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Press Box Faux Pas

November 14, 2008

For a club with the nickname ‘The Gunners’, you’d expect them to come against them all guns blazin’. But alas, all you get are players passing the ball around you and hoping you’d get tired chasing them and eventually walk through your goal. Nothing wrong with pretty football, I’m a big fan, and as a Spurs fan, I can’t help but be very envious. But what happens when you come up with a team that didn’t get tired? Like Stoke City perhaps.

Stoke City showed Arsenal that they need more than just quick feet to win in the Premier League. Arsene Wenger complained that Stoke (and other teams that didn’t give up chasing) purposely set out to injure his players. Thats just ridiculous! If Arsene Wenger was a successful player as he is a manager, he’d realise that it takes a lot of concentration just to purposely injure a player. The game is too fast to target any one player. Sure, the opponents may have been instructed to make things harder for the Arsenal, but thats about as far as you can go.

Another flaw with the argument Arsene Wenger had was that, even if Stoke did set out to injure the silky smooth boys of Arsenal, that tactic can only get you a draw at best. The truth is, Stoke had to attack, and they scored, something Arsenal surprisingly struggles with especially with the players they have. Granted its a game of football, and both Stoke goals came from the hands of Rory Delap, defending set pieces is still part of the game of ‘football’, and gone are the days when you could rely on Tony Adams and Martin Keown taking the legs out of the opposing striker had they gone past the midfield.

Finally, Wenger’s press conferences after any defeat to a battling side also usually involve him saying that Arsenal was the only team that tried to play football! What rubbish! Football is football regardless whether you decide to pass it around, or punt it across the field and knock a scrambled goal in. You still start with 11 against 11 , and both teams start with the same set of rules. But not everyone has the same scouting knowledge and contacts as Arsene Wenger, and very few players (if any) would consider playing for Stoke City if the option to play for Arsenal came around. Despite being thrifty compared to the other big clubs, Arsenal probably pays more wages than Stoke. So you can’t expect them to play the same type of ‘football’ as Arsenal, because they are already on a totally different playing field.

Ironically, once Arsene Wenger starts to realise this uneven balance of talent pool, wages, and external factors, he can actually make Arsenal into winners by preparing them in training for battles. There is no way Arsenal will ever win any title if they continue to ignore the fact that YES there will definitely be battlers out there, and when they come to the field unprepared, there will only be one result. A battling disappointment!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. November 14, 2008 10:55 pm

    ahh ive been waiting for awhile for a post from you, as always great post.

    bolton under big sam was one of the first teams to pioneered the brutish approach against the gunners’ sexy brand of football, and it worked. it didnt just work against arsenal, manchester united was one of their victims too. this weekend clash between manchester united and stoke city will be interesting to see, i can imagine sir alex’s post-match interview already.

    at the end of the day, its just tactics. brawn versus brain.

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