I would really like to address the issue of the parasites who phone and text every hour of every day trying to claim compensation for mis-sold ppi policies which I never had in the first bloody place. I would love to think somewhere out there are some really stupid people filling up our Accident and Emergency clinics having taken my advice about what to do with their telephones. I am reminded however that this is supposed to be a blog about football, about Arsenal, not about the people who really piss me off.
Talking about being pissed off, how are you dealing with the result in the Camp Nou? I don’t mean the fact that Chelsea got through. Fair play to them for that. I cannot help but think if we had the same referee when we played there last year we would in all likelihood have gone through as well. I’m chuffed that the tippy-tappy, tapping-up, player-stealing Catalans were found out when presented with a nine man defence to break through in a home game they were supposed to win with relative ease. A lesson for some who consider it is only us who struggle in such circumstances.
The fact that Barca have probably surrendered their La Liga title, as well as the Champions League, could have far-reaching consequences. In an office in Shenley I’m sure a grey-haired Frenchman is considering the future. Wengerball one and two owed a great deal to the influence of his native France and their all-conquering team around the turn of the millenium. The power and physicality of Petit and Vieira, followed by the solid foundation provided by Gilberto. All topped by the pace and finishing ability of Henry, the sheer all-round genius of Bergkamp and Pires.
Those sides played in a very fluid version of 4-4-2 that mutated according to the circumstances. The formation wasn’t the important thing in those sides. It was that magical combination of power and grace, of silk and steel, of a determination not to be overcome. There came a time though when that French side began to wane. It was a slow and painful deterioration for the national side spread across a decade. Zidane threatenesd a swansong, only to bow out in shame. At Shenley the grey-haired man was finding his hands tied by his vision of the future.
As a new stadium rose in the North London skyline he waved farewell to the last of his multi-prize winning artistes and set about constructing a new generation of cut price signings and talented youngsters. Without the power and strength (mental?) of their predecessors, these young Guns were now being modelled on a new example. Crisp-passing, possession-hogging, Barcelona and Spain were taking shape. We had the ideal general to sit in the middle of our latest attempt to copy what looked a winning formula.
The attempt to build the fabled third generation of Wenger winners was to fall by the wayside. There is no one reason that explains why. Instead there are little strands of truth in the arguments of all of the warring factions who have waxed and waned as results have swung wildly from good to bad. A little under-investment? Certainly, but necessary until recently. Unlucky with injuries? To a degree, yes, and certainly when one considers the possible impact on the genuine title challengers of the broken leg suffered by Eduardo in 2008.
The ‘Cesc as captain’ years all promised, and yet flattered to deceive at the same time. The capitulation on four fronts last season appears to have been the final straw for the talented talisman who was persuaded the time was right, for him and Barca at least, for a return to his roots. Nine months on I wonder if player and manager are considering the implications of what has followed. Should Spain fail to retain the European championship this summer might the Arsenal boss be considering a new model for Wengerball four – the last throw of the dice?
I’m pretty sure he will be thinking about the question. I doubt tonight he is any closer than you or I to the answer, or maybe he is. Is there a reason we find ourselves being linked so often with players from the Bundesliga? Am I grasping at a red herring? Who can beat Spain this summer? The Germany of Mertesacker, Podolski and Gotze? It will be a fascinating summer.
It may also cause one so often described as ‘stubborn’ to make yet another shift change in his vision.
304 Responses to “Do Barca Defeats Change The Blueprint?”