By, Mark Finlay
Most Arsenal fans were disgusted with the lack of fight the team showed last weekend, and while a trip up to Staffordshire to play a physical side like Stoke is not the type of game that suits Arsenal the players could have shown a bit more fight in their desire to win at least.
In the end the Gunners succumbed to a 0-1 loss which if you read the newspapers was considered the end of Arsenal’s title ambitions with the bookies even deciding that Wenger’s team really do not have it in them by widening the odds to 20/1.
It may only be me, but then again there might be some other Gooners out there who agree with me when I say that some of the teams Wenger has selected would not have been the ones I would have gone with, and that is because my philosophy would be to send out the best possible XI I have for every match only replacing a member of the team if another player during training showed me that he deserved a place in the team or if someone should become injured.
To prove my point why did Wenger not start Oxlade-Chamberlin against Stoke? He has been great since coming back from injury as his two goals against Crystal Palace and his desire to win have shown, and yet the great thinker Wenger only brings him on at the end of the match.
Unlike the bookies I have certainly not written Arsenals league chances off yet, but feel a win against Everton on Saturday in the quarter final of the FA Cup is crucial not just for progression in the competition but for the Gunners to get back to their winning ways and regain the confidence they lost after being beaten by Bayern Munich.
My biggest worry however is that Wenger is again going to prioritize and try to rest players in the belief that Arsenal can come back from a two goal deficit when they meet Bayern Munich in the second-leg of their last-16 Champions League match on Tuesday night at the Allianz Arena.
Everton manager Roberto Martinez will have none of these worries when the Toffee’s travel to London, and with Romelu Lukaku once again fit and scoring he will fancy his chances of taking Everton to the semi-finals.
Many Arsenal fans have been vocal after the Stoke loss saying that the FA Cup represents Arsenals best chance of silverware this season, and surely Wenger must realize that the fans are desperate to win a trophy yet I still feel he will look at the Champions League match first rather than the FA Cup which is a mistake, because if they lose at home to Everton the confidence will be gone, and the pundits will all be talking about the wheels coming off the bus yet again.
How sweet would it be if Arsenal could beat Everton convincingly and then travel to Germany knowing they are capable of containing the Germans while scoring three goals, and while it might just be wishful thinking Wenger must realize it starts with Everton on Saturday not Bayern on Tuesday.