Villa afterthoughts....

Last updated : 02 March 2008 By Brian Dawes
Despite the fact that we're still top of the pile it's depressing to see that so many negative vibes from within the Arsenal supporting ranks have resulted following this match. Some feel now that Wenger has lost the plot and failed miserably in the January transfer window. Some believe Diaby shouldn't have played, Adebayor should never have had a hair cut, Senderos shouldn't have panicked or that the squad looked jaded. Or possibly its all Cesc's fault for not been stunningly brilliant in every game. Whatever some may feel I don't subscribe to any of the above other than the bit about us looking a tad jaded.

First off let me say that I thought Villa played really well, something which many Arsenal fans have failed to take into account. They had what appeared to be a fairly full squad unimpeded by European football and no major injuries worries that I'm aware of. As a result they were altogether fresher than our lot. No excuses though we just were not at our best in front of goal as can be seen from the stats. We had 16 shots of which only 7 were on target. Villa had 5 shots, 4 of which were on target. We didn't fire on all cylinders, especially in front of goal, but then again we were missing quite a few key players. Shit happens, learn to live with it.

Also no matter what might be said it wouldn't be entirely natural if some of our players didn't to some extent have the San Siro in the back of their minds despite the urgency for another three points in the league. Like many fans I think that the league should be their priority, but that doesn't make it so for all the players. Should we win either trophy it will still be a miracle in which only Wenger believed at the start of the season.

For the benefit of those who have forgotten Wenger has had to work long term on a limited budget to pay for the necessity of a new stadium. As a result he decided to overcome our financial short-comings with investment in youth. This has been a long term plan so why would he sling such a plan into reverse by splashing the cash in the transfer window? Le Boss had and still has faith in Denilson, Walcott, Song, Bendtner, Djourou, Traore and their like, just as he had faith in Clichy, Fabregas, Flamini, Adebayor and Van Persie before that. If he's right to have faith in the latter he's surely entitled to have faith in the former. The current squad is weak in depth but mainly as a result of injuries and inexperience rather than ability. Whatever some may believe we cannot compete with the false market economy of the Chavs and so I, like Wenger, believe there is no point trying right now. In a couple of years time when we get our finances straight, then maybe, but not until.

Back at the Villa match; Diaby has only just come back from injury so I think its unfair for some fans to slate him for what was clearly less than a scintillating performance against Villa. Had Eboue not been suspended, or if van Persie, Eduardo and Rosicky had not been injured he probably wouldn't have been rushed back anyway. Certainly not to play out of position on the left. On the plus side Theo looked the part despite being written off by some ignorant fans who seem to forget that he is still only eighteen, well for another fortnight or so at any rate. Right now the team is like a highly strung race horse which often only requires the slightest nudge to knock it off balance. But if our thoroughbred hammers at full pelt there's not much around that could get near enough to knock it off balance. So I figure that the team will drop back into total football mode at some point again soon and when it does all will be well with the world once more. United are flying after a brief blip and I think it will be our turn to fly again soon.

Now that we are top I won't be happy to see us drop to second or third place but like many I didn't expect us to challenge this well at the start of the season. At the end of the day we are one win away from St Totteringhams Day, we're still in with a shout for the big two trophies and we don't feel the need to get hysterically excited about winning a Mickey Mouse tin foil trophy. The league is still in our hands and we have some big names in our squad yet to come back into contention after injury. Our young squad has gained experience and the future is bright, so quit bleating, moaning, whining and winding fellow Gooners up. That's Fergusmoan's job.