EPL 2007-2008: Wigan 0 – Arsenal 0

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Football
March 10th, 2008 • 2:01 pm

With the looming climate change crisis, there are plenty of reasons in today’s world for striving to get one’s own dwellings “off the grid.” Here in Nova Scotia, Canada, you can add the fact that, even though we live in a so-called “developed” country with plenty of natural resources, we actually have to deal with a power utility monopoly called Nova Scotia Power that provides third-world-quality services.

Even though they were privatized a long time ago, they still have the monopoly on supplying power to most homes in the province. And of course, with their shareholders’ interests firmly at the top of their list of priorities, they are doing as little as possible to actually serve their customers, who are a captive clientele and do not have the option to switch to the competition if they are not satisfied.

This means that, even though we are, as a maritime province, obviously exposed to the elements, especially in the winter, with lots of wind, snow, ice, etc., there has been absolutely zero effort to try and move some of the wires underground. Indeed, when I first arrived in this province, the one thing that struck me was the number of wires in the air. It ruins the scenery, and it vastly increases the vulnerability of the entire network, and yet no one seems to be pushing for the obvious solution, which would be to bury at least some of these cables.

Sure, it would be an expensive undertaking, but, you know, sometimes you have to invest in order to improve services. And clearly a power utility whose network of electrical wires is so bad that it is even vulnerable to things such as “salty fog” is not putting a lot of effort into serving its customers.

All this is to say that, thanks to Nova Scotia Power, I missed most of the game yesterday. It wasn’t “salty fog” this time. It wasn’t even snow or ice either. While most of the eastern half of North America was enduring blizzard-like conditions, we just had heavy rain and lots of wind. But obviously that was enough to cause an extended power outage that started late at night on Saturday and was not over until 2:30 pm local time on Sunday.

Since we had to change our clocks for daylight savings during that same night and England did not change, this means that we were actually able to catch the last 20 minutes or so. (Otherwise, we would have missed it completely.) And, er, oh yes: It was also supposed to be our first Arsenal game in high definition here in Canada. Well, it was—for those who had power.

Anyway, from what I saw and from what I read about the game online, it was nothing to write home about. The greatest benefit of HD was that you could really see how atrocious the pitch was. And it is quite clear that Wenger make little effort to get his players to train on such surfaces in anticipation of such ugly conditions.

This, combined to the utter lack of depth of the squad, which forced Wenger to first play Fábregas as a winger, and then introduce Kolo Touré as a makeshift winger near the end of the game, means that the ultimate result of the game had an element of inevitability about it.

Mind you, it is probably the kind of game that we would have lost 1-0 last year. But the question remains whether a draw is a much better result. It is ultimately, yet another 2 points dropped, and this now represents 6 points dropped in three games. Not championship form by any stretch of the imagination.

We are now only at the top of the league because we have played one more game, and there is little doubt that Manchester United will collect maximum points in their next two games. So in a way the pendulum has swung yet again—although the title is not “out of our hands.” Simply put: If we win all the remaining league games, we’ll be champions. But that includes a trip to Old Trafford and a trip to Stamford Bridge and the visit of Liverpool at the Emirates. Not the easiest of schedules—but there is hope that Manchester United and Chelsea too will drop points between now and the end of the season.

Still, to think that we recently had a pretty comfortable lead and could actually have afforded not to get good results on those trips… Instead, we’re right back in the thick of it, I am afraid, and the squad is still woefully short. The return of van Persie is welcome news, of course, but there’s little doubt that he’ll need some time to rediscover his form after such a long absence.

The game at the San Siro proved that this is a team that can compete with the best, but the unfortunate reality is that, at this time, the team is not capable of maintaining this form consistently in all competitions. In my view, it is down to the lack of depth of the squad. I know what Wenger says. I know he “believes in this team” and has good reasons for this. But still, if you actually want to go all the way and win trophies, you need a bit more depth—although clearly, as the Barnsley saga demonstrates, deep pockets are not enough. But Wenger is a great coach, and I don’t see why he can both maintain his philosophy and build a stronger, bigger squad with a better mix of experience and youth.

Everything is still possible, but surely we should never have reached a stage where we had to introduce Kolo Touré as a midfielder in order to try and turn a draw into a win! Needless to say, it didn’t work…

Comments are closed.

Leave a Reply

Comments are closed.