There has been a fair amount of criticism of the team's performance against Manu and quite rightly so in my opinion, it simply wasn't good enough, especially defensively. I think most Gooners aren't bad at taking defeat on the chin, it was the manner of this defeat that hit home so hard. Ted talked of the fight we had when the likes of Nutty played, saliently Nutty has been commenting on the defending that took place at the weekend (or lack of it).
Obviously despite what one may feel about certain Arsenal issues, we should all get behind the lads, it goes without saying. However this most certainly doesn't mean that we can't say what we think is going wrong and how it should be fixed. Arsene has always been a very patient man and his patience has paid off in the past when persevering with certain players. He has some big decisions to make in the next year or so and one wonders whether all of the current crop will escape unscathed. Gunnerblog talks about Theo Walcott's situation, for me if he stays fit then he has to start delivering in the next couple of years. There are quite a few players in the squad who need to step it up, for example Denilson, Clichy, Almunia, Rosicky and Nasri have got to start performing consistently if they are to justify their wage packets. One wonders just how many seasons without success the squad can go before some of the dead wood is released.
A lot of the criticism of Arsene is way over the top, as it often is, and the calls for him to step down are simply ludicrous. However this frustration from fans is not all without cause, to just blindly carry on and ignore the problems we have is not wise either. The fact that the club has been built on a much more solid financial base than many others is something we should be very grateful in the current financial climate. The revolution in our young player development under Arsene has been simply fantastic, Wellington looks to be another potential star from the production line. The fact that we have lacked a bit of experience in the squad has been undeniable in the last few years and I bet if Arsene could go back in time he would do things a little bit differently in the transfer market in this regard, the retrospectoscope is a wonderful thing.
Overall Arsenal Football Club is heading in the right direction and for that I am glad, I can see recent setbacks in this perspective, I hope I am no reactionary lunatic. However I still reserve the right to point out where I think the club is going wrong, that's only healthy criticism in my eyes. If we were miles off then I wouldn't be so frustrated, but as supporters of one of the biggest clubs around I think we have the right to question some things that have gone on of late. We have one of the biggest turnovers, one of the biggest wage bills in the land, but are the players in our squad really delivering in this context?
Possibly our young players are paid a bit too much before they have actually succeeded, maybe this is partly down to a systematic problem whereby young talent is financially rewarded far too early. Maybe Arsene has got a bit carried away with his fantasy of beautiful football, he has lost sight of the real world in which it is not just pretty passing football than wins points. Whatever happens, Arsene is no fool and I am sure he is also very much aware of the same problems that we are, we are lucky to have such a wise man at the helm. Next up Chelsea at the Bridge, what a chance to answer one's critics.