Arsenal v. AC Milan

Sorry about yesterday, after the weekend I simply forgot to turn on the alarm and slept until right before work. So, a quick rush into work followed by a full day of actual work (the audacity!) and I was unable to put together a blog in a timely manner.

Thankfully, nothing huge happened like getting 6 of our key figures back, or Gallas “escaping” action from the FA over his petulant kick, or Wenger hailing Flamini as the engine of the team. Yeah, thankfully nothing happened yesterday!

For me, the most important news of the last two days is the return of Clichy and Sagna. I don’t want to “slag off” Hoyte and Traore because I think the loss to Man U was more of a problem with the wing players defending from the front than a severe lack of talent at the back. Actually, the problem with Man U was the whole team didn’t seem to give a crap. So, all I’ll say is that Clichy and Sagna provide just a little bit more cover at the fullback spot and thus give the whole team more confidence in the context of Wenger’s attacking football style. Having them back is a great boost to the team.

And Wenger is following suit and talking the team up as he is well known to do. Here he hits all the high points saying:

I’m highly confident in the quality and the mental strength of this team, and the ambition of this team. Many people have written us off from the start of the season up to now and we always responded well.

I’d much rather have that be the manager’s talking points than some “hairdryer” manager who tell you what shite you are and then say “now go out there and prove me wrong!”  Maybe that’s why Wenger develops talent and Man U just buys it. But, enough Man U talk, Arsenal are playing AC Milan!  That match is dead and forgotten and it’s time to look forward.

I have to say that as a fan, I actually wanted this match when the draw was held.  Sure… at the time Milan was looking a bit dogged following their Team World Cup Vanity Cup.  But more importantly, I argued, they play the kind of football that Arsenal can exploit;  open, attacking football.  At the time of the draw I was one of those people who thought Arsenal only play a certain type of football.  But since then they have shown us a lot of grit, they have shown us many different styles of winning, and they have shown us some bizzare cup losses.  So, if you ask me today, I can honestly say that I don’t know what kind of game Arsenal are going to play.

What I do know is that more than any match, this one will be the pivotal match of the season.  Last year, they crashed out of all three cup competitions in two weeks and a poor performance today would pretty much seal their fate for this season as well.  Leaving them battered and bruised and fighting only for the Premier League.  Wenger called it the Crossroads and I agree: I’m pretty sure that this round of Cesc v. Kaka and Flamini v. Gattuso battles will define these players for the rest of their careers.  Cesc wants to be considered the best footballer in the world?  First you have to take that title from Kaka, just as you took our breath against Vieira in this same competition.  Flamini fancies himself as a “Flattuso?” (Obvious flatulence joke here please) Now is your chance to go one further and make people forget about that no talent ass clown.  Now is both of these players’ chance to make people compare others to them and not the other way around.

Here you are boys, down at the crossroads, no where left to run.
The team is at the crossroads, don’t get caught by the setting sun.

That’s what I’m looking for today.  Sure, a win say 2-0 against the best team in the world would be really nice.  But more importantly, I want to see Cesc and Flamini put their mark on this game.  I want to see these two players show the world how good they really are.  Now’s the chance.  The fans believe in you.  Wenger believes in you.  You believe in you.  Now get out there and do it.

Until tomorrow… up the Arse!