Arsenal: 4 Good News and 2 Bad News at Ashburton Grove
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From this new headquarter, it is sending out scouts to Tottenham Hotspur. The goal is to decide whether White Hart Lane is ripe yet for the brush wind of crisis that Wenger said makes the rounds in the English Premier League.
The Frenchman offered his words of wisdom two weeks ago.
You could say that the crisis at the moment in England is a bit like fire. It moves very quickly from one club to another.
It's like a fire with strong wind so you have to be a bit cautious because it can quickly come back. The wind can blow it back!
This is the important time for us. Before the week started, I said that this week would be vital for us. It's down to us to do well and hopefully we will do it.
This must have seem like a surrender to Roman Abramovich, the Chelsea billionaire owner, who sacked André Villas-Boas, the coach he employed just 10 months ago on Sunday, March 4, 2012. Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images.
The first piece of good news for Arsenal is that they avoided the return of the crisis mode by eking out victory at Liverpool in a match the Gunners seemed to have decided to lose prior to kick off.
The reader would recall that Arsenal got progressively worse in the match, but pulled off a coup to "nick it"—as their mercurial captain put it after the match—in stoppage time.
For a change Arsenal won ugly instead of losing prettily.
Of course, those clucking chicken among their fans, who can't seem to find anything good to cheer about Arsenal were still going on about how they prophesied ages ago that this team is dung.
It is dung all right, dung that taught Spurs a thing or two, that team they say is an example of what Arsenal could be.
A fellow writer's reaction to Arsenal's masterclass was an article with the title, "Arsenal's Worst Team in 15 Years Decimates Tottenham's Best Team in 50 Years."
I said, "amen," but what else could I do? I'm sold on Arsenal and don't go about envying "the team with the chicken on a basketball," as the same writer describes it.
Some Arsenal fans sound like they prefer "the team with the chicken on a basketball." Their coffee must taste nicer.
Arsenal's victory on Saturday and Spurs loss to Manchester United on Sunday means that Arsenal have just four points left in their quest to overhaul Spurs for third place in this season's campaign.
But let's not get ahead of ourselves now. Stiff challenges are still ahead.
The second piece of good news is that Arsene Wenger won Barclay's Manager of the Month award for trashing Blackburn 7-1, Spurs 5-2 and drawing away at Bolton Wanderers. Reacting to the award, the Frenchman said:
It was a complete shock to me. I couldn’t understand that at all. If you had read the newspapers in the last two weeks, you must say there is a mistake.
Yes [it did make him smile]. I thought they were speaking to somebody else behind me!
For those who support Wenger and appreciate his achievement at Arsenal, this is good news, indeed. For those who don't, not so much.
Wenger, to them, is a clueless manager. And why so? They are angry because he refuses to go on a spending spree and won't hear any explanation for it, despite the recent evidence that Wenger's and Arsenal's policy has been the right one.
For some, if they like the idea that the world is flat, then it is flat indeed, and you are the mad man or woman who tell them it isn't.
By the way, Arsene Wenger was voted manager of the decade in January 2011.
The third piece of good news is that Arsenal are still in the race for top-four finish. The supposed better teams this season—Liverpool and Newcastle United—have gradually been left behind.
Barring a new collapse, Arsenal are in a good position to prolong their 16-year-old tradition. They have the Newcastle challenge ahead of them, of course, which, if they overcome, should further solidify their hold on the current fourth spot on the table.
What's more, St Totteringham's Day may yet be celebrated this year.
The fourth piece of good news is that after the Milan game on Tuesday. Arsenal are likely to have just one competition to focus on. With maximum rest available for the team, they should be able to push hard for the best finish possible in this year's Premier League campaign.
I believe we will see the best of Arsenal in the remaining 11 matches of the season.
Arsenal's ranks are decimated by injury, to use Wenger's word after the Liverpool match. He responded to inquiries about Mikel Arteta by offering the following:
"As I sit here now, he is in hospital at the moment and we have no news."
On Abou Diaby and others, he explained further:
The bad news of the day is that Diaby is injured and did his hamstring. Benayoun has a small hamstring problem, Gibbs has a problem. We look decimated after the game. I don't know who will be available on Tuesday night. Maybe I will play with six strikers as we have to score goals!
The second piece of bad news is that Arsenal will be out of the Champions League on Tuesday, following their 4-0 loss to AC Milan in Milan a fortnight ago.
Arsenal have to score five unanswered goals to progress. What I have seen of Milan in their last two games makes this highly unlikely to happen.
Kevin-Prince Boateng and company will likely consolidate their victory in London, come Tuesday. Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images.
For the grumblers among the Gooners, it is profitable to remember that the team they dismiss as dung progressed further in the competition than the illustrious and enviable Manchester Clubs.
A little bit of perspective reveals that the dung is not as dung as people think.
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