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No depth, defence and a dodgy keeper, Arsenal remain unbeaten.
10 January 2004
Another weekend, another 3 points, another week Arsenal remain unbeaten domestically.
Yet the opinion in the press is STILL that we have no depth and a dodgy defence.
The self styled experts seem hell bent on thrusting this idea home until one day they might just be right.
Fair enough, but when it gets to the stage where you can't actually buy any Newspaper without having to read rubbish like that, then it makes you wonder if any of these reporters know anything about the game.
As it stands at the moment, Arsenal are unbeaten in the league, in the Semi Finals of the Carling Cup, easily through to the 4th round of the FA Cup and have the joint best defensive record in The Premiership to date.
We are almost halfway through January, not a couple of months into the season. By anyone's standards this is very very impressive, but still we read how the lack of cover and depth in the squad will be the undoing of the teams chances. How the defence is not strong enough, how Jens Lehmann is a weak link.
Only this morning I read some rubbish by Brian Reade in The Mirror suggesting that had Arsenal got a better keeper then we would be in a better position to win the title. As far as I can remember Lehmann has not cost us any points in the League so far this season.
Reporters love to point to the facts, yet they can never report on them.
Watch the back pages for reports on "Club in Crisis" when the unbeaten run comes to an end and we lose a game. Story after story of "Told you so's". Bless them.
But the unbeaten run continues.
Beating Middlesbrough 4-1 this afternoon was a very important win in my opinion. Not just in respect of keeping in touch with Man Utd or continuing the unbeaten run. But because it was a big scoreline against a team we are going to have to play another three times before this month is up.
It was a sound win, and one that should put more than doubt in the minds of the Middlesbrough players ahead of their next visit to Highbury. By the time the teams have played the 4th game in this set of bizarre fixtures, they will be sick of the sight of each other. A close game today and it would have made the following three possibly even closer. That would have favoured Middlesbrough in my book. But after today, the hard work for the remaining three games could just have been done. They won't fancy having to play us again in a hurry. Sure it's a good chance for them to put the record straight very quickly, but when a team has been beaten as soundly as they were today, they won't want to come back in a hurry.
The Arsenal line up will change a few times over these games, but with every player fitting in so well at the moment and not effecting the balance or style of the game we play, it's not going to be a deciding factor.
Beating a team 4 times in a row within a month is a tall order, but Middlesbrough's whole season looks like it hangs on how they do in these games, and they have already been given one harsh lesson.
They won't want to have to get past us in both cups now.
And for now, we can turn to the Man Utd/Newcastle Leicester/Chelsea games tomorrow knowing we have done our part.
Chelsea's game is now a much win game for them. Failure to win that could just knock them out of the title race already. Of course there is a long way to go, but with no one slipping up at the moment, a 7 point gap will surly be too much for them to make up. I'm not sure even a draw would be a plus for them.
Man Utd I suspect will continue in their strong form and beat Newcastle. Bobby Robson's team only like to play one way and that is going forward. Where as some teams find this to be the best form of defence against Man Utd, Newcastle seem to come unstuck against them. Man Utd are playing to well at the moment and I can't see them losing this one.
So by the end of play tomorrow, we should know if this is a two horse race, or a three horse race.