Thursday, 18 February 2010

Porto rage wearing off.....slowly

I was just thinking to myself, imagine in an ideal world if we had no injuries then the line up against Porto could be something like this:

Sagna Gallas Vermaelen Gibbs
Song Cesc Diaby
Bendtner RVP Arshavin
I couldn't see this side losing to last night's Porto side. Porto were there for the taking in my opinion, they looked vulnerable at the back for most of the game, just being able to throw on an orthodox striker for the last fifteen might have made a difference to the scoreline, but we didn't even have the resources for that on the bench. Ignoring the stupid goals we conceded it was far too easy for Porto to get behind us and threaten the goal, they almost got through to score twice in the first couple of minutes for example. Clichy was again worrying poor, so much joy came for Porto down our left, while Denilson's attempts to defend were poor at best.
Denilson. For me Denilson is at best a passenger, not only does he lack the knack to be in the right place at the right time, but he also cannot defend even when he is correctly positioned, his distribution was also weak last night. Diaby can be forgiven the odd slack pass as he does so much good work defensively and offensively, he can hold men off, he wins tackles with his strength and he can dribble when needs be.
Underperformers. Clichy has not looked solid for a long time now, the big worry for me about his form is that it is nothing to do with pace or fitness, it is his basic decision making and positioning. I just haven't see much improvement from Clichy and Denilson in the last couple of years, how much time should they be given? I would argue that they shouldn't get much more, they are hardly lowly paid kids are they. Fabianski has never convinced me he's got what it takes, I can't see him lasting at Arsenal, one error is bad luck, two can be very bad luck, when it becomes a trend maybe it's a sign that you're just not up to it. Another young Pole seems destined for greater things me thinks.
Squad depth or not. The lack of strength in depth at the back is obvious, we are relying on a 36 year old Sol Campbell at the moment who may I add did pretty well overall, without him we are down to Mikel Silvestre and then kids, this is not the sign of strong squad. Kyle Bartley must have a chance when he returns from his loan spell in Sheffield. The lack of depth in terms of defensive midfielders and strikers is a shambles. Song and Diaby are the only experienced players who can defend, meaning that when they get injured we are shafted and having to draft in the hapless Denilson and the youthful Eastmond, this situation should not have been allowed to develop. The same is true for our striker situation, we have only two strikers and one seems to be perpetually injured, Arsene's decision not to bring in a stop gap in the window must be seen as a blatant error.
Overall given our club's wage bill I think there are far too many mediocre players in our squad who provide very little in terms of useful playing output for not insignificant amounts of money. Injuries aside, there are some glaring weaknesses in our squad that have been obvious for ages yet have never been addressed. Wenger needs to wake up and smell the mustard, time is running out, patience must have its bounds.


blewlimbs said...

Your assessment of the situation is spot on 1979 and what this tells us is that we have a failed strategy at the club; and you can't fix a failed strategy with tactical new signings. Bottom line is that the AW vision for building top class performance purely on technical quality and youthful speed and agility is flawed. What Ferguson did in the 90's cannot be repeated in the new century even by AW; there is simply too much quality and strength in the opposition and too much £ available to tempt your best players away. Since the departure of David Dein AW has been given total control and frankly he is completely responsible for the failed strategy. He is a great manager and a shrewd judge and we have to hope that he recognises that a new strategy is required if we are to get back to the top; if not and if he is not replaced as a result then all gooners will see that the club has accepted that mediocrity is an acceptable price for financial prudence.

Rhinogooner said...

Why oh why is Silvestre starting ahead of Campbell???

Ridiculous and this type of decision is endemic of Mr. Wenger's refusal to make decisions based on reason instead of pride. He would rather play inept players to keep them happy or prove to everyone that he is right and they are a good player. And he does this at the risk of costing us points.

Really incomprehensible.

How many points do we have to drop and how many competitions do we have to drop out of because of poor tactics and insane line ups, before the other shoe drops?

That said, we should still win against Sunderland. But why make it more difficult???

1979gooner said...

hi blewlimbs,

I agree that the strategy has failed.

I think in moderation it would have succeeded, it's just AW hasn't balanced the youthful talanted inexperienced players with some older heads.

If we had two/three high quality players for the squad in the right positions, centre back, centre mid and maybe one striker then I reckon we could have challenged on all fronts.

The problem is that Arsene has become far too extreme in his philosophy, the fact that you need physical strength, a bullying element to one's play, a defensive steel that can be relied on to grind out results when not playing well, experience- this has been forgotten, i'm sure he realises this now though.

He just needs to admit to himself he's got it wrong, get rid of two or three of our weaker players and replace them with some quality.