I am writing this on the train up north to see some family before settling down for some Christmas festivities. It will be the last blog I write before Christmas (unless I have one scheduled for tomorrow that I have forgotten about), so before I start, I would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and thanks for making this a record breaking blog this year.
Yesterday’s game highlighted what I have been saying all season. That there is not much between Arsenal, Liverpool and Spurs.
Last year, Liverpool finished a single point above Arsenal. This season, after 19 games, there is still just one point in it. So after 57 games, 2 points split the two club.
As always, it is interesting to see how the media react to both clubs. Liverpool are awesome, Arsenal are not, according to some in the media, despite there being next to nothing between the two clubs.
In fact, both share the same strengths (attacking) and share the same weaknesses (defending). You could see yesterday why both are so far behind Manchester City.
Man City are vastly superior when it comes to both attacking and defending.
I also do not think there is too much between Jurgen Klopp and Arsene Wenger.
It must be remembered, in the 3 years Klopp has been in England, Wenger’s Arsenal have finished above Liverpool 2 from 3 times and won the FA Cup twice. Liverpool have been trophyless.
I have said for a while, Klopp and Mauricio Pochettino get away with it in the press. They are not as analysed as Wenger. Yet for both of their perceived brilliance, neither has won a trophy in England yet.
Klopp is praised in the media because after his side loses, he tells a joke. But the pressure caught up with him after the Merseyside Derby when he snapped a journalist.
As for his touchline antics, it is for the fans, it is for the cameras. Ian Wright on Match if the Day said as much last night.
Gary Neville once said that players can not even hear managers a lot of the time when they are screaming and shouting, and that the majority of professionals prefer managers who sit and analyse the game rather than make a show of themselves on the touchline.
So if you are calling Wenger to act like Klopp, ask yourself why? Is it to benefit the team? Probably not. It’s probably because you want Wenger to show some passion, to show that he cares. You want him to jump up and down for 90 minutes for your benefit. Not the benefit of the team.
Liverpool have the “fab 4”, and they are a frightening front line at times. They are also one of the lost overrated forward lines in football. Theo Walcott, for example, has a better goals to games ratio than Coutinho in the Premier League.
On Walcott, if we are going to continue with 4 at the back, he needs to start.
It is not because he is a top player, but because he is better than Alex Iwobi.
For Liverpool’s fab 4, read Arsenal’s bad 4.
Starting with Iwobi, he is not currently good enough to play week in week out for Arsenal. He was not last season, and he was not this season. He needs to be dropped. He provides no attacking threat and is lazy in defence. Walcott must come in for him next game.
Iwobi’s lack of ability and Sanchez’s lack of form shows how important it was last summer to sign another attacking midfielder.
I wanted in someone like Thomas Lemar, Julian Draxler or Isco regardless as to whether or not Sanchez or Mesut Ozil left.
Look at Manchester City’s attacking attacking options, then look at Arsenal’s, then look back at Manchester City’s.
The difference is vast.
The fact the Iwobi is playing, despite being average, and Sanchez is playing, despite being horrendously out of form, shows how short we are.
It is the same scenario in central midfield.
We have no other viable options to play defensive midfield other than Grant Xhaka, and he is not a natural defensive midfield.
Last night Coutinho got the jump on him. Xhaka did well to get back, but once he got back he just stopped. He froze. Coutinho jump and floated a header in to send Liverpool 1-0 up. He was unchallenged.
A top defensive midfielder has been top of the shopping list for about a decade. Wenger needs to admit he got it wrong with Xhaka and sign someone else. In this day and age, a £35m mistake is not actually that much.
Look at Man City again. They are going to sign another centre back in January. This despite having spent over £200m on the centre backs in their squad. Yes, they have a lot more money to spend then Arsenal, but if they make a mistake i. The transfer market, they cut their losses and move on.
Arsenal need to do the same with Xhaka. Or at least play him in the right position.
As for Hector Bellerin, he hasn’t been the same player since Barcelona sniffed around.
Personally, I would like to see him dropped and Ainsley (as I am now going to call him) move over to right back. Drop Bellerin. He is out of form.
Anyway, with Arsenal not having a game until next Thursday, we can all turn off from football, turn off social media, and enjoy time with our families.