Monday, 6 February 2012

Wenger wants consistency -England want The Ox -The hard work begins today

Morning Gooners.

Well the league table makes happier reading today than it did on Friday. No matter what others will say, I still believe we've got a chance of securing fourth place. Especially if Chelsea are going to give a 3-0 lead away at home.

I thought they were being generous exclusively to us when we went shopping for goal at Stamford Bridge back in October. But going by yesterday's result against Manchester United, they had a Blue Cross sale on.

By no means is it going to be easy to take that fourth spot. We've got to find a momentum and consistency which have been lacking in our results since Christmas. But we can do it.

Arsene Wenger believes consistency can bring stability to our form.

He said:

"We need consistency. Strangely I don't feel we played very badly at Fulham, nor at Swansea, nor against Manchester United, but every time we just couldn't get the result and in the end it affects your belief. 
"It was important to the confidence of the side that we won a game and get three points. 
"This will help us slowly to believe again that we could win - to win 1-0 at Sunderland would be fantastic and that is what we have to prepare for, to produce a good performance."

Whilst overall performances against Fulham and Swansea weren't the worst I've seen from this Arsenal team this season, the defeats were down to individual errors which could have been avoided.

We could have won on Wednesday night against Bolton had we had a bit more cutting edge. At the moment I would bite your hand off for a series of 1-0 wins over a 7-1 thrashing.of Blackburn. We need to rake in as many wins as we can at the moment.

And whilst Saturday's victory will be remembered as Robin van Persie's second hattrick in an Arsenal shirt and possibly the last time Theirry Henry ever scores at home for the Gunners, for me it will be the day we welcomed a new great to the pitch.

I thought that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was fantastic and his inclusion in this Arsenal team is a breath of fresh air. He's not worried about trying tricks or attempting passes in the final third other players might feel uncomfortable trying. His youth obviously works with us. The Grove groans don't seem to be as loud when something he tries doesn't come off. As I mentioned the other day, there is an acceptance that things aren't always going to work out for the 18-year-old when he attempts something on the big stage for the first time but the crowd want him to go for it anyway.

You could see prior to Christmas that his all round game needed working on. But I think those few months working behind the scenes at London Colney have done this youngster the world of good. He's a far better player than the one I saw take to the field to make his Arsenal debut against Manchester United in that game we all want to forget. His all round play has improved which will help the team.

It's interesting that last season it was Wojciech Szczesny and Jack Wilshere who broke into the first 11 and helped save our season. This time round it could be The Ox doing the same thing.

It's interesting hear Robin van Persie try not to put too much pressure on his young teammate's shoulders but in the same breath say that Fabio Capello should be considering him for the England squad for Euro 2012.

The Dutchman said:

"He will have ups but also periods when he’s not playing so well. So my advice is to be aware of it and be patient."
Then adding:
"In the future, definitely he can make the England team. He has everything. If he was Dutch I would take him to the Euros. Why not?"

Personally I'd rather The Ox wasn't associating with those characters in the England national team, but I don't get a choice if he's called up. I don't think there is a doubt he won't be going to the European Championships, especially if he continues this upward curve in form for Arsenal.

We've got some difficult games coming up and this week is where the hard work begins at the training ground. With no midweek match, the manager and his staff have to get the players fully prepared for three huge games: Sunderland (A), Milan (A) and then the FA Cup fifth round game.

This team need to make sure we secure the best result possible in all three.

Follow Ashburton Grove on Twitter, chatting Arsenal throughout the day. To receive the blog everyday you can subscribe via e-mail or take the RSS feed to your favourite reader.

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