Dan Bird: My thoughts on the defeat to Bolton
Arsenal lost at Bolton yesterday 2-1 and threw away any slim chance we had left of winning the Premier League.
We had countless chances to win the match, but we failed to take any of them and in the end were punished by a late Bolton winner. In a way yesterday’s performances summed up how the side have been playing since the disappointment of the Carling Cup final. The players seem to have lacked the mental strength to win football matches and have made many errors due to a simple lack of concentration.
It is however very hard to see why the players have really struggled since the Carling Cup Final. In a couple of matches they have proved what great players they can be when they put their minds to it. Take for instance the Barcelona game at the Emirates. Yesterday’s starting XI was exactly the same but the performance level was nowhere near as good. Against Barcelona Laurent Koscielny had the game of his life and dealt superbly with the likes of Messi and Iniesta. However yesterday he struggled to cope with Kevin Davies and Daniel Sturridge. They are both good forwards but nowhere near the level of the Barcelona front line.
The eleven players that started yesterday is in most fans opinions our strongest eleven, except of course Vermaelen coming in for Koscielny. The majority of these eleven players have had strong seasons and the likes of Wilshere, Djourou and Szczesny have cemented places in the starting XI and nobody really thought they would before the start of the season. Therefore it is very difficult to see where we can strengthen the side.
It is clear we need ‘leaders’ in the squad but apart from maybe a centre half where we can fit a so called leader into our side? Take our midfield for example, do Song,Wilshere or Fabregas really deserve to be replaced? Up front Nasri has had an outstanding season, and Van Persie is the best striker in the Premiership at the moment. Theo has been inconsistent but when he plays well he is unplayable, for example yesterday he should of been awarded a penalty and was unlucky not to score the opening goal.
All in all this season hasn’t gone as the fans hoped. However you have to remember many members of the media didn’t even believe we would finish in the top 5. Tottenham and Man City were both apparently going to finish above us. Therefore we have exceeded some of the media’s expectations, yet still Wenger is being criticised on the back pages daily. What Arsene has done for the club is outstanding. Yes, he has his flaws but who doesn’t?
The fans need to get behind the players and more importantly the manager. There are protests being planned for the final home game of the season, I can’t believe this as it could be a very important game in the race for second and it is the last thing the players and the manager need. If we all stay behind the manager, he will make changes in the Summer and I guarantee we will finish in the top four once again and challenge for silverware, unlike Spurs.
Spending money is no guarantee of success, look at Andrey Arshavin for example. He cost over £15 million and in all honesty plays well once every three or four games. Is that what some so called ‘fans’ really want to see? The manager knows what he is doing and eventually the good times will return to the Arsenal. Keep the faith.