According to Football365…
Arsene Wenger praised Arsenal’s commitment and felt they were “a bit unlucky” in their 2-0 FA Cup fifth-round defeat to Sunderland.
“a bit unlucky”… Arsenal have been more than a bit unlucky with injuries to their defenders this season, and just as it seemed they were getting near to a full compliment returning suddenly they’re looking decimated again. However, a make-shift defence doesn’t account for two games without a goal. If Wenger was happy with their commitment maybe he was watching a different game to me because I saw a group of fairly good players coming together as a poor team who look short on confidence and ideas and were outclassed for most of the match. Ramsey and Arteta looked lightweight against a physical team like Sunderland and the mis-match was exposed horribly on a pitch that looked like it was home to a herd of cattle a couple of hours earlier. Djourou simply isn’t good enough to player for Arsenal (there’s probably some language in which Djourou translates as “liability”) and once Squillaci (same translation, different language) came on for the injured Francis Coquelin the feeling of doom was firmly bedded in. Unlucky, yes, because Coquelin was looking lively and has impressed every time I’ve seen him play. He’s one to keep… one of just six.
Wenger can stand on the touchline flapping about like a demented albatross, but here’s the facts… two top players left the club and netted around £60 million. He’s spent a fraction of that. The only positives to come out of Wenger’s transfer dealings is that he bought a defender who, in times of being fit, will reduce the chances of Djourou and Squillaci ever gracing the pitch again, and he bought Chamberlain and is actually playing him. But the fact remains that Wenger has stuck with sub-standard players (see above, plus others) and has not invested the money in new talent. And therefore, what does he expect?
However… what if, just supposing, the directors have quietly requested that Wenger doesn’t spend all of the transfer kitty, and Wenger is playing the obedient boy and making do with less money than we all believe he has? If that’s the case, someone should come clean, because as it stands it looks like Wenger is failing the club… but perhaps it’s the board who are causing the lack of investment and progress. And if that’s the case, it’s not fair for Wenger to take the rap.
Whatever, Arsenal’s season is NOT over. 4th place is now a valuable prize to play for, and after the bad luck and bad form this season grabbing 4th place will almost feel like a trophy. With no 4th place and no Champions League the ability to retain top players (namely Robin van Persie) and attract new players will be dramatically reduced. And that’s something for Wenger and the board to consider, but a little too late to do anything about.
Verdict: keep Van Persie, Sagna, Vermaelen, Chamberlain, Coquelin and Wilshere. Okay, and Szczesny. Scrap the rest of them, and yes, that includes Walcott.