After the passing of yet another disappointing November, a month that has often proved difficult for the club, you would expect Arsenal supporters to relish the beginning of December, where a busy fixture schedule provides an opportunity to bounce back from recent setbacks. Sadly with several key players joining an already lengthy injury list, it has become increasingly difficult to remain optimistic about our chances of achieving success this season.
Like any Arsenal related topic, the clubs fan base have discussed at length how much of the blame should lay at the manager’s door where our annual injury crisis is concerned, with some supporters believing the cause to be solely bad luck, whilst others consider the Wenger’s training methods and heavy reliance on certain individuals, such as Alexis Sanchez, to be responsible.
Whilst Arsene clearly can’t be held accountable for impact injuries sustained during on field collisions such as Francis Coquelin’s, why Santi Cazorla wasn’t withdrawn at half time at Carrow Road last weekend, following the managers public admission that the Spaniard had played the second half on one leg, has to be questioned as the lack of summer investment comes back to predictably bite Wenger on his stubborn behind.
Although exaggerations are made by many of those who sit either side of the Wenger in or out fence, a fair assessment would be that Arsene is neither always to blame or never to blame, however, he is guilty of failing to buy sufficient cover and competition for Coquelin, not reacting to the extent of Danny Welbeck’s injury or compensating for Tomas Rosicky, Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott’s susceptibility to injuries, with his lack of summer investment.
Following the diagnosis of Coquelin and Cazorla’s long term injuries, numerous supporters have stated that Arsene now has no option other than buy in January in order to compensate for their prolonged absence. However recent history suggests the more pundits and supporters offer him their advice, the more reluctant he becomes to act and his frequent stubborn refusal to believe that anyone other than himself could possibly be right, is at times more problematic and costly than the injuries are themselves.
With that in mind, it has been difficult to watch the current Liverpool revival taking place under the guidance of the charismatic Jürgen Klopp without casting an envious eye in the direction of Anfield. Whilst it is still very early days in his reign, the newly installed German has demonstrated what potentially positive effect employing a youthful, innovative and dynamic manager can have and contrary to the popular myth created by those unable to look beyond Wenger’s tenure, Klopp did not come close to leading Borussia Dortmund to relegation in his final season at the Westfalenstadion. No the facts are that he ended up finishing seventh in a eighteen team league and reaching a domestic cup final.
In many ways I admire Jürgen for realising that he had become stale and making the difficult decision to leave for the benefit of both his and the clubs immediate and long term future, perhaps Arsene should take note.
Whilst on the subject of youth, with Jeff Reine-Adelaide being included in a handful of first team squads recently, I’d like to see him being given an opportunity on the pitch instead of simply making up the numbers and whilst you can argue that he lacks experience, from what I’ve seen of him he has good technique, vision and spatial awareness, all natural qualities that Joel Campbell doesn’t possess despite being six years his senior and surely a few substitute appearances wouldn’t prove to be too detrimental for either party.
Still we have plenty left to play for, starting with this weekend’s home clash with Sunderland, over to you Arsene…..