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Sunday, March 01, 2009

Wenger looked exhausted and on the edge; in desperate need of BIG player return

While watching the Arsenal v Fulham match yesterday the camera focused on Arsene Wenger from time to time as he sat on the bench. And the pictures were uncomfortable to watch.

First off Wenger looked seriously fatigued as if stress had decided to etch itself all over his face. I had seldom seen Wenger look this beaten during a match and it was something unmissable to note.

Second he seemed to occupy the same scrunched, hunched and tense sitting position throughout the match. If Sam Allardyce is right about 65% of communication being through body language it would have been best for the young Arsenal midfield and attack to not look over at the Arsenal bench at all during the game.

Perhaps Arsene Wenger was staying braced because he had the physical science stats at hand and knew that his side were spent physically. I definitely felt bad for the likes of Denilson, Diaby, Clichy, van Persie, Arshavin who towards the end of the second half had 'hit the wall' in terms of energy and simply could not physically chase down Fulham players in possession. Some fans couldn't believe it - moaning like these players weren't committed. For me this was not the issue - rather their bodies simply couldn't respond towards the end of the match because they had already put so much energy into the Roma match.

So back to Arsene Wenger. As I saw him looking in such a terrible and negative state on the touchline I thought of a couple of things.

First, I can't remember Alex Ferguson ever looking this stressed DURING a match as he sat on his throne at Old Trafford. Ferguson always sends out a confident and expectant aura- which his players seem to feed off. For me Wenger should have taken a leaf out of that book yesterday even if it would have been a deception of his real angst.

Second, Wenger more than ever looks extremely desperate for his superstar five attacking footballers to return to his team. Walcott, Adebayor, Eduardo, Rosicky and Cesc are massive players that Wenger has been without for a long time now (apart from Adebayor) and his patience for their return looks now to be at breaking point.

I thought it was a telling insight on Arsene's personal perspective on things when he called Eduardo's hamstring strain after a triumphant FA Cup return against Cardiff 'a nightmare'. Some may have thought he was referring to Eduardo's mental state on receiving the injury - but he is sensitive about man-management not to have described it in this way if this was the case. No, it was clear that Wenger was saying it was 'a nightmare' for him.

For me, the use of this strong description was out of character and revealing about his disappointment at having waited so long for Eduardo's return only to find that again the talisman Croatian will not be available for selection. It betrayed the ordeal he has probably been feeling this season as someone who has so much belief in his policies but has seen many things turn against him.

This has been a monumentally tough season for Arsene Wenger. He looks in a terrible state and needs his big injured players back as soon as possible to try to revive his lagging shadow team; and in turn ease his extreme personal pressure which is evidently taking its toll.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

an interesting perspective - i did wonder about the nightmare thing - its so untypical for a french person to use that word - but we rise and fall by our own efforts - and he should have never been so stubborn as to keep playing song and eboue.
Not selling adebayor was also a mistake - he should have remembered how kanu went off the boil immediately after his new contract.
RvP is only playing well to put himself in the shop window, we Arsenal fans are not fooled by that.

3/01/2009 12:28 pm

 
Blogger T said...

Thanks anon, however I don't agree with your perspective on RvP who is a naturally committed player. We'll see on that though: and it would be extremely disappointing to see him depart in the style of a Hleb/Flamini.

3/01/2009 12:48 pm

 
Blogger RedsMan said...

"I definitely felt bad for the likes of Denilson, Diaby, Clichy, van Persie, Arshavin who towards the end of the second half had 'hit the wall' in terms of energy and simply could not physically chase down Fulham players in possession. Some fans couldn't believe it - moaning like these players weren't committed. For me this was not the issue - rather their bodies simply couldn't respond towards the end of the match because they had already put so much energy into the Roma match."

Exactly. Disappointing to have happened but you put the point very well, T. First, this is possibly why Liverpool failed to respond appropriately to Middlesbrough yesterday. Second, that such mental strength is so demanding in two top sides. Both sides seek points to ascend the table and yet their mental fatigue has played a negative part.

Only Chelsea held well after Europe, albeit fortunately seeing as they didn't play as well as they usually do and had Lampard to save them from dropping points. Chelsea won, Arsenal drew, Liverpool lost. The name of this weekend in the league.

3/01/2009 1:30 pm

 
Blogger Skipper said...

This has been a tough season for Wenger. If Arsenal get into the top 4 it will help Wenger regain his coolness.

3/01/2009 9:17 pm

 
Anonymous GunnerPete said...

Whilst I understand your thinking, I cannot accept that with the bench we had against Fulham that those tired players could have been replaced earlier on.

I also (being an old player of many years ago) will never understand why these super stars are so worn out after playing on average two games per week. Our 1971 side played over 70 games per season without the benefit of multiple substitutes. Today I believe strongly that some players are too soft and are pampered by the manager. I for one would have been very happy with Djourou in to replace Diaby in DM...Gibbs for Clichy, and Ramsey in for the whole match...as for VP...well it depends which one of him turns up. Again though Vela & Bentner from the start may have given Fulham more to worry about.

Yes no one knows more than a Gunner that if Manure/Chelski/Liddipill had lost their top four players for nearly a whole season then they would all have been in trouble far more than our kids have been, but of course they always go out and spend another £60 mill to fill the gaps dont they.

Finally, what I will never understand is that AW will change a winning format just to include his preffered starting lineup...why? Twice recently when our stars have been injured or rested, the fill ins have come good with great results, playing great football....next game, dropped?

3/12/2009 9:40 am

 

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