Thursday, 28 January 2010

A point gained but inability to strengthen will cost us

A point at Villa park is nothing to be sniffed at, just can't help but think how sweet three points would have been, then again what's the point in wondering about all the ifs and buts, reality must be dealt with. It certainly leaves a lot of pressure on the home game against the mancs this weekend. It was an interesting game last night, slightly contrasting styles and some decent football, a mixture of poor finishing and some excellent defending meant that the deadlock was never broken.

It could all have been very different had Manuel Almunia not got down extremely well to a very firm Agoblahor shot in the first few minutes, he tipped it wide and this was a top notch bit of goalkeeping. Friedel was forced into a slightly less tricky save when Denilson cracked in a decent left footed effort from the edge of the box. The game was fairly rapid from one end to the other, Villa preferring to play on the counter than investing too many bodies forward at any one time. Thomas Vermaelen, in landing seemingly innocuously having jumped for a header, then hobbled off injured. Hopefully it's nothing too serious, he did try to play on for a few minutes on it which must be a good sign, fingers crossed. Defensively we coped reasonably well with everything that Villa threw at us, Gallas was particularly good, Almunia too, Young did catch Clichy out a few times.

The best chance of the game came when Cesc drifted past a couple of defenders towards the end of the first half, he shot low and hard against the base of Freidel's right hand post, Rosicky looked set to fire it home on the rebound, alas Ramsey got in his way. Dunne saved Villa with a vital last ditch clearance at the feet of Villa, Downing then headed wide with what was probably Villa's best opening of the game, Arshavin nipped clean through to be blocked by Friedel, Rosicky was terribly unlucky to see his effort crack back off the underside of the bar.

Overall we were a tad unlucky to only get the point, Villa never really opened us up, they put in some dangerous crosses which we defended well, but we looked the far more likely to score. The game was slightly cagey, Villa were never going to leave themselves open by playing like the traditional home side, on another day Rosicky's effort would have bounced the other side of the goal line or Ramsey would have moved out the way to allow Rosicky to side foot home. The spat between Wenger and O'Neill was nothing but a bit of media spin, in reality Arsene said nothing offensive, he just stated some pretty basic stuff that appears to have been twisted before being played back to O'Neill by some disingenuous hack

I am a great fan of Arsene Wenger, so what I say now must be seen in context, I really do fear if we do not strengthen by the end of the window then we will be jeopardising our chances of success this season. If Vermaelen is out for a few weeks then there is no doubt that we need another centre back on board, it is not good enough to have only Gallas, Campbell and Silvestre for the next couple of months, it's a simple as that in my eyes. The apparent collapse of the Smalling deal is a blow because he appears the exact kind of player we need to have floating around in reserve. We have both the Champions league and Premier League to fight for, we need more depth in the squad, it's getting beyond a joke. Even if Eduardo was not injured I would say we need another striker for the rest of the season, three strikers is a minimum number for me, so with Eduardo injured for who knows how long, Bendtner just back from a long lay off, it is absurd to not be lining up someone to fill this short term gap for a few months.

It really would be such a crying shame if were to leave such gaps in our squad before such an important run in. Buying in a couple of experienced pros in these positions would guarantee nothing, we may well end up with nothing even with them, but if we do not it will be so frustrating to be thinking 'what if we had strengthened' those blatant deficiencies in our squad. I agree with Arseblogger when he talks of the nonsensical arguments of stifling the development of the Velas and Walcotts of this world. All I am asking for is a couple of short term signings that will plug the gaps until the end of the season when RVP will be fit and when we can bring in another young centre back who can be groomed for a the future.

ps Great news that Thomas Vermaelen has no break and will be back fairly soon, also good news that Eduardo is only out for a few days with his hammy. Eboue and Song are also back in training and will surely be available for selection at the weekend.


Rhinogooner said...

I have much to say about our squad, individual players, performances, formations and tactics, the coaching staff, transfers (or lack thereof), and our incessant injury problems.

I will, however, reserve my thoughts until after we have negotiated this stern gauntlet of important matches.

I'm sure you will all find the waiting to be torturous ;-)

GlancingHeader said...

I thought Petrov, Milner, and Barry did very well in stifling Arsenal's midfield. We couldn't build any rhythm but it is not a bad start to this crunch stretch of fixtures. We'll be at home against MU so I am confident the boys will get a good result.

Ted said...

I agree. 3 points on sunday and its all looking good. 1 is not great and 0 we will be back down to earth with a bang.

Ted said...

P.s. if i had £10m burning a hole in my bank account, I would look at signing Benjani or Scott Parker before the deadline.

Actually, Fabrice Muamba has done quite well as well?

Rhinogooner said...

Yeah, I like those options Ted. I thought Belhajd of Pompey has been impressive as well and Reo-Coker is another that is available that can fill in as a full back or DM.

Nigel De Jong has impressed me as well. I don't think we could pry him away from Citeh though.

Always felt Muamba did not get a fair shake. He looked to have good potential as a midfield destroyer type.

Certainly would be a better option than Denilson, and yet look at all the opportunities he has been given without ever having justified it with the sum of his performances.

There are a few Arsenal players I feel that way about - ones that looked to have potential yet didn't receive nearly as many chances as some others who I never rated. Mr. Wenger certainly has his favourites.

I fear Jay Simpson may be the next to fall into that category....

Ted said...

Rhino- your loyalty to mr simpson is admirable, but I fear misplaced. That said, AW's nose for strikers is quite poor and walcott and vela get no great points in my book.

Tricky one.

Rhinogooner said...

I just want to see what Jay Simpson can do if given a fair run in the Arsenal team. He's knocked them in regularly while on loan last season and this season.

He's one that I feel will become a good player one day. I fear it will be with a club other than Arsenal though. He is probably better suited to 4-4-2 anyway. But then again, so are our current fit players....