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Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Where's the passion, lads?

Following on from my last post, where I primarily defended Mr Wenger, I'd like to share my thoughts on something that really irked me; the lack of passion displayed by our players. Personally, I do not feel that a manager should need to motivate his players at this level, and not to mention on these wages. So that refutes the argument that it's up to the manager to motivate his team. They should be fighting for not only Arsene and the fans, but also for the badge. Yet in recent weeks I have been staggered by the lack of fight from these players.

Against Milan, not once did I see a player go nuts after conceding. I couldn't help but notice Alex Song, after Milan's third if I remember correctly, casually turn around without any show of emotion, as if he was thinking, 'Oh well'. It was almost a resigned acceptance, and he was not the only one. Now I don't want to read too much into this and be overly critical, "naming names" as they say, but I felt it was necessary to comment on. For the supporters who travel week in week out to see their team, the minimum you would expect would be some passion, some emotion. Even if the performance is crap, just show you care.

Personally, I think William Gallas' sulk at Birmingham a few seasons ago, when it all went tits up, showed he cared. I respect that. However immature it seemed ostensibly, if you actually think about it, it highlights his hatred of losing. I don't feel I'm alone here by saying no more than half our current team hate to lose - akin to that of Vieira or Keane. Although his ability is embellished by 'Arry and the media to the max, this is what Scott Parker brings to Tottenham. His sheer will to win boosts everyone around him and inspires others to do the same. Wilshere is our only player I can think of who has similar traits, and at times this season, such as our second visit to Sunderland, a bit of backbone and fight could have made the difference for us. Having said that, I do feel the likes of Chesney, Sagna, Vermaelen and RVP (plus the on loan Frimpong) also fall into this category, and are all very competitive. However as the Milan and Sunderland results suggest, they sometimes go missing.

Due to illness, I haven't been able to do our recent away games (Sunderland x2 and Milan). Despite this, I hear from friends that not even half the team acknowledged the travelling fans at full time after the loss to Sunderland. This is as unacceptable as it was after the 8-2 at Old Trafford. I remember being told that Van Persie demanded Rosicky - who had walked straight down the tunnel at full time - to acknowledge the Arsenal fans, who despite watching a humiliation of their team, didn't stop singing for the whole of the second half. Our quite incredible support that day was the only positive to take from it, yet it obviously went unappreciated by certain players.

Finally, a brief mention of the Oxlade-Chamberlain incident against Sunderland. Directly after he scored his own goal, and at full time, not one of his team mates put their arm around the youngster, offering words of consolation. In fact, Kieran Richardson - the opposition left back - took up this role at full time. The lad was visibly distraught yet no-one took the responsibility of helping him.  What does this say about our team spirit? Our leadership? Where was his captain? It really does make you wonder.

It's great telling Sky Sports how good the team spirit is after a victory, but when we're going through a bad spell, I think this 'mental strength' and team togetherness sometimes goes missing, and the Chamberlain incident is a perfect example of this. A few of the players need to pull their fingers out, and have a long hard look at Rocastle's famous quote: 'Remember who you are, what you are, and who you represent.' 

Thanks for reading, and remember to follow me on Twitter @rlewisafc.

Till next time, Reuben.

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