Arsenal’s manager Arsene Wenger can complain all he likes but the reason his team keeps coming up short is because they lack a ‘Plan B’ and his continued outbursts have become both tedious and embarrassing.
The Gunners lost 2-1 at the weekend against Blackburn, who currently adopt Sam Allardyce’s brand of ‘anti-football’ which seems to be the Achilles heel of the north London club.
It has become de riguer for managers to talk nonsense following a defeat and Wenger is no different.
He moaned: “Blackburn defended well and were sharper than us in the fight, but it was a poor game.
“We were not good, but I thought Lucasz [Fabianski] was fouled on both occasions. The referee has to give a goalkeeper more protection than that. Blackburn do it very well, but in football if you don’t go for the ball, if you push the opponent instead, then it is a foul. I thought Lucasz had a good game.”
Year after year teams play Arsenal adopting a physical approach, they know the Gunners do not like it and Wenger spends more time reflecting on how “poor” a game is than trying to rectify the problem. Big Sam has long been a thorn in Le Professeur’s side from his Bolton days and seemingly now at Blackburn too.
Fabianski once again failed to assert himself command his goal and despite making a few good saves was poor. Wenger suggested that he was fouled but his goalkeeper allowed himself to be crowded out time and time again from the Blackburn corners.
The Rovers’ chief is often criticised for his football and it’s not pretty at all (it‘s ugly in fact), but he’s entitled to play however he wants to. He also seemed amused by Wenger’s complains as he grinned whilst making his retort:
“We beat them fair and square,” Allardyce said. “We did identify the goalkeeper as a weak line and tried to play on that, putting in plenty of crosses and putting him under pressure, but you are allowed to do that. The referee gave some fouls that perhaps weren’t, and missed some that possibly were, but we caused them problems in that area. If you play on your opponents weaknesses eventually they will be exposed.”
What Allardyce did was not great management, Arsenal’s weaknesses are just common knowledge, which says more about their philosophy than the approach teams take against them. Unlike Chelsea and Manchester United the Gunners cannot find a balance between playing the entertaining stuff and getting stuck in when they need to. Much is made of Arsenal’s entertaining philosophy but fans want to see goals, what’s more entertaining than that?
Arsenal will have to solve many of their problems over the summer. They have had problems with the goalkeeping position for a few years and often struggle with physical players like Didier Drogba (he loves playing against Arsenal), who Wenger didn’t see doing much after his two goals at the Emirates against Arsenal in November, then again three months later at Stamford Bridge. I wonder if the Frenchman noticed him on that occasion.
Le Prof has upset a few managers over his constant whinging this season (Martin O‘Neill, Tony Pulis and Allardyce to name a few). He seems to have a big blind spot in terms of his own side’s weaknesses and failures. Admittedly he isn’t the only one as Sir Alex Ferguson, Rafa Benitez and O’Neill all like a good moan (usually to cloud the poor performance of their team), but it’s getting boring know, Arsene.
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