Blog Speed Bumps
Speed Bumps and a Bright Future

Speed Bumps in the Title Race

It’s a testing week to be an Arsenal fan.  In a matter of days, the club has essentially wiped our chances of obtaining this year’s league title.   Surely, this was the season that Arsene had a huge self-realization and couldn’t let it happen again!  To think that we were so nearly caught up in the belief.

Readers, some more polite than others, have told me that I am too consistently positive.  It may be true, but I prefer to not panic.  One will surely notice that I stick to the good facts and post the better videos to remember on the Media Page.  I would argue that it is part of my stance and makeup to always approach the optimal solution to any situation or problem.  In the latest Arseblog Arsecast with Hugh Wizzy, they discussed the modern fan’s initial reaction to show outrage and be controversial.  I agree entirely, and it is an approach that I fundamentally can not get behind.

With that said, I have psychologically dissociated with the past week and would like to look back to the last match.  We showed true strength and confidence in the FA Cup match against Southampton.

Our Bright Future

Showing strength is an understatement for the performance in the match against Southampton. We saw a youth and reserve side, with players outside of their usual positions and striving to prove themselves for the win. I have to admit that when I saw the side, I thought Wenger was throwing the tournament for the sake of the Premier League. This was not an unreasonable prediction, given the result in the League Cup match. Luckily, I was proved wrong and it was down to a team effort that was built on fantastic individual performances!

We started the match with an impressive lineup of youth talent.  A notable pairing was the double-barreled double-pivot of Oxlade-Chamberlain and Maitland-Niles as central-defensive midfielders.  Oxlade-Chamberlain and Ainsley had very mature performances, covering and finding one another effortlessly.  Chamberlain looked strong in distributing and tracking back, but he is still lacking confidence going forward.  Maitland-Niles was dropping balls over the back line and holding down the midfield with style (click for link).  It’s amazing that at 21-year-old Hector Bellerin is one of our senior players and he truly owns it on the pitch!  Gibbs did well to handle the pace of Martina on the left, and it was impressive to see him take the role of Captain.  Mustafi also did incredibly well as a leader by dictating to the surrounding six players and keeping a close eye on Holding.

Looking forward, Danny Welbeck came back into the side with composure and lit us up with a confident chip that hit off of the bottom of the crossbar.  He shared the 5 goals with Theo Walcott, who wrapped up the match with a hattrick against his boyhood club.  Lucas Perez has proven himself a great technical option, being involved in eight goals in eight starts for Arsenal (5 goals, 3 assists).  Iwobi came on Jeff and Alexi for Wlebeck, showing the depth in class that we do have this season.

It was a great match to move us beyond the fifth round of the FA Cup.  Our substitutes and youth players had a great match.  IT felt like the old days where the mood was along the lines of, “this isn’t a great season, but just look at the future!”  Maybe, it’s in developing the potential that Wenger is best.

After our quick turnaround against the mighty Hull City, we have the small task of facing Bayern Munich.  They’ve had some shakeups this season, as well.  I am of the opinion that nothing holds our players back more than their own mentality in confidence.  My head and my heart say, “Go for the Champion’s League, Arsene!”

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