By Boris Mellor
February 16 2012
I am taking the unusal step of reissuing this story, as I published it late last night, day time readers are unaware that the article exists. The article was written immediately after the match, and even 14 hours later I do not see any need to change the article, if anything it may have been too kind.
But at the end of the first half Arsenal had created almost nothing, whilst the Milan attack got behind the central defenders again, a little less haste and they might have scored more. Arsenal didn’t really start to play until they were 3-0 down, and then RvP had a few decent shots which their keeper saved with celebrations as if he had won the cup.
Henry’s farewell became a Grimm fairytale
Even Henry and the Ox could do nothing to turn it, there was to be no fairytale ending this time, true the team played a little better in the last 30 minutes, but it was too little too late.
Invincibles to Invisibles
Every Arsenal fan must be asking themselves how much of a benchmark is this for judging the quality of Wenger’s squad? In 2003 Arsenal beat Inter Milan 5-1 at the San Siro, a few years later they beat AC Milan 2-0. Can anyone imagine this squad conjuring up that kind of result? Perhaps if you have been drinking meths you might. What a week to give up glue sniffing.
The moment I saw the midfield line up I realised this was the white flag of surrender, Walcott, Ramsey and Rosicky, I bet the sight of them caused Milan players to soil their Beckham designer underwear. They didn’t let me down they hardly produced an assist between them. What a week to give up pot.
Then you look at the defence Koscielny and Vermaelen, not bad you might say, but what if one of them is injured and Djourou has to come on? And was playing at left back since the New Year the best training that Vermaelen could have had for this game. I got the feeling he was rusty in the position, didn’t quite get it right. Before the match I predicted Gibbs would be off after 31 minutes, how wrong I was, he lasted until the 66th minute. What a week to give up crack.
We now had a centre pairing of Song and Djourou, the new pairing managed a clean sheet for 13 minutes. It was no week to give up heroin.
Our lone striker, was unable to get a clear shot at goal until after the match was over. The fact that Arsenal had to depend on a 34 year old invincible to try and turn the game, a player who will fly straight home tonight whilst Chamakh and Park, who are non-existent on the pitch, remain at the club. It’s a good job I gave up alcohol five years ago, but what a week to give up smoking.
Who’s to blame?
Some suggest we shouldn’t let the players off the hook, very true, and by that logic they say the manager is not to blame. Now that’s an interesting idea, a man paid £7million a year allows his team to play like that is not to blame. The problem with Wenger is that he, for most of the time, lets his players off the hook. There is an ethos that anything will do, substandard players are kept in the squad in the same way I can't bear to throw out old books I have read. Too many substandard players are protected, some fans think that these players hang around out of charity and good will, no they don’t, in fact they get very high wages. They pour out their devotion to Wenger at every opportunity, and so would you if you got paid £50K a week for being mediocre.
Due to the rottenness of Chelsea and Liverpool, Arsenal are, incredibly lucky to be challenging for 4th, it may stay like that for the rest of the season, I wouldn’t count on it, but even if they do to my mind this defeat highlights that this squad is not a patch on the Invincibles, or even the team that beat Barcelona. Anyone who thinks that a midfield of Ramsey and Rosicky is better than Fabregas and Nasri should book an appointment now to see their doctor.
The defensive display today, and at Man U demonstrates that Wenger doesn’t know how to teach defence. Unfortunately today’s result is not a one off but is an indicator that worse may be yet to come. What a week to give up Coke.