Arsenal can beat Barcelona! And I’m still not scared of them. I think the famous MSN combination is over-rated based on the game at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday.
Yes Lionel MESSI, Luis SUAREZ and NEYMAR may terrorise defenses in Spain but at the Emirates they were tamed for much of the game. That is why it took a lapse in concentration on our side and more than 70 minutes for them to get their first goal. What does worry me though is Arsenal’s lack of world class forwards. Sure we have Alexis Sanchez; who wasn’t at his best on Tuesday and Olivier Giroud who I’m beginning to believe thinks the season runs for just three months because that’s how long his form lasts; but we don’t really have a talented goal poacher who can assure us of goals given enough chances.
The likes of MSN, the Fernando Torres who was at Liverpool; the Wayne Rooney of three or so seasons ago, or the Harry Kane of last season.
And manager Arsene Wenger has had more than enough opportunities to find such players. In January his excuse was that world class strikers are never available in the middle of the season which is true; but how many summer transfer seasons have passed since we last had a great front-man. Robin van Persie left in the summer of 2012 which means there have been four opportunities to replace him; but we never have. Danny Welbeck and Giroud are decent players but not world class. Joel Campbell can be groomed to be world class but isn’t given the playing time and isn’t there yet. Arsenal are gunning for the league title and still in the Champions League. We are also hoping to retain the FA Cup title again so we should have the best. We consider ourselves amongst the best clubs in the world but we still want to operate on the budget of an average team. It won’t work.
We will continue to qualify for the Champions League but never actually challenge for it and that for me is not good enough. On Tuesday despite several players really fighting for a win; some of Wenger’s substitutions didn’t make sense. Mathieu Flamini should retire because at this rate fans will really begin to dislike him despite that fact that he used to be a great player. Wenger is forcing him onto the pitch and we can all clearly see that he is over the hill. Why is it so difficult for Wenger to give Mohamed Elneny a start or even bring him in, in such a game? Why does Wenger have to leave it until the 72nd minute to substitution Giroud when it was obvious by half time that he wouldn’t get us any results? I blame Wenger for this mess because a spent or out of form player cannot refuse to play; but the manage should not select them. We can still go to Barcelona and win the game but not the contest. Scoring three without reply is near impossible; but that’s what we have to do. Actually a 3-1 result would still see us go through but scoring three with the level of strikers we have will be tough. I’m not scared of Barcelona because the squad we have can be decent; but to win tournaments; we need to be exceptional. Talk to me on @CarolRadull on twitter or www.facebook.com/CarolRadull