Arsenal: Eduardo’s missing leg, Manchester City victims of success and Liverpool are nowhere
Jamie Carragher, marbles-gargling, whale-voiced former Liverpool player-turned pundit, is using his Daily Mail column to talk about Arsenal.
Carragher reasons that getting kicked out of the Champions’ League in the first round will do Arsenal a favour. It won’t. Just as winning becomes a habit so too does losing. The Gunners have a slim chance of progressing in Europe and should go all about to achieve it.
This is the best chance Arsenal have had to win the title since 2004, up there with 2007-08 when they crumbled at Birmingham and William Gallas sulked on the pitch.
What Carragher fails to note is that before the sulk and the crumble (the away game ended 2-2) Birmingham City’s Taylor launched a tackle so appalling that Arsenal striker Eduardo da Silva Eduardo’s leg shattered. This is how the Telegraph reported it:
Arsenal players looked distraught while the player was receiving treatment with midfielder Cesc Fabregas most notably shaken up by the incident. The tackle was deemed too horrific that even Sky television said they would not replay the incident.
Having ignored the foul that had a huge effect on Arsenal’s season, Carragher says:
I can’t see them getting close to winning the Champions League this year even if they miraculously reach the knockout stages. Wenger doesn’t have to worry about their place in the competition next year as they are all but guaranteed a top-four finish.
To which we would says: if you say so, Sherlock. Arsenal have three points from four games. And they are not guaranteed anything. It’s November.
Financial implications have nothing to do with it either, as Arsenal are sitting on a mountain of cash. They can afford to be out of it. What they cannot afford, however, is to lose impetus after their excellent start to the domestic campaign.
No, Jamie. Football is about winning and looking like you can win. You recruit the best by competing. If you want to see how far and how fast a club can fall when they don’t play at the highest level, turn your gaze to Liverpool. The Champions’ League is worth tens of millions to clubs in it. No team with ambition can afford not to be in it.
All their rivals have issues or distractions and this is why Wenger has to capitalise.
Issues and distractions… Are those the same as competitions? In Carragher’s absurd world, not being in football tournaments is good for a football club.
I don’t think Arsenal are the best team in the Barclays Premier League. I don’t think they have the best squad, either. Both those accolades go to Manchester City, who are rightly favourites because of Chelsea’s demise. But they are not certainties for first place.
Demise? Who died?
City, for all their talents, will have days again such as their 4-1 loss at Tottenham or the slip-up at home to West Ham. And Sergio Aguero’s injury record is a huge concern as he is arguably the one truly world-class player in the Premier League. Not only that, they are most likely to find themselves having a fixture pile-up in the second half of the campaign.
Poor old City with that fixture pile-up – the games brought on by success. And if injuries matter, Jamie, mate, Arsenal are the masters of that peril.
Liverpool, remember, almost won the title in 2014 by having a clear calendar. You will say: ‘What about the Europa League?’ But if Arsenal finish third in their group, Wenger should use those Thursday games to give matches to players such as Calum Chambers, Kieran Gibbs and Mikel Arteta. In fact, he should use them in the penultimate Champions League game and see where it leaves them.
No. They should go for it, Jamie. Football is the glory game.
He needs to protect his strongest team and after the international break, his injury situation should have cleared up with Aaron Ramsey, Hector Bellerin and Laurent Koscielny back and Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain expected to return by the end of November. But injuries have been a long-term weakness and it could yet derail them as much as City.
Yep. Which makes your point about Aguero pointless.
Wenger has seen football’s landscape change dramatically since the early years of his reign. When Arsenal were at Highbury, only one club were better than them — Manchester United — and the task of becoming champions was straightforward. If you finished above United, you won the title. That is no longer the case.
Right enough. Nowadays it’s Manchester City you need to finish above.
Next season, for instance, Chelsea will not be as bad as they are now. United will, inevitably, invest another £100million next summer and it is only a matter of time before the weight of their spending carries them back to winning silverware.
What about that mountain of cash Arsenal are sitting on? Maybe they will spend it?