Writing after a defeat is always tough. Especially a defeat where we did not deserve to win, where we have been knocked out of a competition. It can go one of two ways. I can become a depressing emo and write about how useless we are, or I can go completely the other way and be blinded by my love of Arsenal and bury my head in the sand, and find excuses for the loss.
There is a fine line and getting the balance between both is tough. Rather then attempt to get a balance, I am going to write both sides of yesterday’s story.
Arsenal lost to Chelsea, and there is only one man to blame. Arsene Wenger. The way he treats the League Cup is a disgrace. It is a trophy. A trophy that he has never won due to his disdain for the trophy. We have not won a trophy for 8 seasons. In that time we have made 2 League Cup Finals. Both times his team selection has let us down. And let us not forget Bradford last year.
He dropped 8 players from the game against Crystal Palace. He played Nicklas Bendtner and Ryo Miyaichi. This was not good enough.
Yes, it is a squad game and he should be rotating, but the squad clearly is not good enough. And it is Arsene Wenger who built that squad. In the summer, we all said we needed to buy 4 or 5 players. A goalkeeper. A right back. A top central midfielder. A winger. A striker. And what did Wenger do? Buy Mesut Ozil and get Mathieu Flamini on a free.
And the reason we lost to Chelsea? A mistake by our goalkeeper. A mistake by our right back. A lack of protection in midfield. And playing Ryo and Bendtner. Had we signed the players we needed, our squad would have been stronger. We failed to invest. Arsene Wenger failed to invest.
Top managers have Wenger’s number. They always have. Fergie and Mourinho use the exact same tactics when playing Arsenal. Defend deep. Defend well. Then let Arsenal make a mistake. And Arsenal always make a mistake. Take advantage of that mistake, score, then go back to defending, then pick Arsenal off on the break to kill the game. How often have we looked the better team against another top side, only to lose 2-0? A lot.
Arsene Wenger is at fault for yesterday’s defeat. He has let the fans down by not investing all he can in the team. Wenger Out.
Arsenal lost to Chelsea. C’est la vie. Whilst the performance was not brilliant, a few things must be remembered. Firstly, Arsene Wenger was correct shuffling the squad. Due to injuries, we have a very small group of players. It is therefore important to rest players when we have a chance. And the League Cup is a chance. Over the next 10 days we play Liverpool, Borussia Dortmund and Manchester United. All of these games are more important than the League Cup. The League Cup is the least important trophy.
Even getting top 4 is more important than the League Cup. Do not believe me. Ask yourself a question, would Mesut Ozil of signed for Arsenal we last season we won the League Cup, but finished 5th? The answer is no. The best players are attracted by Champions League football. We can now, going forward, afford the best players, so it is more important that we continue qualifying for the Champions League then winning the League Cup. The better players we buy, the more chance of winning the league. Winning the league is the ultimate goal.
Yes, Chelsea’s B side was stronger than the B side we put out, but it is unfair to compare the two sides. Chelsea currently have 1 injury, Marco Van Ginkel. Yesterday was basically there full 2nd string. Meanwhile, Arsenal had Flamini, Arteta, Walcott, Sanogo, Podolski, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Serge Gnabry (I am excluding Diaby) unavailable for selection. 7 players.
Now if you imagine our strongest starting line up is:
Sagna Mertesacker Koscielny Gibbs
Walcott Ozil Cazorla
The would have left us with a side last night of:
Jenkinson Koscielny Vermaelen Monreal
Gnabry Rosicky Oxlade
That is a side which is fair superior to that which started yesterday. A more balanced central midfield. More width and pace. And a better striker. We would have performed a lot better, especially in the last 3rd, where we got to with ease but struggled to break through.
And then we have the cost of both sides. The Chelsea side which played yesterday cost them £174.6m. The Arsenal side cost £62.3m. Over £100million difference. Of course Chelsea are going to look stronger, look better.
And the figures are similar throughout the entire squads of both sides. The Chelsea First Team squad cost £332.4m to put together. Arsenal’s meanwhile cost £180.9m to put together. A difference of £151.5m. Chelsea’s wage bill is also £30m higher then Arsenal’s. It should be of no surprise that Chelsea looked better than us on the night when you take into account these figures.
Yes, you could argue that we have more money to spend, but do we have enough to compete? We had around £100m to spend this summer. Even if we spent all of that, our squad would still of cost £100m less then Chelsea’s. As for the wage bill, we have no way in competing. Need I remind you that Arsenal made a profit of £6.7m last year. Had we had a wage bill equalling that of Chelsea’s, we would have made a loss of over £20m. We would be putting our club at risk.
To put something else in perspective, Chelsea have £61.1m worth of players out on loan. Remember the XI which started for Arsenal last night cost £62.3m. Chelsea are clearly at a financial advantage when it comes to their squad, and that came across on the pitch.
That fact it took individual errors for us to lose last night, and for much of the game we competed with them is testament to how good our players are and how well Wenger has done in assembling the squad. Football is all about money. The teams who pay the highest wages, have the most expensive squads, tend to win. The doped clubs such as Chelsea and Manchester City are at an advantage, however our league position shows we are catching, we are competitive.
Last night was a poor defeat. But there is no need to point the figure of blame at anyone. The reason for that defeat is that Chelsea had a better side, a deeper squad. And that comes down to how much money they are able to invest in their squad. Money won.
What side do you fall down on?