Wenger is building a very young team – and every day on the radio, on TV and in the press there are screams that he has to buy buy buy buy buy buy buy buy.
You’d think that somewhere an editor or a producer might say, “Hang on guys, we’ve run the story about Wenger needing to buy experience 284,811,047 times in the past week – shouldn’t we try another story?”
“Oh but its the big news boss,” says the rambling reporter. “It’s what everyone is talking about.”
And yes they are. Like the idea that we were going to sign Lilian Thuram (Daily Mail). Thank you very much for that one. Three weeks before Thuram retires we are going to buy a guy born in 1972. And what a surprise we didn’t.
In fact, Wenger is trying a huge experiment. He knows that there are both mental and physical issues in football. In fact Wenger invented the phrase “mental strength” which everyone now uses as if it were their own. And he values high speed as a way of turning the thug defenders of Bolton, Blackburn and (until we put the curse of Arsenal on them – Birmingham).
So he is trying the idea of an incredibly young team. It is unusual, and it is worthy of debate, but it is not necessarily wrong. Young players have some significant advantages…
a) The thug defenders don’t know much about them, so don’t know which way they will turn and run. The reason so many attackers have problems in year 2 or 3 is that by then the defenders have got the hang of them.
b) The youngsters can run faster than anyone else – fly down the pitch and get behind the defence.
c) They are still learning mentally, and are more responsive to the club’s ways than some older players who come in.
So could a team of 21 year olds win the league? I think it is possible. A revolutionary thought – but that is the glory of Wenger. He is the great revolutionary.
We’re closing down today for a couple of weeks in the sunshine. Back in 2 weeks. Thank you to everyone who has written in with kind words and comments, and to those who called me a racist – well I just think you are wrong.
And if you haven’t taken a look you might enjoy a little wander around Making the Arsenal, which has started to tell the story of Arsenal 1910 to 1930 through the eyes of a journalist at the time. The next episode will have to wait on that site also for two weeks, but it will continue.
- Everton v Arsenal: a happy video, line-up and what the league table will look like after
- Everton v Arsenal: Injuries, points needed for 4th, and Arsenal the first to 100?
- Everton v Arsenal: extraordinary figures seen in the last 6 games table
- Everton v Arsenal: how this referee treats the home and away team
- Everton v Arsenal and the oddity of referee behaviour