Last night’s defeat was pretty much expected given our poor record in Greece, so I am not too put off by it. With the team the manager put out, it was a surprise we didn’t do even worse than we did. Frankly playing a player whose last senior appearance is 10 months ago at centerback and a first team debut for a 20 year old kid just shows how much care or hope Arsene Wenger had on this fixture.
While, I am okay with the loss, it is the manner of defeat that really annoys me. It is yet another game where we took the lead but was unable to hold on till the end. How many times this season have we lost points from winning positions. Furthermore, as soon as the Greeks took the lead, you could see that the Arsenal player had given up the game. No longer were the players going forward and pressuring the opposition. Instead, the team was more eager to prevent more goals from being scored against them.
Arsene Wenger had earlier said that the team needs to overcome this defeatist attitude. However, he is the one who is making the situation worse because he also has this attitude. Just look at the substitutions he made during the game. The first one, Arshavin for Rosicky is understandable because the Czech has not played for a while now. However, the second substitution of Angha for Meade just smacks of a manager already thinking about the loss. We were down 2-1 and you replace a like for like full back, what’s the point in that. It wasn’t as if Meade was not performing well at that time. There were plenty of others who played worse, namely Chamakh, Ramsey, Gervinho, Coquelin etc. Also, why didn’t he bring in Chupa Akpom or Zak Ansah as an additional striker when we were chasing the game? This just showed that the manager did not believe that the team had what it took to get back in the game.
Another point that this match showed us is that Arsene Wenger has lost faith in his Youth Project and lacks the confidence in his younger players. If he didn’t think that these younger players were good enough to play for the team, why did he bring them along to Greece.
At the end of the day, while it is okay to lose a match, the message that Arsene Wenger is sending out is definitely not good for the team and its fans.