goes further and will reveal the names of these four players! Take that you lazy pundits.
Now I don’t want to even consider a goalkeeper unless one of the current crop vanishes. OOOOOOspina has the best record of all goal keepers since he took the place of Szczesny. Ospina played 14 matches in the PL since January and he had 8 clean sheets in those matches. That is 57% clean sheets! And in those 14 matches he conceded only eight goals. And only once he conceded more than one goal in a game. Now to me this looks rather impressive to be honest. So no, no new goal keeper for me.
So let’s change it to one defender, 2 midfielders and one striker. So still the Arsenal need four players from the pundits. So the names of those four players we oh so desperately need?
Defender: Koscielny. He had a start top season coming back from a world cup he shouldn’t have attended because of his Achilles injury. Even when playing you could see in the early stages he wasn’t the Koscielny we have learnt to know in the last seasons. But he came good after a while and one could say that since January he has been omni present in the team. Around the same time Ospina came in and so he can be credited with a few of those good stats also. We only need him to be fit.
Midfielder 1: Coquelin. He also came in the team around the start of the new year and since then Arsenal has gone on a great run. No need for the mythical beast. We got him and he is better than any other beast in his job that has been named since the departure of Gilberto.
Midfielder 2: Özil. How our season would have been if he hadn’t had his world cup hangover first and if he then hadn’t been kicked off the pitch. Some Tottenham bloke tried to injure him (unpunished of course) and then Chelsea finished the job and kicked him out of the game for more than three months.
Striker: Giroud. Giroud started the season with a good scoring record and then someone kicked him a broken leg at Everton. Result: we missed our central attacker for another 3 months. How would our season had been if he had been around in those early months?
So those are the four players we need to challenge Chelsea. Four players that we didn’t have or used in those opening months of the season for different reasons. One because he wasn’t completely ready for his job and not completely understanding his job (Coquelin) but the others were because of injuries.
Hell, I even could go further than the pundits and say we need five players. Ramsey as the 5th. And if you really want to leave all the pundits and the journalists behind us we could add in a 6th player. Jack Wilshere who has been out injured for 5.5 months after being terribly kicked (again… I know it is getting boring…unpunished by a Man Utd player)
Can I add a 7th player maybe? Debuchy anyone? No I will leave it now because that 7th player has given us the rise of Bellerin (did I mention that I have said he would be great for a few years now….? I think I did on more than one occasion).
So yes one could say Arsenal need 4, 5, 6, 7 or 8 players to challenge Chelsea. But the only thing we really need is players that are not injured. As been shown Chelsea has the fewest injuries of all the teams and so could almost always play their strongest team. Arsenal have been hit by many injuries to key players and all of them being injured at the same time hampered our title challenge this season from the start.
Since they came back we have been amazing and have achieved some great results. But that detail of the injured players at the same time at the start of the season is somehow overlooked by the lazy journalists/pundits.
I completely believe our team is good enough and ready to challenge Chelsea next season. Maybe what Arsenal need more than new players is new and decent referees. Referees that will stop the kicking of our players. I think the last match at Hull was a fine example on how our players can be kicked freely and without punishment. And that might be more important than bringing in a complete new spine and rebuilding process. So in the end they were wrong. Or just lazy.
- 6 May 1939: Arsenal 2 Brentford 0. Last appearance for Eddie Hapgood and also Leslie Jones. The game was used in the film Arsenal Stadium Mystery. Although three matches were played for the 1939/40 season it was then abandoned and this was the last “official” league game until 31 August 1946 See also here