So, I suppose the first thing to talk about today is the manager’s comments regarding the supposed tiredness of our defence. To be honest, i don’t see how these players can be tired. Gibbs hasn’t played in many full games. Silvestre was out for quite a while through injury. Toure wasn’t a regular before Christmas. Fabianski is a keeper and so shouldn’t suffer from fatigue given that he is basically our cup keeper anyway. That just leaves Sagna as the only player in our current back four that could lay claim to tiredness, especially as he had been ill recently. However, the manager could always have played Eboue in his position at Anfield in order to give him a bit more time to recover physically. So, I just do not accept that our defence could possibly be suffering from fatigue and for the manager to suggest so is annoying as it seems like a way of finding an excuse for what could only be described as shambolic defending at Anfield. He needs to seriously review our defensive personnel in the summer and buy suitable reinforcements. Surely he must be regretting letting Senderos go out on loan to Milan. If he is good enough for Milan to want him, then surely he is decent enough to be defensive cover for us.
Likewise, Cesc was far from impressed with our attempts at defending.
“We have seen the best things we can do, but there are a lot of things we can improve on. We played in front of great players and great fans and the team has to be proud of what we achieved, but still we go home with the feeling we should have done more. We gave the goals away too easily and after all we did to create four opportunities to score four goals – it is difficult to take. Defensively, we need to improve a lot if we want to be in the Champions League final. But there are still a lot of things we need to work on and put right. If defensively you are not well positioned, you will concede goals.”
All very true and it’s good that the captain is saying it, because it seems that none of the coaching staff seem too keen to point out our defensive frailties to the boss. You would hope that deep down he knows that we have serious problems in that area and that it’s all just a smokescreen for the media, but it’s becoming frustrating to always hear the same kind of weak excuses trotted out instead of just owning up and saying we were poor. Not poor because we were tired, poor because we have issues that badly need addressing. Until that happens we will have to go the Real Madrid route and just try to out-score our opponents.
Maybe, as I only started this blog on March 21st, I too will soon be struck down by fatigue and the quality of my posts will deteriorate appropriately? If Arsene’s theory is correct, then I must apologise in advance for that happening, though some of you may say that it already has. That must be why I haven’t been able to get a post up every single day.
Arseblogger makes a good point about how it’s not just our defence that needs to improve on it’s defending. There have been some midfielders that have neglected to do their defensive duties this season and it has cost points from conceding late goals.
Gunnerblog has evidence of yet another shocking display of Benitez’s contempt here. Quality.
Elsewhere, our youth team are through to the FA Youth Cup final after seeing off the holders, Man City, 6-2 on aggregate. So, at least the club has a chance of winning some silverware this season! Let’s hope their senior brethren can do likewise in the Champions League, though for that to happen some serious defensive coaching needs to take place. Why don’t they try and bring in Tony Adams? What happened with Keown’s role? Maybe the boss didn’t like having so many negative things pointed out to him. Who knows?
Anyway, that’s all for the staff to sort out. We must now start looking ahead to the Middlesbrough game at the weekend and the boss has already stated that he will have to rotate, so it will be interesting to hear the team news as it slowly starts to trickle out over the next few days. I imagine that Eboue will start at right back and Gibbs at left. Silvestre and Toure in the middle. After that, who knows. Will Almunia return? Arshavin must be a cert to start, possibly out wide or playing just off Bendtner. I’m not sure if Van Persie and Adebayor will be a) fit or b) risked should they be fit, considering the importance of the next week’s Champions League game. Anyway, the Sunday line-up is best left for the coming days.
Right, that’s about all I have for now. More tomorrow.