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Gut check time for Arsenal


The Champions League game tomorrow versus AC Milan could easily define the season for Arsenal. At times this year no team in Europe has looked better then Arsenal and their free flowing style of football has been a joy to watch. Players such has Fabregas and Gallas have spoken about their desire to win trophies this year and at least early on the team looked unified in proving those who predicted a post Henry collapse wrong.

My outlook on Arsenal’s season changed however after the fifth round FA Cup result versus Man U. In my opinion the total lack of interest and effort shown by Arsenal against a arch rival sent up a red flag concerning the character of the team. This was not a ‘B’ team that was on the pitch and included a core group of team leaders such as Gallas, Toure, Fabregas, and Gilberto. The same players that have spoken so much about winning trophies decided not to show up. Even more concerning was how some players reacted to pressure. Eboue was sent off for a senseless challenge and Gallas could also have easily been sent off with his kicking of Nani.

When the draw was first announced I was elated and felt that Arsenal could easily advance against a injury riddled Milan team that was mired in a disappointing domestic season. I now look at AC Milan as experienced, dangerous foe who will fight to defend their European title. If Arsenal gives a flat, emotionless performance and fails to get a result at home then I feel the season could easily fall apart for them. If Arsenal decides to restore some pride and plays with heart this first leg could be a stepping stone for a special season. I sincerely hope Arsenal responds the right way.

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  1. Ferd

    February 21, 2008 at 9:37 am

    I really want to like Eboue because I think he is a useful player but sometimes his dramatics on the pitch make it difficult to support him. It will not hurt my feelings too much if they offload him this summer. This maybe would not be so much of an issue if Rosicky could manage to stay in the lineup!

  2. dragonki2012

    February 21, 2008 at 9:32 am

    If we(Arsenal) get a chance to offload Eboue to Milan in the summer, cuz there are rumors around that issue, then I think AW won’t hesitate.

    But Eboue is the comic relief in the locker room, so they say, and he’s important for the chemistry, but doesn’t show it on the pitch, imo.

  3. Ferd

    February 21, 2008 at 8:37 am

    Arsenal did look much better yesterday and maybe I was a bit too harsh in my character assessment. I still believe that it is a duty to at least put forth your best effort every time you take the field. That is what these guys are paid to do and I deliberately singled out Eboue because I do in fact feel he has some character issues that have been a pattern on the field for the last few seasons. Sorry Todd I was not trying to be cute but instead brief.

  4. Todd

    February 21, 2008 at 4:33 am

    please dont call us man u

  5. jm

    February 20, 2008 at 6:54 pm

    I disagree with your assessment as I generally think “character” games are nonsense. When Arsenal were winning tons of matches late, they were hailed as a team of great character (and then came the no-Henry explanations for that, etc. etc.). When they play terribly, it is their character. I dunno. I think I can explain away both of those with more at least equally plausible explanations – Arsenal are a team with great talent and fitness, and not all teams with great talent perform greatly all the time. Even in big matches.

    The problem with “character” hypotheses is that from the outsiders’ perspective (which we share), it has prima facie explanatory value but we can only offer it on insufficient evidence. Thus, we use performance as evidence, and assume it is the right explanation because of its explanatory power. That’s not a terribly good inference.

    Arsenal played awful against Man U. They apparently played better today (at work during the match, will have to catch a replay before I can comment). If they continue to play better, they could win the league. If they play like they did against Man U, they will not. That’s all I think the evidence warrants saying at the moment.

  6. BillE Shears

    February 20, 2008 at 11:24 am

    I don’t read anything into it all. I think it is classic Wenger if they get a tough draw in a domestic cup to field a weakened team, see how it goes, and start trying if there is a chance of winning.

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