Saturday, March 12, 2011

Manchester United 2 - Arsenal 0

Arsenal have crashed out of the FA Cup. Just to update those who may not have been paying attention for the past couple of weeks. A fortnight ago, Arsenal were in the hunt for championships in four competitions. As of today, they are done to one. The message is pretty clear: this Arsenal squad are not a championship side.

I'm still traveling and saw only a few minutes of today's match, but I have not read of any major reffing errors or other controversies in today's match. In fact, from what I understand, Arsenal had a lot of the possession, and mounted several scoring threats without being able to break through, as has been their pattern in matches against top clubs. Manchester United fielded a largely defensive team, and hit Arsenal hard - twice, successfully - on the counter attack.

Now, Arsenal only have the Premier League championship to contest. On today's evidence, there is little reason to expect them to overtake a less-than-superlative Man U side in the title race. It is high time  Professor Wenger woke up and smelled the coffee: he needs not just one or two but several new players, who have not only speed and quality but durability as well.

Meanwhile, it is time to admit defeat on several experiments including Denilson, Arshavin, Rosicky, Abu Diaby, Squillace, Almunia, and Bendtner. As one observer accurately explained about the last named player: supreme self-confidence is not enough; it's goals that count, and Bendtner simply does not score enough of them when it really counts to merit a place in the squad. Fabregas, who all Arsenal fans would like to see stay,  may well leave on his own accord this summer for Barca, which is fine. Wilshire appears ready and able to fill his shoes, and Wenger could use the cash from selling Fabregas to sign two, three, even four young starlets.

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