Back From Injury: Arsenal Midfielder Wins Player of the Week


It’s been another hugely disappointing week from The Arsenal. This would be easier to take if the results involved bad luck or refereeing, but no one can say Arsenal have deserved anything recently.

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Lucky to scrape past Burnley, and even Southampton should have punished sloppy mistakes. But the hardest thing to take is the crushing reality that this team, under Arsene Wenger, are never going to win the league or anything bigger than the FA Cup. I won’t turn my nose up at a third cup on the trot, but it won’t do much to hide the fact that Arsenal are on the brink of bottling another title race. The players are brittle, they simply don’t have the mental strength to win big. People are moaning at the the Emirates crowd for being silent, but they’re probably just stunned, and who can blame them? The team disappoints every year, fans have every right to be angry, silent, confused, every emotion but happy. Wenger dishes out the same lame excuses after every match. It’s a sorry sight. And the thought of Pep Guardiola running riot at City next year is scary, he’ll probably turn them into gods. I look on with envy. Arsenal are a broken record. Ironically, so am I. But that can’t be helped when talking about a team this tiresome. I still have to chose a player for the week and it’s Alexis Sanchez – the one player who never disappoints.

Wow, it is good to see him running the show again. He was the only one worth anything against Chelsea. He was the main man against Burnley. And he was Arsenal’s only threat when Southampton came to visit. Unfortunately, all of this is soured by the others in red and white, but nothing can be done – except maybe fork your eyes out so you don’t ever have to see a Flamini/Ramsey midfield ever again. It’s extraordinarily awful to watch. And you can’t blame Ramsey because of what he was doing with Arteta (good version) as his partner, that was a goal a game back then. But with Flamini it’s abysmal. It’s not a midfield that wins games let alone a flipping title. What is Wenger playing at? Anyway, sidetracked. Back to the light… The wonderful Chilean scored and grabbed an assist in the FA Cup, and was just a general monster all game. All the drive and hunger was a joy to see, not only because that’s what fans want from players, but it’s a massive contrast to the usual drab we get from the rest. It makes the season feel a little more exciting, it creates a spark, makes you wonder if this really could be the year. Of course, it never lasts. While fantastic, the joy of Sanchez only prolongs the inevitable. For the Southampton game, you felt that if Arsenal were going to score then it would be from his precious magic. He ran with the ball, left players for dust, won some free kicks – wins a lot of free kicks, similar to Wilshere ( we really need Jack back) in that regard, makes those yards up the pitch. The best chance of the first half came from his brilliant lofted pass to Ozil, who latched on with devilish ease and forced a good save. Forster was good all game but don’t be fooled, if Arsenal weren’t so timid in front of goal his name never crops up. He made another chance in the second half, again cutting in and delivering a teasing cross. A goal cleared off the line. A leaping header that he probably shouldn’t be winning. All in all, it was another standard day out to the park for the Chilean.

Touching on the Burnley win, let’s not take anything away from Chambers, who surprised everyone with a fancy strike – and again, there’s that nagging feeling that he’d do a better job than Flamini, the Frenchman that’s no longer vintage wine and is more like mouldy cheese, stinking the place out. The game drifted by like Theo Walcott, Sanchez started the move and chased it all the way to convert a Chamberlain cross – who was much improved. Of course, this improvement would only reward him with being stuck on the bench for Southampton so that Theo could come on and take centre stage and bottle it again. He did the same thing in the closing stages of the Burnley game. I love it when he turns it on for games like City, but it’s becoming too much of a rarity. We need him to rediscover his electric form. I’m still a big supporter but he’s been woeful of late. In the nitty-gritty stages of the Southampton game he should have smashed the ball when it came to him, instead he chose to side foot it delicately into the net, which only serves as an example of how soft Arsenal are. Some of the players can’t even shoot like they mean it. It’s insane, really.

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It’s all becoming overwhelmingly frustrating. The team is so close and they just don’t seem bothered. Neither does the manager. We needed two more signings in the summer. That’s all it was. Wenger had the audacity to ignore the problems, instead trying to appease fans a little by signing Cech, which is a great signing, but make no mistake, Arsenal are falling at the hurdles again because the manager refuses to compete on the level the game demands. I appreciate that he wants to win the title his way, with his beliefs, proving everybody wrong. But it hasn’t worked for the last ten years, how long are we supposed to put up with this? You have to adapt. There’s no other way. I fear for everyone that isn’t Manchester City next season.

Five points off the top. It’s not an awful lot, but because the cracks are appearing, there’s little optimism left in the tank – for me anyway, I just find the whole thing tiring. I can’t hold it together, neither can the team, and the manager won’t fix it.

I’m fed up with laying blame, but there’s no alternative. It’s plain for all to see. The failings are the same every year because of the manager. Arsenal are struggling because they have no midfield. Chances are being missed because there’s no mental backbone. Arsenal have two of the best in the world in Sanchez and Ozil, but they’re just for show, papering over the cracks. There are the always the cracks.  Yesterday was Groundhog Day.

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