Printer Friendly

MORE EDGE AT QUEEN'S CLUB.

Byline: Andy Dunn BRITAIN'S BEST COLUMNIST FROM THE EMIRATES

THIS pretty much makes it official. Puts it in capital letters and underlines it. Arsenal are a soft touch.

The team and the club have become a soft touch.

A soft touch in the transfer market, a soft touch on the field.

And when Sir Alex Ferguson can sweet-talk into the phone and persuade the manager to sell Robin van Persie to him, then Arsene Wenger has become a soft touch as well.

A soft touch without a trophy for eight seasons.

Unless, of course, Bayern prove to be made of less stern stuff than Blackburn and Arsenal go on to win the Champions League.

The odds on that are way longer than the 12-1 you could have taken against Blackburn yesterday.

And do not let this pitiful Arsenal effort detract from Rovers' performance.

It looks like a fine club, that teetered on the brink of total disarray for so long, has finally chanced upon a manager of serious substance.

The Blackburn players performed the way their manager looks. Steely, fiercely determined and tough.

They could go further in this competition but, more importantly, they have the organisation and discipline of a team that look capable of ending the Championship season in style. The only issue is that, on their league travels, they will find far more demanding, far more uncomfortable tasks than this one.

Has there ever been a more civilised place to play and watch football than the Emirates? You even expected the token calls for 'Wenger Out' to be followed by a please.

Business class leg room in the stands, bowling green surface down below. Pleasant.

And that's the thing about the Emirates - sometimes, there's more of an edge going to the tennis at Queen's Club.

Presumably, there will be a more boisterous atmosphere when Bayern rock up on Tuesday, but you wouldn't bank on intimidation.

This is a club that doesn't do intimidation, doesn't do devilment. It's way too comfortable.

The energy and the drive has to be generated by the players and what this occasion proved was that too many players are lacking those qualities.

There is some depth of talent in this squad but no depth of character.

In fact, a shocking absence of character. Too many players passing the buck, too many waiting for someone else to take a risk, too many waiting for someone else to drive the team forward.

But they cannot wait for Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott in every match.

Sure, those two had just come on when Colin Kazim-Richards scored, but at least they had a directness and passion that had been startlingly absent from the start.

This is not a sacking result - not yet. But it becomes one if the firstchoice team is humiliated by Bayern.

If that happens, Wenger will need to take a very long look at his position... because it would be a crying shame if such a fine manager and his team became known only for being a soft touch.

They cannot wait for Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott in every match

CAPTION(S):

STRUGGLING: Arsene Wenger can't inspire his Arsenal
COPYRIGHT 2013 MGN LTD
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2013 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUGE
Date:Feb 17, 2013
Words:527
Previous Article:CRACKLE AND FLOP.
Next Article:A SHOCKER FOR CESAR.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2019 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters