Monday, 5 May 2014

Arsenal 1-0 West Brom: Goodbye Sagna?

Not much to talk about, am I right? The match was as interesting as those godawful 'classic' musicals, the result (however narrow) was predictable, the fans were at their brilliant best, and ultimately, it ended three points to us.

The result, coupled with Chelsea's 0-0 draw at home to Norwich (Remember when Jose said this?) means that they are 3 points ahead of us going into the final Matchday. Mathematically, we could still achieve third if Chelsea lose on the final gameweek, and Arsenal defeat Norwich 0-20. Hey, it is a possibility.

Coming back to the game, which had a lot of positives. Firstly, we displayed a rare ability to score goals from corners. Santi whipped the ball in around the 18th minute, the West Brom players were too busy admiring Giroud's face, only to see him bang a header into the net. 1-0, get in!

Secondly, I think Ozil had a fantastic game. This was exactly the kind of stuff you pay 42 million quid for. Sure, he didn't get any goals or assists, but then again, I never judge people on goals and assists. I like Rosicky even though his assists this season have been pitiful. I don't fancy Giroud as a first-choice striker even though he has amassed 22ish goals this season. Similarly, I was always wary of Ozil's long-term impact to the side, even though he was backed by impressive statistics.

Don't get me wrong, I still am. However, today, Ozil showed class, you know what I mean? That drifting away from defenders, gliding into space and splitting open defence lines was all apparent. It was inspirational stuff, really.

However, our happiness at his performance suggests that we've almost forgotten how it feels to have a world-class player. Ozil cannot carry the team next season, not to mention that to truly flourish, he needs the team to be built around him. To satisfy his creativity, he needs a pacey striker. To negate his lack of workrate and his physical weakness, he needs a powerhouse of a midfielder, a Patrick Vieira figure. Ozil played well because he was rested and didn't have the pressure of expectation on him. If Wenger manages to create that atmosphere for him as long as possible, and build the team around the German, it would be great for the club as a whole.

In other news, Abou Diaby is back. I, for one, am sure that he's going to play a part next week and/or in the FA Cup Final, along with Jack Wilshere. It's not exactly a massive boost to see him back, seeing that our league objective is pretty much accomplished and that we have Mathieu Flamini to cover up his loss, but I'm sure everyone wanted him to get a run-out on the field yesterday.

Would he be the answer to our defensive midfielder issues? Could he be Arsenal's Yaya Toure? I imagine if he's given the right amount of games and gathers confidence, he can be our answer. However, it's impossible to see him produce a string of consistent displays without getting injured, especially not under Wenger's murderous man management skills and his inept medical staff. I honestly don't hate Diaby, I doubt any Arsenal fan does. However, when it's not meant to be, it's not meant to be.

Diaby has to go.

After some huge spans of dull moments, which were made like 4% exciting by an Ozil miss and Podolski hitting the bar, full time was upon us. And as the players went through the customary lap of appreciation, one chant in the Emirates Stadium rang in chorus, above all others:

"We want you to stay, we want you to stay! Bacary Sagna, we want you to stay!"

Who could argue with that? After all, Sagna has been a superb right-back for so many years. He's stayed throughout the trophyless years and kept respectfully mum. He's Arsenal through-and-through. He has the potential to be a reliable centre back in the future as well, once his pace dies down. Which club wouldn't want to keep him?

I still haven't ruled out the possibility that Sagna will stay if we win the FA Cup. From time to time again he's spoken about his dream being to watch Arsenal "compete", and winning a trophy at long last would certainly suffice that. Does Sagna's future rest on the FA Cup? I think so, but I'm not sure. We'll see.

Anyway, that's all for today. Vib_H will post an article in midweek, while I take the week off. Until then, have a good one Gooners.

P.S. Apologies for the short, lifeless post. In honesty, there wasn't really much to talk about, was there?

-Santi (Follow me on twitter: @ArsenalBlogz )