Title Hopes Crushed

Written on 4/15/2008

You all have read about my increased interest in the English Premier League since being in Ethiopia. And I’m sure you have read my updates about Arsenal. Well…as of Sunday evening, Arsenal was effectively shut out of the race for the title. Am I sad? A little. I think they have a great team and a lot of potential, but to me, it’s just a game. However, in my estimation, the issues that contributed to Arsenal not bringing home any hardware this season are as follows:

  • Weak play by top striker Emmanuel Adebayor. He’s their #1 guy up front, but has no ball handling skills, a lack of instinct and a poor eye for the goal.
  • Disunity at the back four. Much of this season’s troubles in the defensive side of the game have come from a plague of injuries and the absence of center back Kolo Toure for six weeks during the Cup of African Nations. But these can’t be blamed for the poor performances of the defensive unit. They don’t play well together and when they move to the front in offensive attack, they don’t cover well to prevent goals in transition for the other squad.
  • Injuries all around. Major injuries have come at the worst of times. Beginning with Robin Van Persie exiting for the majority of the season due to a knee injury, the injuries kept coming. The loss of Thomas Rosicky hurt the midfield drastically, the untimely compound fracture of Eduardo Da Silva’s lower leg came just as he was picking up scoring momentum and a starting position, and finally, losing our right back, Backaray Sagna just before the biggest game of the campaign left us defensively weak for the famed Manchester attackers.
  • Poor managing decisions by coach Arsene Wenger. The guy is a genius and I’m sure he’s saved the team millions throughout the season, but his failure to pick up supporting players during key parts of the season left Arsenal empty when the injuries came. He was inactive in the January transfer window and didn’t sieze trade opportunities throughout the season when they were available. But even with the lack of new players brought in, Wenger made quite a few poor decisions in key games when it came to choosing a starting lineup. Why not play Senderos, Walcott and Almunia in the biggest game of the season? We will never know.
  • I’m not one to blame bad refereeing on lost games (except for the Seahawks-Steelers Superbowl…ridiculous…just because “The Bus” is retiring, doesn’t mean you have to throw the game his way!). But in all honesty, Premier League and FA big wigs need to take a serious look at the bad decisions that have cost many teams this season. I know it’s part of the game sometimes, but the frequency with which the referees handed teams games and stripped them away from others was disgusting. And I’m not just talking about Arsenal…it’s been to everyone. Something needs to be done.

As I said before, it’s just a game. So life will go on and Arsenal will have another shot next season. As for this year, Chelsea better pull off some major  wins to prevent the Red Devils from taking the cup for a second year in a row! Thanks for listening to my ramble. 85% percent of you probably have no idea what I’m talking about, but that’s okay. You 15% sure do. Have a great day!

Disappointed but not a fairweather fan,

Joshua

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