A strange morning on Sky Sports News yesterday. First there was a colour piece about the woman who wears the 'Donny Dog' outfit followed by a frankly bizarre segment where Brendan Rodgers, Steve Gibson and Aidy Boothroyd were interviewed from Gatwick airport. Then Georgie Thompson, wearing the latest ridiculous outfit and hairdo in an attempt to wrest the title of Queen of SSN from Kirsty and Charlotte, breathlessly intoned that Liverpool were closing in on the Arsenal left-back Gael Clichy.
My first thought upon hearing this news is that, should the deal happen, they will need to throw in a pacemaker for Jamie Carragher for even thinking to to play Clichy and Glen Johnson in the same team. My second, though, was of a Machiavellian bent; namely that I firmly believe that this is the season Arsenal will drop out of the top four and Liverpool will take their place and their left-back. After winding up Matt Weiner, the Peter Taylor to James Brown's Brian Clough here at Sabotage Times and a dyed in the wool Gooner, he first told me to F*ck off and then to write 5 reasons to back up my statement.
Fabregas and Nasri Want To Leave
Whether or not Nasri is merely agitating for a new deal, now that he has actually mentioned the words 'Manchester United' how can any Arsenal fan forgive young Zammo? Arsenal's best player for large parts of last season, he had to carry the team when the increasingly ineffectual Cesc Fabregas was nursing his latest chipped fingernail and clearly wants to win the trophies that his talent deserves. As for Fabregas, it strikes me that the best thing for all parties for him would be to go, what's the point of giving the captain's armband to a man who dreams of rooming with Gerard Pique and playing head tennis with Lionel Messi?
Yet this year Wenger has gone from a revered Le Professeur to a man you wouldn't let coach a Yorkshire Terrier out of rabbit holes.
Arsene Wenger has lost the crowd
Arsenal's demise has been spoken of every summer for the last three seasons and, in fairness to Wenger, he has continued to put out a competitive team and stay in the hunt until the business end of the season. Yet this year he has gone from a revered Le Professeur to a man you wouldn't let coach a Yorkshire Terrier out of rabbit holes. With nonsensical statements like "this is my strongest ever squad," you have to question if he is still in possession of all his marbles. I think everyone agrees that the side he had when he walked into Arsenal would've beaten Birmingham in the Carling Cup Final, and that either of the double winning teams could've slaughtered them in first gear. He was inconsistent in his selection, his comments ranged from protective to naked lunacy and he was in charge of a team who surrendered a four goal lead to Newcastle. Liverpool, meanwhile, quietly improved under Dalglish, a man who has every man, woman, child, cleaning lady and hunchbacked steward with a red heart on his side. There was a time, when Liverpool were struggling, that Arsenal were linked with Alonso and Reina, Wenger should've made that happen, he should've stuck the boot into Liverpool when they were down. He didn't, and the momentum is now ours.
Spending power of rivals
On the day that Liverpool and Manchester United put Jordan Henderson and Phil Jones through medicals, both legal and illegal, Wenger, erm, splashed out on a left-back from Charlton. Carl Jenkinson might be a good prospect, ditto Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain from Southampton, but are you seriously telling me that Arsenal don't have players of that calibre in their much vaunted youth system? You could rock up in a remote corner of Nepal and ask a passing Yak what Arsenal need to do and he would bellow 'BUY EXPERIENCED WORLD CLASS PLAYERS,' before sh*tting all over the floor and doing a Nicklas Bendtner impression. You can guarantee that Manchester City will buy at least one world class player of international repute and, despite currently having no senior staff, Chelsea can buy anyone they want at the drop of a hat. Arsenal aren't even being linked to anyone and, when they are, they get gazumped because of a refusal to spend in line with their rivals.
A spineless squad
Let’s be honest, Arsenal have less backbone than a tangle of Portugese Man O’Wars. I've mentioned the Capitulation On Tyneside and his lack of signings but Scezney, Koscielny, Song and Chamakh couldn't prop up a bar let alone a collection of gifted yet mercurial dribblers. I've long thought that if you combined Liverpool's spine with Arsenal's flair and width you'd have a team for the ages. Yet while Dalglish is looking for players in all areas, especially wide and at full-back, Arsene is looking at more technically gifted youngsters unproven at the highest level. It doesn't concern me who Arsenal buy, but I'm sure every gunner, no matter how much you might want to thrown me under a bus, would agree that you need modern day versions of Adams, Viera and even Adebayor. Players who relish the physical and will bully the opposition. Jack Wilshere is a terrier but you don't need him sacrificing his attacking desires to mop up around the pedestrians behind him and do the job of two players.
But at least you’re not Spurs
I know I said 5 reasons but I think I’ve adequately covered my argument. A comment on this very site earlier in the week said that ‘Spurs will be up you’re a*se next season. They won’t. Harry doesn’t have a long shelf-life at clubs, he’s hardly known for putting systems in place that will bear fruit long past his departure and, despite their wins over Inter and AC Milan, I believe Spurs are in dire straits. They need at least two strikers, a dominant centre-back, a plan to get the best out of Van der Vaart and a bus pass for Brad Friedel. Harry Redknapp wants the England job and, despite having the tactical nous (and head) of a cauliflower, his up and at ‘em style would probably suit England without making any difference to the nation’s status as a quarter-final team. He’s too naïve away from home, four of his best players are injury prone and, let’s face it, it’s Spurs. They’ll f*ck it up somehow.
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