By 1970’s Gooner
As in every competitive situation in life you need to have a strong spine to be able to withstand the pressure that you will undoubtedly face.
In football you need it so that the team can be built around it. And you need it so that the balance of the team, so important in winning games, can be held together.
The players making up the spine should not only be capable but they need to be strong, confident and above all leaders.
And these characteristics assume paramount significance when most of the players are youngsters….
The spine begins with the goalkeeper and moves on through the central areas of the pitch from the centre back through to the central midfielder and finally the centre forward.
Previous Arsenal (and Wenger) teams had it in abundance.
The 1970’s double winning team had Bob Wilson, Frank Mc Clintock, Peter Storey and John Radford.
Earlier title winning teams under Wenger had Seaman, Adams, Vieira and Henry.
Chelsea now have Cseck, Terry, Lampard and Drogba.
Manchester United have Van De Sar, Vidic, Scholes and Ronaldo.
Hell even Liverpool now have a strong spine. Reina, Carragher, Gerrard, Torres.
Where’s Arsenal’s spine? Almunia? Gallas? Fabregas? Denilson? Adebayor?
I listed above the four characteristics of a “spine” player. Capable, strong, confident and a leader.
The current Arsenal spine unfortunately fails miserably on all but one of the above qualities. They are only capable but lack distinctly in terms of strength, confidence and leadership ability.
Nearly all the Arsenal players are highly skillful with high technique levels but they are relatively small, fragile and almost meek players who rely too much on their skill to get them through the game. Then they cry like babies when they get roughed up a bit.
But it’s not really their fault is it? They have been brought together by a manager who simply refuses to acknowledge that the team is actually spineless and in desperate need for at least a strong defensive midfielder and a centre back.
When the average age of the team week in week out is between 21 and 24 then you are dealing with kids who, as with any youngster, in any walk of life, go through ups and downs in whatever they do due to lack of confidence.
That is why Wenger is always building them up trying to improve their confidence levels. And that is why they sometimes perform excellently but at other times when things don’t go their way they fall apart.
Another characteristic of youth is overconfidence and complacency; and we have seen this also a lot of Wenger’s teams. The latest example being the game against Hull where they thought that by just turning up that victory was assured…
This is the last but the most important characteristic that can qualify someone as a “spine player”.
Who is Arsenal’s leader on the pitch? Who is the one that when things go wrong he gets everyone else going, leads by example and takes the game on his shoulders?
No one. Not Gallas, the captain, not Sagna, not Clichy (though he tries), not Toure, not Denilson, not Fabregas, not Nasri, certainly not Walcott, not Van Persie and certainly not want away Adebayor!
Get a spine Mr Wenger…..