SN Blog 15 – In fighting stupidity

Yesterday we drew 1-1 away at Watford, in isolation considering how strong a team they are this season and the fact we were down to 10 men for circa 40 mins it was not a bad result; sadly it continue our winless run in the league which now stands at four games with our last win being a 1-0 victory over Palace at Wembley a month ago.

Our next game is in the Champions League, at Wembley, on Wednesday night and Pochettino has already said he will be resting players and rotating against APOEL as we are already guaranteed top spot in the group.

Sonny vs Watford

So lets get the focus on the game out of the way first.  We didn’t actually play badly and if not for a switching off at the back once (in the Prem that normally means conceding and so it was yesterday) and Sanchez moment of madness I actually think that was a game there to be won.

So, Sanchez picked up our first red card in the league for some time (anyone remember our last one?) and at first glance I thought it seemed harsh, it looked like so many players do he used his arm when turning and it went across the attacking player who dropped like a sack of proverbial.

HOWEVER upon watching a replay, he looked, then brought his arm to his face, if you do that you are asking the referee to make a decision.  I will not go on an attack of the ref, anyone who watched the game will be of the opinion he had a poor match and going over ref decisions just sounds bitter or petty.

Lamela Vs Watford

Going down to 10 men the pleasing thing was the fight shown by the players, in essence seeing out the draw and securing the point which could have so easily been nothing given the circumstances.  Lamela coming on and getting some more much needed minutes was also good.  He is not in the Champions League squad for the group stages, due to his injury, so sadly he wont get any minutes Wednesday night but I would expect him to make the bench again next Saturday as we face Stoke at Wembley.

Moving on from the game now and the main reason I am writing this blog today is actually following this bad run just how disappointed I’ve become reading what fellow fans have to say about the manager and the team.  I wonder how much of it is said in the heat of the moment, we all do that but then I read the same sort of things from the same people over and over and I start to think if they are not actually accounts set up by Russian Arsenal fans meant to take us down from the inside!

So let me just address a few things and offer a counter opinion to what I read following the recent results.

Poch’s book has caused this problem.

Every page of the book was approved by the club.  Every mention of every player and backroom member of staff was approved by the individual.  Not one player has a problem with the book and most found it a good read (Poch gave one to each player or person mentioned with a personalised inscription).  The book is not the issue unless Poch has given up team talks and simply now refers the team to which page he would like then to read pre-match!

Kane vs Watford

Harry Kane was so bad against Watford

I rarely getting annoyed at fans having opinions that differ from my own as frankly that’s football but open your eyes maybe?  Kane ran himself into the ground yesterday, came deep and played passes that at times was like watching Hoddle again!  If you honestly have an opinion that he was “awful” against Watford I suggest football is not a game for you and politely direct you to another sport.

Christian Eriksen ‘mentally exhausted is a joke’

Earlier this week Pochettino pointed out although physically fit he felt Eriksen needed a breather mentally due to the fact he had played in such massive games close to each other.  For Christian, scoring a hat-trick for his country to take them to the World Cup in Russia is about as big of an achievement as it gets.  He worked tirelessly during his countries campaign and some could argue single-handedly dragged his nation to the finals.

Poch, our manager who works with the players every day, has recognised that following that achievement the player needs a break.  However when this news made it out there all I read was about how much money he is paid and how pathetic an “excuse” that was.  To clarify, he is a professional football player playing in the toughest league in the world where there are ZERO easy games.

Unlike Spain, France, Germany, Italy where you honestly have a few weeks against dross in the Premier League if you are not at your best one day the team bottom of the league will beat you.  That means focus needs to be 100% at all times.  Now, when you achieve your goal (for him qualification for the World Cup) it is actually very common for that focus to slip and that is what Pochettino was talking about.

Poch has been figured out, he has no plan B.

So this is probably the most common thing I read and it is actually quite a funny statement.  So let me first say, yes we do.  We actually seamlessly can change formations in games and that is the exact example of Plan A and B in action.  Three at the back, then a back four… we change so often in games now pundits do not actually know which is our plan A and which is plan B now!

Secondly, when winning, who gives a s**t about plan B?  If Man City lose their next game do you think their fans will say “oh we have no plan B” … when Leicester won the title by playing basically the same team every week, 4-4-2 without a plan B.. do you think their fans celebrating that achievement cared?

Now, that being said what we do lack and perhaps some people class this as Plan B is the squad depth to make a change from the bench which can win a game.  Now is that down to the signings or is that down to players on the bench not actually making an impact when they are needed / asked to?  N’koudou is a player who I liked.  Fast, skillfull, wanted to take men on and clearly a type of player very different to what we had – a difference maker – however having watched him come on to the field of play on many occasions and frankly be awful I can understand why the manager is no longer relying on him.

Sissoko … well he is ….I have no words.  Frustrating, there that is a word.  I see him work hard and yet he looks like someone who is so shot of confidence he is more likely to trip over the ball than make a clean pass.

Llorente.  I hailed his signing as a master stroke.  A player who has been there, seen it and won it all at club level and internationally.  Physically fit and just had a very good season in the Premier League scoring 15 goals.  However as understudy to Kane, all bar one cameo against West Ham in the league he has been poor and seems to be getting worse not better.


So here is a reality check for everyone.  Something I think needs to be said.  For the last two seasons we have punched above our weight in the league.  Liverpool, Man Utd, Man City, Arsenal and Chelsea all have much larger income bases and pay more.  They can out spend us.  Therefore they all have an advantage over us (Just like we have an advantage over many clubs).  Even Everton, who will now find form under ‘Big Sam’ can out spend us now and can pay more due to their investment.

This is the biggest test for our current team and manager.  It is a time for fans to support and help push through this … its easy to be a fan when you win all the time – now is the time to show up, be louder, be prouder and generally get behind the team.

Finally, for all those calling for Pochettino to be sacked (yes many are) please think about what you are asking for there.  He has won the most games of any manager since Burkinshaw!  He has us punching above our weight in the league and taken us through the group stage in the Champions League.  He is not perfect, he is still learning and will admit that himself.

I often laugh at the Arsenal fans #WengerOut rubbish after every defeat; don’t become like those idiots please!  My plea to you all.  Now is the time to be together.

Thank you for reading.



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