Sunday, 14 December 2008

Thinking positively, where from here?

So another couple of points dropped, our title hopes are faint and the knives are out. It's easy to criticise where things are going wrong, the list gets longer by the week, but can anyone out there actually come out with any constructive suggestions as to where we should be heading next?

Firstly I think a few people in our side are most certainly good enough to stay where they are. There's no doubt that Johan Djourou has looked hugely impressive in his last few games, this is a really welcome turnaround for a player whose days looked numbered a few months ago. The next question is who should partner him, Gallas is still a good player but who knows what has really gone on behind the scenes, people in the know will be privy to information that would determine whether Gallas has a long term future at the club. If Gallas leaves then Toure has to be the man. Silvestre is a squad player at best.

The goalkeeper and full backs are up to the task in my opinion. Manuel Almunia has had a solid season despite some misguided criticism from certain quarters, I think these critics would do well to name a keeper who has performed better this season and who would be available to come to Arsenal, I don't think this keeper exists. Cesc Fabregas is a key man, there's no doubt we're not the same side without him pulling the strings, the question is how can we best construct a midfield around him?

Flamini is such a loss, Gilberto was a fading giant and could not have filled this role if kept on at the club, while Diarra was not the right partner for Cesc, he is not disciplined or defensive enough. Song has developed well, but not yet at the level to win titles, he's still raw and inconsistent from his inexperience. Denilson is a bright talent and has sparkled at times, however he is no wide man and does not complement Cesc's game if alongside him. Diaby is also not the answer, he's no defensive player, he best role appears a free role behind a striker. The answer is obvious, we need a clone of PV4, get the stem cells at the ready Arsene.

The injury to Theo was unfortunate to say the least, just as he was finding his form it came and with Nasri's intermittent injury woes we are left awfully short of width in the squad, poor Thomas Rosicky appears likely to never play again. The other options are generally gambles, Wilshere needs protecting but is looking an increasingly viable option, Vela has played at left midfield but prefers to roam in the centre, Ramsey again prefers the centre, Eboue is a decent right back and not a midfielder.

Given our squad's obvious weaknesses, we could do with someone to grind up and down the touch line in a Parlour like manner, someone who would get the work done, get the boot in and give us another type of midfield to call on. We have so many cute technical players in the midfield, but one can't help but feel that we need just a bit more size and bite in the squad to be able to deal with the varied challenges that the premiership provides.

With Eduardo due to return we look full of options up front. Adebayor is our focus and lynch pin, while the floodgates may soon open for RVP if he keeps up the work rate. Nic Bendtner has been a disappointment, lethargic and terribly inconsistent, his time is running out. Young Carlos Vela and Jay Simpson could have big futures and both have time on their side.

Realistically even if one assumes that we could sign any player in the premiership, then there are only a small handful of players who would improve our midfield. Possibly Carrick, Mikel and Barry are the players who could add some defensive steel in the centre, while there are very few right sided midfielders around who leap out as being of the highest calibre. So when Arsene talks of transfers, you can see where he is coming from, he is almost damned either way:

"If I say yes and I don't do it people will ask why I haven't done it. If I say no and we lose one game people will say I am crazy because I didn't want to buy. In England every problem is sorted out by buying a player when you lose a football game."

The next couple of games could be rather pivotal, at home to Liverpool and away to Villa, two wins could push up up higher, while two defeats could see us fall precariously. It remains clear that Arsene needs to spend in January, but only proving that the right players in terms of quality and experience are available, there's simply no point filling the squad with average dross, other premiership teams have shown how easy it is to waste millions on mediocrity.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wait, so now you're losing confidence in wenger's ability to capture a gem in the transfer market? Wenger and the Arsenal scouts scan the world for talent and yet they seem to believe we've got all the best talent already. Well, i'm not to sure about that either.

KG said...

we need a midfielder (DM/CM either will help) and out and out wingers - no such fancy "versatile" players in the wings please.

MFs -- yaya toure, alonso, scott parker [if fantasy football then xavi,iniesta]

wingers -- david silva, joaquin (valencia), ashley young.

Either get them or unearth gems like Sagna/Eduardo who wont take time to adjust to PL.

Ted said...

What a crazy weekend. All top 4 clubs drew. Our result away at Boro is not so terrible now.

There is a lot about PV4 that we do miss right now, but lets not forget that Wenger usually played a more defensive player behind him - Petit, Grimandi, Gilberto etc.

Song played a disciplined role on Saturday. I don't think he did a lot wrong.

If we want to look at why the centre of the park is looking weaker, then the buck stops with Cesc. He is still good for the "pass of the match", but his output over the other 85 mins is not as good as it was last year.

K man said...

I think that's fair - Cesc has not had a great season. Last year he was much better. However, I think there are 2 reasons for that 1) no Flamini; 2) he played at Euro 2008 and didn't have a proper break. Not really his fault.

Although the other draws keep us in the fight the truth is I don't see the team suddenly clicking and going on a 10 match unbeaten run which Chelsea and Man Poo are likely to do at some point.

What Wenger does in January will be interesting. I said at the start of the season that if we didn't win a trophy that Wenger would resign. I don't think we will win a trophy so January represents Wenger's last gambe to get it right. He's no gambler. I hope he stays and moulds this team into another title winning outfit but I'm not confident that he will.

1979gooner said...

I agree, Song has really added some solidity.

Cesc does need to get on his game, he hasn't been quite at the levels of last season, especially goalscoring wise.

Practically it would be hard to find a defensive midfielder better than Song who would be available in Jan.

1979gooner said...

Just to perfectly demonstrate my point, a certain blog written by a couple of geniuses who shall remain anonymous reckon we should buy-

Villa, Alonso, Chiellini and Green in the window!

What a joke for so many reasons, it's idiotic suggestions like this that show how those who love to criticise have no decent practical solutions.

Villa is lightweight and we have enough strikers.

Green is not as good as Manuel.

Chiellini- would Juve sell, I think not, same for Alonso even if we assume he'd fit in with our team.

Cloud cuckoo twattery.

Anonymous said...

'Song has really added some solidity.'

Cloud cuckoo twattery at its best.

Ted said...

I like Song. He needs at least 20 games with Fabregas before any real judgments could be made, but there is no doubt that Song makes us stronger in the middle of the park.

Right at this moment in time, our injured players are almost all wingers. We would look a whole lot better with Walcott, Nasri and Rosicky around.

Should Vela be thrown in? Maybe, maybe not. I am surprised that he did not figure at all against Boro, but then Vela did not play well against Porto or Burley.

The much maligned Bendnter did come on, and almost scored. He really is quite good as a super-sub.

RVP is another player who is not playing great at the moment. He has scored some goals, but he is supposed to be the link man with Cesc. He is not on his game at all.

Thank god for Djourou, Adebayor, Almunia and Sagna, who have had good seasons. Denilson and Song don't deserve half the grief they get.

The rest need to up their game.

Ted said...

p.s. I don't buy this "Cesc is playing bad because Flamini is not around".

A great player would look even better when playing with someone shite. Half the time its difficult to say which of Song / Denilson and Cesc is the "world class player".

A lot of what Cesc has done this season is based on reputation, not product on the pitch. Cesc is still the best passer we have, but lets not pretend that he is being dragged down by those around him.

Barcelona are not missing him either.

1979gooner said...

exactly Ted.

anonymous, if you're going to come here and make comment anonymously, then you should at least say something sensible.

Did you watch us beat Chelsea?

Song played that day and played very well, I'd say he added some solidity.

So if you have something to say then at least bring a decent argument, and if you think Song is so very uesless, who would you replace him with, come out with someone signifantly better who would be available in jan?

Anonymous said...

1979, I don't have the best scouting network in the world available to me at this very moment. However, as the credit crunch settles in, I would guess that there will be plenty of clubs in desperate need to balance the books. Arsenal are one of the few clubs in world football who WILL have money to spend in January.

If I was manager, I would enquire about Di Rossi, as he is a top player and Roma are in great debt. I would also enquire about the availability of Gattuso and Diarra before their injuries. I would ask Barca about Yaya, or offer Xavi top dollar to move in the summer at a knock down price.

I can pretty much guarantee you there are players of suitable calibre that would move if offered the chance and the money

Song isn't the answer, and talking him up like he is shows you are happy with mediocrity, or on a wind up.

1979gooner said...

I don't think what I'm doing is talking Song up, I'm just pointing out he's a fairly decent player who's had some good games recently.

I do accept we need some experience in this area, but Song i still a very useful squad player who can do a good job playing 15/20 games a year and maybe he'll continue developing.

As you say we aren't experts, and there may well be some top players available in Jan, fingers crossed, I'm just rather dismayed at the way some people just list names in an almost random fashion as if they would all improve our side.

Robert Green? FFS, it wasn't even a joke.

I'm not happy with mediocrity, I want Arsene to sign one or two top notch players if possible, however what I don't want him to do is sign a few overpaid players who add nothing to our squad just for the sake of it.

I don't thing Song is mediocre, he's a promising young player who isn't quite ready to take on the role he's just been given.

Anonymous said...

They've played well in the last 3 premier league games (7 pts, 4 on the road, win over chelsea).

I don't think tying against Boro on the road was such a terrible result, even though they need the points...

Things are on the up and up...

as far as transfers: this is what they NEED:

A friend or two for Cesc.

that will solve all the problems. its not as much the talent of Hleb or Flamini thats missing as much as the bond and friendship those guys had. It strenghtend the spine of the team and Cesc had some JOY, HAPPINESS.

some decent players that Cesc gets along with, some happiness, things will roll from there.

of course, its hard to figure out who your prospective buddy is going to be....

-rahul-

1979gooner said...

rahul,

agreed, the damage has been done with the awful displays at fulham and stoke,

the defense is looking more solid and we are performing better now, hopefully not famous last words,

interestingly with Song playing it would appear our results have been better, however this has also coincided with Djourou's return to the team....

Si said...

I dont like Song at all. I thought in the early stages of the season he might be the answer to our midfield problems, I was well off the mark.
He doesn't run and his tackles merely interupt opposition play instead of halting it. He puts his foot in, thinks the job's done and then watches as the cheeky opposition just bundle past him. Really, come on. I'm so bored of people going on about bollocks Song, he's had his chance and he is not good enough for this level.
I'm a big fan of Alonso, and I wished we had paid the amoney for him instead of offering LFC a piss pot. Alonso would fit in perfectly, he has to be the most unselfish player in the premier league. He nicks the ball from opposition waits for Roy of the Rovers to make a pacy run and then gives him the ball on a plate. Yaya is a good player too, he'd be great. Song IS NOT FUCKING GOOD ENOUGH.
Do you really think, 1979gooner, that Green is a lesser goalkeeper than Manuel? You're drunk mate. Manuel is a top fella who is much improved, but there is no way he is as good as Green. Although our defence is poor compared to seasons past, it is not as a big a joke as the Irons'. Green has a lot more work to do than most keepers and generally does him self and his club proud.
Green and Alonso would be great buys.