And it’s not enough. If Santi Cazorla is the best player on a team, which he is for Arsenal, it means something hasn’t been working for Arsene Wenger in both player development and his eye for signings. There’s Theo Walcott and Aaron Ramsey, but those aren’t players that will lift the team from it’s current stature, into something more than contenders for a Champions League spot.
Rhaegar fought valiantly, Rhaegar fought nobly, Rhaegar fought bravely. And Rhaegar died. A famous line from A Song of Ice and Fire, meaning that you need to be a bad guy sometimes in order to win. So Arsenal were a lot more aggressive than usual , maybe due to the early humiliation of the honor guard or simply by seeing Robin van Persie arrive with his new championship swagger. And it wasn’t enough. Not when Manchester United decided they weren’t losing this match.
Just like in the first meeting between the two teams, once the initial enthusiasm eroded, Arsenal couldn’t really create too much against a much better team. Santi Cazorla made his attempts with a couple of impressive long range efforts, while his passing found Aaron Ramsey and Lukas Podolski for comfortable chances early on, but as the match progressed and United learned the trick of where everything was coming from, Arsenal were less and less dangerous.
Now is not the time to dwindle on players not playing to the standard the fans are expecting of them. The gunners have three matches left to play, knowing that if they win all their matches it still might not be enough. Both Spurs and Chelsea have four matches to play, Arsenal have only three. It’s about grinding out wins, like they have in recent weeks, by playing football that’s not usually associated with them, although we’ve hardly seen “vintage” Arsenal this season as well.
Caught somewhere in-between, Arsenal no longer have an identity but that of failure when it comes to the big titles, the big moments. In a match that mattered nothing to United but everything to Arsenal, the gunners had no extra gear or something special left to use, allowing the visitors to take control of the match and look like the more dangerous team for most of the second half.
While it’s not a time to brood on failures, if Arsenal’s expectations are to remain narrow – 4th spot and that’s it, no major overhaul of the squad is necessary, but this bunch is barely enough to take them there. Wenger is going to need to spend money just so he can keep things as they are, as reluctant as he might be to do so. A championship run? Only if Arsenal pull off a Manchester City or Chelsea next summer, which is highly unlikely, and even if they do spend that much, we’re not too sure the manager they have right now knows what to do with that kind of money, and those kind of players.