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By Walter Broeckx
If it wasn’t so sad, it would be funny. And with sad I mean the fact that we lost on Saturday and Tuesday in games that we shouldn’t have lost. And with funny I mean the fact that this Arsenal is not only blessed with some great supporters but also is blessed with many people who think they know better.
Let us start with Cesc. All summer long supporters have told him he could/should/ couldn’t/shouldn’t go. It all depended on what was written in the papers that day. And as Arsenal had said at the start of the transfer period that Cesc would stay. And stay he did.
And when he was finally fit to play after the world cup he came in and put some good performances in. Performances long forgotten since. Let us just think back at the home game against Braga, the game against Bolton, the home game against Shakhtar. Games in which he showed why he is our best player. But the guys who know better had made up their minds long before a ball was kicked.
And for them Cesc was not wanted. He was already in Barcelona in his mind, he was no leader, he didn’t play with this heart. The know betters knew it all, that is why they are know betters of course.
But then came his injury nightmare. He pulled his hamstring and was out for a few weeks just as he was becoming better and better after his long holiday after the world cup. He was out for a few weeks and then came back. But yes he wasn’t the same player he was before his injury. You could see that he wasn’t playing at his best level. But he was fighting (on and sometimes close over the border line) and giving it all.
People who can read could read on the Arsenal website that despite Cesc being back he still struggled with his hamstring. After the games he felt pain or he needed treatment. But he was getting better once again. His display in the first 45 minutes against Tottenham was almost the Cesc we all love and know. Not just there but very close.
He dropped back in the second half (together with a few others) and we dropped back. And after the game again it was said that Cesc was still struggling with his hamstring and that he was a doubt for the Braga game.
Some who know better wrote that Wenger was dropping Cesc and using his hamstring to cover it up. And they started again with the “Cesc is gone/leaving” mantra they all like so much. And the “Cesc is no leader/winner”/blah/blah/blah mantra they also like so much. “Cesc should have been sold, Wenger should have dropped him earlier,” and so on.
Other who know better blamed Wenger for not fielding his strongest side in and against Shakhtar earlier on and that this had cost us defeat in that game. They said Wenger was looking at the CL as a B-competition and that he should have played with this best team. And now those who know better are telling that Wenger should be sacked because he played Cesc (who is I would think part of the best team at Arsenal) and that he got him injured again.
Now we all can argue a bit about the fact that despite the trouble he had with his injury he started against Braga. And he was not at his best. And so Arsenal was not at their best. And after almost an hour gone the hamstring went again and he had to leave the field. But now blaming Wenger for doing what they had told him he should do (play with your best team) is a bit silly I would say.
I’m not a doctor and Wenger is also not a doctor. Yes we all know a bit about injuries because we follow football and we all know the familiar injuries we suffer. But to know how fit the player really is, is something that only a doctor and the player can decide.
Is the player wanting to play despite the pain and his injury? Can he play with this injury and pain? Questions that a player must answer to the doctor and the manager. And if Cesc has said that he wants to play and that he thinks he can play, then I think it is the right of Wenger to play him. After all it is the player who feels his body and not the manager.
Also the doctors should know if a player can play or not. They have the skill, the training and the meanings to look at injuries and decide: he can play or he cannot play. Wenger has said before the game that he would consult all the involved parties in this matter and then make up his mind on playing Cesc or not.
And so he did play Cesc from the start which means:
Cesc wanted to play. Just think about this even with the pain and trouble he is having the last weeks he still wants to play for Arsenal. So stop moaning about Cesc not wanting to play for Arsenal any more. He even wants to play with a not completely cured injury. Isn’t this what a captain ought to be doing? So stop moaning about Cesc not being a good enough captain for Arsenal.
And it also means that the doctors told him he could play. Wenger is no doctor so he has to go on the word of the medical staff. So if we really want to blame someone it can be the doctors. And let us also not forget that Cesc was victim of some strong challenges and endured some though tackles during the game. This also will not have helped him and his hamstring.
Of course we are gutted that Cesc is out for who knows how many weeks. Knowing our luck with injuries it could well mean that he will be out until the Christmas period before we see him back in full fitness.
But those who know better should remember that when they were calling to sell Cesc during the summer we now face what they wanted us to face: playing without Cesc.
And those who know better should also remember that when they were calling Wenger to play his best team it is exactly what he tried to do yesterday.
And whilst I totally agree that everyone at the club (managers, players and the medical staff) should always review everything they do, all the time, to see what has gone wrong and what went right, maybe it wouldn’t be a bad thing that the know betters do the same thing. Reacting after something has happened is always very easy. Even I knew the last jackpot winning numbers of the Euro Millions after they were drawn. I just didn’t put them on the card in the shop. It’s that easy to say something with hindsight.
Want to argue against Wenger and his policy? Then you must read this first, or your comment may not be published