could have been forgiven for their defeats to Manchester United and Chelsea this season, considering the fact they have shown remarkable determination to claw back into the title race. The so-called lower teams have defied a lot of critics by becoming difficult to beat and that is why Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United have a total 21 defeats in between them this season. With this Arsenal's unbeaten season looks absolutely impossible to achieve. But with the evidence of Arsenal's performance on Sunday at the DW Stadium, so do their aspirations for a trophy.Arsene Wenger
's frustrations could be summed up simply by stating that the players in whom he believed so much are refusing to deliver. Sure, the DW stadium is a difficult place to go to, to get a result, considering Chelsea and Liverpool have also been beaten there. But the manner of the defeat was purely down to a lack of character rather than to the opposition dominating the larger periods of the game. If Patrick Vieira
would have been in that team which lost on Sunday, he would have made sure he gave them a piece of his mind on the field itself. Which sounds quite realistic, considering Vieira's last kick for Arsenal gave them their last trophy.
About Wenger's current crop of players, many have failed to live up to their expectations. Denilson
who got a regular run-in last season, was expected to up his performances this season. However, barring a few goals against mediocre opposition, he simply hasn't delivered. He would normally be seen jogging back when the team is being hit on the break. Although he could be forgiven for not being on the pitch during the Wigan debacle, it doesn't take a Harvard degree to figure out that he would simply not get into a side like Tottenham, Aston Villa or even Fulham to be honest. I would pick an Etuhu
over Denilson if it means he would put in more effort. As it is, the guile which we are so accustomed to expect from single-name-Brazilians, is absent.
Next on the line is someone Arsenal have picked up and someone that a bigger team in the same league has discarded due to abundance of options. The signing of Mikael Silvestre
never sent the right message throughout the whole Arsenal fan base and there isn't a single Gooner who rests easy when Silvestre is in that back-four. The gap between Manchester United and Arsenal was highlighted after the signing of Silvestre.
However, Wenger must soon realise his folly of not signing English players, so evident in that Arsenal defense of today. The only defender of merit that he has signed during his tenure was Sol Campbell
, who is English. The fabled back-four which he inherited in 1996 were all English. The only way to support the back-four of present was to resign the only defender who was successful for Arsenal. I'm not counting Kolo Toure
in the list of strong, stubborn defenders because we were left open on set-pieces during his time. Although his contribution was almost flawless, he couldn't be regarded as a centre-back signing because he was signed as a wide midfielder.
Next on the line is a player who has managed to nick in crucial goals for Arsenal this season, but overall still remains a mediocre striker. The Burnley game at home is a good pointer to identify him, but Nicklas Bendtner
despite having a better season than last year, is a striker who would fail to get into a mid-table side.
The only two things that are massive about Bendtner are his frame and his ego. Despite all his confidence, he looks too rectangular to be able to stretch himself to get to any pass or to put in enough care about his first touch. Simply put, when he gets inside the opposition box, he doesn't look like scoring. Holds true for the whole Arsenal side though. All that pass and gloss and still it looks like they are the ones likelier to concede rather than to score.
A lot has to change at Arsenal if they are to win the title, and I'm inclined to keep Bendtner for another year, but the change has more to do with the psychology and the stamina. The whole motivation and hue and cry over the Aaron Ramsey
incident was only enough to motivate Arsenal till the Tottenham game. If Arsene Wenger must wield the axe over some of his youngsters on whom he has invested so much yet have yielded a poor ROI, he should proceed, because that is secondary to the fans who play to see the club achieve its glory years once again. Or if a sixth barren season is on the way, we should do away with the manager himself, whose beliefs seem as stubborn and blind as his long term vision.
5 years is a long time Arsene.