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‘Arsenal’s players have failed to repay Arsene Wenger’s faith’

PUBLISHED: 10:18 07 April 2011

Nigel Winterburn

Nigel Winterburn

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I KNOW Arsene Wenger was hugely disappointed with the performance against Blackburn and I am not surprised – after the first five minutes Arsenal were just so flat and it really was hard to fathom from the outside.

This was another vital game, and it just seems that at the business end of the season when the trophies are handed out, they just can’t perform as they need to.

It is frustrating for everybody connected with the club, and especially for Arsene himself. He has invested a lot of belief in this group of players and has backed them to the hilt for the last two seasons when everybody has been clamouring for him to buy big-name players.

At times their football over the past two seasons has been superb – and we need to remember that they are second and not second from bottom – but once again it seems those players just haven’t delivered for him.

I just wonder if he is now asking the same questions of the players that everybody else is. They didn’t look like a side who believed they could score on Saturday, and that is very worrying.

Of course they have not become a bad side overnight, but for the last six weeks they have been very, very average and really need to somehow find a way to win a game to get some confidence back.

Unfortunately, Manchester United showed on Saturday just why they have won so many trophies and are almost the exact opposite of Arsenal at this stage of the season.

This is a very workmanlike United team, nowhere near as good as some of Sir Alex Ferguson’s other sides, but they have that inner belief that they can win games whatever the situation. It is the all-important missing ingredient for Arsenal.

Is the title wrapped up for United now? I think it probably is – while they could drop points as they are involved in three competitions, you just can’t see Arsenal or even Chelsea now going on a run and winning all their games to the end of May.

One thing is for sure, if Arsenal don’t win at Blackpool on Sunday then it is all over. That is a game Arsenal simply have to take three points from.

For a side who haven’t won for so long, no game is easy, but I have a feeling Arsenal will win this one.

Blackpool are a very open side and just don’t have the defensive game to keep Arsenal out, although they will certainly test Manuel Almunia & co out at the other end.

But with Cesc Fabregas presumably back to full fitness and ready to start, this should be a win for Arsenal to end a quite miserable run. It won’t be enough to save the season, but it would be a start.


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