From Jimmy Rosenberg :
Having been a season ticket holder who let his ticket go, I am not as equipped to talk about the tactics that should be deployed against Madrid.
Madrid aren’t a team I know well either, so perhaps more informed readers will disagree with this
What I do know is that, on our day Arsenal can look good, we can pass well, press well and score.
Our defensive errors are usually due to a lack of concentration, we have won 3 FA cups in the last 4 years, knocking out some good and determined teams along the way. Would many have expected us to beat Chelsea in the Cup final last year? I doubt it, and we beat them deservedly playing some good football. Some will say our best defenders have gone downhill, and others will say that without Sanchez we are an inferior team.
But 3 Cups in 4 years says we’re a cup team and we are three games from lifting a another cup.
The players will know they are all on notice, the players have a World Cup coming up, a new manager coming in and a manager who has backed them regardless, and to whom they owe a debt of gratitude.
The players who genuinely see themselves as top quality will want to shine and to showcase their skills, and those who don’t, and believe Wenger has carried them, will see this as their best chance to have a career highlight and they owe Wenger more than anyone. The least they can do is concentrate.
Many past players have said we don’t prepare for specific teams. I would imagine this will be different. Wenger will pour everything he has into planning for this game, and if he has any sense at all Steve Bould will have the players drilling night and day.
One can talk about Wenger endlessly, and those moments since the glory days when things turned on a shattered leg here, a player leaving there, a morale-sapping defeat, injuries, tactical naivety, stubbornness, timid in the transfer market – the list is long.
Whether others caught up with Wenger, or whether he simply couldn’t compete with the billionaires buying titles, is hard to say…probably a bit of both. For years more of the latter, and recently probably more of the former.
What is beyond debate is that he changed English football forever.
Simply look at the number of foreign managers before and he arrived and compare it to now. 22 years ago a foreign manager was thought not to be able to understand the English game. Well either Wenger could, or he simply changed the English game…again probably a bit of both.
Whatever the faults of the senior England team, the type of play he brought to the Arsenal must have influenced other teams, and certainly those kids who have grown up in his 22 years. The England youth team, who have been doing so well, would probably be full of more large lads, full of commitment and grit, but lacking skills and finesse if Wenger had never come to Arsenal. I doubt we will see an Emile Heskey again.
Expectations for Arsenal are higher than when he arrived. Part of the reason for the dissatisfaction is the high standards and success he brought to the club. Some say he inherited a great defence from George Graham. How many of the invincible Lehmann, Cole, Keown, Campbell, Toure, Lauren and Clichy did he inherit and how many did he discover?
Wenger leaving is sad, maybe not for everyone, but it is the end of the era, whether it ends on a high or a low. Nothing marks the passing of time like football, and with Wenger at the helm that passing was slightly less noticeable.
Just as Bogart and Bergman will always have Paris, Arsene and those lucky enough to have followed him during the best years will always have the Invincibles.
Win, lose or draw….thank you, Arsene.