There's nothing better in sport than a good old bit of healthy competition. No matter what level you play the game at, it's always satisfying to take the field as one of the named XI knowing that it is your place to lose. If that moment comes when you happen to lose your place, you get a nice reality check and a spell on the sidelines. That cycle will repeat itself time after time.
I know high level football is different but the philosophy should remain the same. Play well and you should keep your place and often that does happen but play poorly and chances to prove your worth will be limited. That's where we come in. Time after time we reward poor and sometimes pathetic performances with game time. What sort of message is that sending out? Pay particular attention the next time you see the likes of Eboue, Denilson or Diaby get subbed. I can guarantee they won't look particularly bothered and they'll accept their inevitable fate. That is reflected in their performances, they never look to stamp their authority on the game. The lack of drive to retain their jersey has to be questioned.
Rewarding Poor Performance
Given all of that there's also inconsistency from Wenger. It is no secret that since Tomas Rosicky suffered an innocuous injury against Newcastle United in The FA Cup that since his return he hasn't merited a place in the side. Obviously he has played and even skippered on some ocassions but did Rosicky deserve to start over Arshavin in the Camp Nou? Did he deserve to start a Cup Final v Birmingham? Of course he didn't. I think this highlights the problems we have within our squad. I've said on a couple of occasions that prior to kicking off v Leeds this season, that I was very confident in the sides ability to do the job but they failed to live up to expectations. Players have wised up to the fact that poor performance doesn't mean being exiled from the squad. Emmanuel Eboue said just after Christmas
"I have this team in my heart, in fact it does not matter if I don't play. I still want us to win from the bottom of my heart".
Now I admire his love for Arsenal but most of what he said is what a fan brings to the club. Eboue as a professional footballer should want to play every minute but he is yet another example of being comfortable in his position at the club.
This brings me to the controversial figure of Nicklas. For a long time he waited in the wings and got on with his Carling Cup role before being introduced to the 1st team. NB52 is slaughtered for his effort and ability most weeks. I'm actually a big fan of his and I don't think his attitude is likely to change but if it does it will be away from The Emirates. NB knows at present he is our 2nd choice striker and he also knows that even if he scores in the next 3 games he won't start ahead of RVP. Is that competitive? No. Make players earn the position and Arsene is close to letting his blind faith in some of these players get the better of him.
We need to play our in form players and get players working against each other to earn their position. A classic example of this not happening was when Johan Djourou was inexplicably dropped for the NLD after to solid performances away to Wolves and Everton. Wenger must learn from these mistakes and get the squad players out of the comfort zone and fighting for first team action. We might disagree on this but Bendtner, Rosicky, Denilson, Diaby and Eboue all have ability, as they have demonstrated at some point in their Arsenal career but they desire is lacking an I think Wenger will opt for the easy route of off loading than rectifying.