Arsenal pay the price for not dipping into transfer kitty

BY foxsports • February 7, 2011

In football there are special kinds of damage, which can be inflicted upon teams. The two most common types are physical and then there's its soul mate, psychological.

Psychological is the most damaging.

On the wildest Saturday the Barclays Premier League has seen in its 19-year existence, the wreckage was strewn from the North to South of the country.

Over the next seven days some big clubs and big players will have lots of time for a little introspective thinking.

There is no doubt that the team who suffered the most was Arsene Wenger’s Gunners and if misery loves company, they’ve got a friend in me. Having taken the spread, I couldn’t believe my luck after 10 minutes at St. James’ Park.

Newcastle was simply a travesty and an embarrassment to themselves, as they forgot how to play anything resembling football. Arsenal didn’t even have to perform at their top level.

At half-time, a quick visit online to Amazon and those winnings had been wisely spent.

Come on! Who blows a four-goal lead? It has never happened in the history of the league and certainly never to the Professor. But, I suppose, you ultimately reap what you sow.

The transfer window was open for a month and everybody, including their mother, has identified where Arsenal are weak and still Wenger refuses to do anything about it.

Yes, Abou Diaby’s red card was ridiculous and the player needs to take a long hard look at himself. Yes, Phil Dowd had a shocking game full of terrible decisions and inconsistencies but it was Arsenal’s back line that gave up four goals in the space of time it takes to make a cup-of-tea.

This has to be the final wake-up call for the Frenchman. He must know now that his team has a backbone with the consistency of jelly. Never have I seen a team that is screaming out for leadership more than this sorry outfit.

Can they come back from this setback? Yes, but in the long term there are far too many questions that I believe this current squad can’t answer. The midweek victory over Everton, while satisfying for die-hard Gunners, was yet another false dawn.

As for players whose confidence may have taken a battering, look no further than the most expensive player in the Premier League, Fernando Torres.

The body language that rendered him all but crippled at Anfield, has followed him down the M1 to Stamford Bridge. I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed such an anemic debut by a player with so much hype.

I can understand that it has been an emotional week for the Spaniard and it’s never easy to uproot from your home. It also must’ve been incredibly hard to play against his former teammates, but for ‘Pete’s sake,’ at least try.

That’s the beauty of a Carlos Tevez. He can suck the big one for 90 minutes but the lad never stops running or giving one hundred percent effort. Torres was almost sleepwalking and I actually felt that Carlo Ancelotti did him a favor by removing from the match.

Of course, Torres will come good and score goals but I do wonder what his new colleagues made of the most understated 66 minutes I’ve ever seen from a player who cost so much. Someone at Chelsea will be getting less playing time with his arrival and that just might upset the delicate balance Ancelotti has recently rediscovered.

Ultimately, both London clubs still have designs on the title and with the shocking loss of Manchester United to Wolves, that is still a possibility. The question is whether they have the mental strength to pick themselves up from the kind of damage that has derailed many teams dreams over the years.

Only leaders need apply.

Nick Webster is a senior writer for FoxSoccer.com covering the Barclay's Premier League and the English national team.


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