By Dennis K’Onyango
I know this will sound ridiculous and far fetched for most folks but I believe Arsenal contributed to England’s loss to Croatia last night.
Yes I know there was no Arsenal player on the pitch. I also know that Danny Welbeck was in the squad though he wasn’t either in the first eleven or even on the substitute’s bench. I can now conclude that including Danny Welbeck in the roster of England players to the world cup was an effort to assuage the egos of Arsenal’s long suffering fans. But I digress.
Arsenal has long been known to admire the tiki taka philosophy if you can call it that. Never mind that they don’t actually play the little triangles. If you can say without equivocation that Barca plays tiki taka, it is safe to say that Arsenal aspires to play tiki taka.
Now if Arsenal had any active player in the England squad, we would imagine that they would understand how to most effectively mark Ivan Rakitic or even Luca Modric for that matter. Remember that Luca Modric played for Arsenal’s neighbours at the North, Tottenham hotspurs before defecting to the Bernabeu.
So in essence, my argument is that Arsenal could have probably brought a new dimension to the England game to check the influence of Luca Modric and Ivan Rakitic in the midfield and the wide areas. I am assuming that Arsenal understands tiki taka that Ivan Rakitic and Luca Modric are accustomed to, better than any other team in the EPL.
Second, and I want to be objective about this. Arsenal finished sixth on the log last season and basically finished that season without any other notable silverware or individual honours for any of its players. Essentially therefore, it is safe to say that Arsenal is a weak team. A weak team is made up of weak players.
The foregoing notwithstanding, a squad that had Maguire of Lecicester City should have had at least one playing, not bench warming Arsenal player in their ranks, even if he was a weak one. Why didn’t Jack Wilshere make it to the squad for example? was he injured? I wouldn’t know anyway.
My argument is that when a weak player is in your ranks, the rest of the ten players raise up their efforts to compensate for his weakness. In the final analysis, the eleven players by working harder than usual to compensate for the weak player will give the output of twelve or twelve and half players. So by default, a weak player makes the team stronger!
I reckon that playing a weak player like say, Jack Wilshere would have made team England stronger against Croatia. That is how Arsenal let down England badly by failing to contribute to the England squad!!