Mickey Mouse Cup (or not)

Despite tweets from Fabregas, van Persie and Wilshere apologizing to Arsenal fans after the Carling Cup defeat to Birmingham last Sunday, I feel that these are not the players to be blamed – the manager is.

From the debacle of the high-scoring 4-4 draw with Newcastle United on 5 February 2011 (with the Geordies down 4-0 and mounting a spirited comeback) to the latest Carling Cup final defeat to Birmingham City, we watch in horror as the Gunners weave their magic in one second and zap individual opponents into miserable excuses for footballers and then to only find themselves in a difficult position to justify their lack of concentration, (insert any excuses here) etc.

I’m not inferring that either Newcastle or Birmingham are awful teams such that the Premier League giants (maybe the line has already blurred at this age and time) but for Arsenal to perform to such levels that we are not familiar with is the very essence and evidence of Wenger’s prolonged stubbornness and somewhat limited tactical nous in the current English game.

Here, we have young Jack Wilshere crying after the defeat.

wilshere eboue

I’ve no idea why Eboue was pointing at his forehead but Wilshere really looked disconsolate and I guess an older head about the shoulders could address the issue best. When you look at Wilshere kissing the Arsenal badge below, you could empathize and imagine with how much the loss meant to him. I mean, I wouldn’t think very much about the League Cup which has been often derogatorily dismissed as a ‘Mickey Mouse’ Cup but for a kid younger than me to shed tears at the loss of the Carling Cup is painful. Perhaps you could blame it on him being so young (when I was about his age, the Arsenal was pipped to the league title by Man Ure in the 1998-1999 season, and I did feel misty-eyed although I was often the one who repressed feelings of any kind) but I’d rather have a player who genuinely felt that the team could have benefitted by winning rather than losing. 

Jack-Wilshere_kissing arsenal crest

The message is clear – if these kids don’t win anything this season or the next (at the latest), Project Wenger’s Wonderkids (probably conceived from ‘Fergie’s Fledglings) can kiss goodbye. There’s only so much pain a young player can take before he thinks that the Arsenal is probably a shallow project with no real ambition to push for honours and instead relying on an old coach to tell the media that the team screams quality, quality and more quality on a week in, week out basis but with nothing to show at the end of the season. It’s six years and counting…but I’m definitely counting on you kids to prove me wrong.

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