Tuesday, 24 January 2012

RVP speaks out -Has Wenger lost the dressing room? -AOC was injured

Morning Gooners.

The fall out from Sunday's game continues. And it's more about the substitution of an 18-year-old player making his first league start for the club than it is about the awful run of form we're on at the moment. Let's not forget that  Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had been ill during the week and was injured when he was taken off - information that a normal supporter would not have been aware of when Arsene Wenger made that substitution.

What we should be talking about is how we're going to prevent a further defeat next weekend. How things could be done differently and how the manager has made brave decisions which haven't paid off. But it's the substitution of a teenager which dominated the thoughts of all Gooners.

Robin van Persie has spoken to The Sun about Sunday's game and that reaction.

He said:

"I was not having a go at the boss on Sunday — I was just sad to see Alex leave the pitch as he just gave the assist for our only goal.  
"I was not questioning his judgment — I know it's not my place to challenge what Arsene Wenger does.  
"He is the boss, he makes the decisions and that's it... end of story."

You can understand that Robin was disappointed. But as he goes on to say, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had a calf injury. He didn't know that at the time.

There is lots of talk about things being said in the dressing room post match and you would hope there would have been given Sunday was our third league defeat on the bounce and we've not picked up a single point in January. Clearly a line needs to be drawn. This kind of form is simply not good enough. So a dressing room inquest is to be expected.

Has the manager lost the players? The Daily Star seems to think so. I very much doubt that is the case. After all, these are Wenger's players. He has brought these players to the club and, on the whole, made them better players. Even The Ox said post match that he respects every decision the manager makes - even if some fans do not.

I keep going back in my mind and think it's strange that this situation has come to a head with the manager over a substitution. I know we've been through a lot in the past year, so it seems weird to me that the culmination of all those bad times is to boo the manager's decision over the substitution of a teenager and that has felt like it's a symbolic moment.

Of course it's not down to the substitution that this outcry has happened. It's down to a trophy drought, the loss of some of our best players, the season ticket price rise and the total mismanagement of our transfer business last summer. I understand that pain - I'm going through it as well. But I feel that when you're at the ground, as I was on Sunday, you support your team - no matter what.

Now if some home truths have been said in the dressing room - I don't personally think it's a bad thing - if we turn our form around. But the players have got to be together, fighting a common cause. What we really need now is a game - instead we have to wait until Sunday when we play Aston Villa.

For that game there appears to be some good news already. Theirry Henry and Mikel Arteta will be back from injury and while it will probably come too early for them both, Bacary Sagna and Kieran Gibbs are back in full training today with the rest of the squad.

Wojciech Szczesny says we can turn this situation around.

He said:
"We've been there before and we have reacted very well. I think we'll do the same thing again and make sure that this club goes in the right direction to finish the season where we should."
What's needed is for us to have a bit of luck come our way, some players back from injury and to get a referee who actually spots a penalty when we can all see one.

This week, I'm sure the manager will be looking at the transfer market and seeing if he can find a player who can add quality to our squad. He's been let down badly by some of these players and needs to cut them adrift. Can he do that in January? I'm not sure, but even if that means they are replaced in our squad with players who can make a different, I don't care if we're paying them to sit our the remainder of the season.

There are some tough decisions to be made, but as we saw on Sunday, the manager is brave enough to make them.




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