What the papers are currently saying is summed up in this comment, “Lose, and the season will end at the very best with the same top-four finish and FA Cup run that might currently delight any rival other than Chelsea but which has done so little to appease restless Arsenal fans.”
So the message is getting around – everyone else would love Arsenal’s record, it is only the aaa nutters and their Talk Sport masters who don’t.
Indeed I was also very much taken with the commentary of Minesy in response to the We need some failure article in relation to his conversation with Perry Groves about Talk Sport’s anti-Arsenal agenda, to which Mr Groves replied, “the reason they do the anti-Arsenal thing is simple, it lights up the switchboard, gets the social media overheating and therefore ticks the boxes for listening figures and advertising … other clubs don’t get that response, (if they do the same thing for Man City, no one bothers !!!)”
On the topic of Mesut however, Mr Wenger gave precious little away saying, “It’s important that we protect the second game. We must go there, not hide, but defend well as a team.”
So the issue is, is that perfectly reasonable approach to a game achievable by having Özil in his usual role in front of a two-man defensive midfield?
This is not to say that Özil must play, any more than an assertion by a newspaper or a slight doubt by Mr Wenger means he should not play. Olivier Giroud, Lucas Perez and Danny Welbeck all look good at the moment and all three were on the bench again on Saturday.
There will no such feelings toward Alexis Sánchez, who of course wants to play and will play every minute when he is fit.
Speaking of recent hiccups Mr Wenger said, “Experience helps to anticipate the problems that you face when it doesn’t work. You know that if you do not win the confidence drops even more. That is not what is needed to go into a game like Bayern in the Champions League. I know we have not been brilliant but we had to win.”
Asked if he was enjoying his job of late he said, “You have to enjoy football. It’s true that it’s not always easy but it is important that you feel happy. What we want is to do well and qualify against Bayern Munich. It’s a good opportunity.” And Özil has a positive history against Bayern. Last season he scored against them – a goal that the commentators, I recall, could not believe had actually gone in, so unprepared were they for anything other than an Arsenal defeat.
As we know, Bayern Munich have to win the German league by law, and they have done so season after season. Here’s the current run champions in 1998–99, 1999–2000, 2000–01, 2002–03, 2004–05, 2005–06, 2007–08, 2009–10, 2012–13, 2013–14, 2014–15, 2015–16. Four titles in a row, 12 in 18 years; it is the most predictable league in the world outside of Greece. Here is the current league table…
At home they are of course undefeated but they have drawn three home games: including 1-1 against Schalke at home on 4 February.
So maybe there is hope…
Arsenal History Books on Kindle
The novel “Making the Arsenal” by Tony Attwood which describes the events of 1910, which created the modern Arsenal FC, is now available for the first time on Kindle. Full details are here.
Also available on Kindle, “Woolwich Arsenal: the club that changed football” the only comprehensive history of the rise of Arsenal as a league club, and the attempts to destroy the club, from within and without. For full details please see here.