Keeping the Faith

Arsenal Station has been forced to take a bit of time off due to some family issues and so I apologize for not being able to comment on the United and Chelsea matches. However, I’m sure my regular readers could have guessed what I would have written. Some of the more pessimistic of my readers were surely waiting to lay into me following the two defeats and I apologize for not giving you the forum to do so.

Be assured, I was just as gutted as any Arsenal supporter, but I kept my faith in the side. Now, some of you seem to interpret my belief in the side, or at least my absence of doomsday pessimism, as being unequivocal, blind support for Arsene Wenger. This is not so.

I have never failed to criticize the Boss when I felt he made a mistake. I believe the Boss made a mistake by not having sealed the deal for Chamakh, at the very least, either over the summer and certainly over the January window with RvP’s absence. I would also have criticized our tactics in the Chelsea and United matches as being highly naive. You cannot just attack with reckless abandon ALL the time.

To be beaten on counterattacks like that is just inexcusable. And I believe that the Boss needs to find a balance wherein we can continue to play our style of football without sacrificing our defensive well-being to do it. There has to be a tactical and stylistic compromise made.

However, I absolutely do not think Wenger should go. I do think that he needs to recognize that the club absolutely needs 2 key additions at striker and keeper. But for all the talk of tactics, the difference in the Chelsea match, for me, was the difference between Cech and Almunia. Cech made two key saves that, had he not, would have earned us a draw.

But, anyway… on to Liverpool. We now stand 6 points back with 12 matches to go. That is highly doable. Chelsea have shown that their occasional appearance of indomitable strength is just that… occasional. They will drop more points and so will United whose record looks better than their side. We now have the easiest run-in of any of the three sides, having just completed the 15 days from hell. To come out of those fifteen days, essentially level with where we were when we started, is not bad at all.

Now, of course we did not play very well against Liverpool but you need to win on those kinds of days and we ground the points out. Fabregas’s handball was outside of the box so Benitez’s claim for a penalty is a bit confusing but, nevertheless, the points are ours.

In his post-match interview (watch below), when asked about the Barcelona rumours, Cesc that the club is bigger than any one player and that the club, the fans, and himself deserve to be treated with more respect.

In American football news, Fox Sports has announced that they will be broadcasting the Champions League Final on the Fox Network this year, for the first time. And, since it was seeing the Champions League Finals of the early-to-mid 90s that initially got me interested in European club football, this is a great development for football in America. The match will be available to anyone with a television since the network is channel is available even without cable.

CESC FABREGAS POST-MATCH INTERVIEW