Arsene Wenger’s team has always been known as one that is skilled in possessing the ball. Playing against Swansea on Sunday, January 15, 2012, Swansea out-possessed Wenger’s Gunners. Swansea looked like an elite team while Arsenal played like a recently promoted team from the lower division.
With such a performance, Wenger can easily step out of the Fool’s Paradise. He cannot let January come and go without getting rid of the dead weight. Wenger has to jettison Arshavin, Benayoun, Chamakh and Rosicky. They are useless and contribute nothing whether they play 20, 30, or 90 minutes. On the bench or on the pitch, they add nothing of value to Arsenal.
With Gervinho away at the Africa Cup, Arsenal is bereft of a playmaker. Ramsey works hard but should either be on loan homing his talents or sitting on the bench learning from his elders. Against Swansea, Arsenal was without Arteta but even though he has some EPL value, Arsenal cannot be satisfied with his contribution hitherto. Old man Thierry Henry was a savior in the Carling Cup but Henry represents the past, not the future.
Chelsea vs Sunderland
Villas-Boas eked out a 1-0 victory against Sunderland but Chelsea seems to be neither fish nor foul. The new manager has not put in place a brand of soccer that reflects his coaching expertise. Chelsea in the closing minutes of a game does not even know how to possess the ball. They have Ramires playing as an attacking wing player but that robs the mid-field of someone who can run until the cows come home.
Off-Form, On-Form Players
Fernando Torres is still desperately trying to get on track. One of the bewildering things about football and sports in general is how form can quickly evaporate. Sean Wright Phillips who now plays for Queens Park Rangers is also out of form despite the fact that he is a regular starter for QPR. Wright Phillips had been relegated to the bench while playing for Manchester City and despite the new surroundings is still a shadow of himself.
On the other hand, there are those who are lighting up the EPL. Demba Ba has emerged as one of the more dangerous strikers in the League and will be sought by elite teams. Dembele of Fulham has shown that he has all the tools to be a player of class. Even though he does not start regularly for Newcastle, Hatem Ben Arfa has shown the importance of the super-intelligent advanced mid-field player. Welbeck of Manchester United can no longer be kept out of the English team. Also, Dyer and Simpson of Swansea are quality wingers who mesmerize defenders who face them on a weekly basis.
There is no formula for maintaining or when form disappears how to retrieve it. It is more about psychology than about physicality. Nonetheless, there is no question that a motivating manager and sympathetic teammates are big factors in the re-acquisition of form.