So we've all had time to chew the cud a bit following Sunday's defeat, it still hurts, not quite as much as it did thankfully, but my thoughts have become a little clearer. It's obvious we missed Theo and Cesc, without the former we lack that top notch pace to really scare teams, Cesc's importance cannot be understated. The problem has been obvious for some months now though, and for me it is that beyond our first eleven some of the highly paid internationals who sit on the bench have not been performing as well as we have needed them to.
I don't want to single out individuals, but Rosicky didn't carry much water on Sunday, he also didn't do a massive amount of cutting Birmingham apart, has he really offered enough for a highly paid and experienced international? Denilson has been so average this season that many of us were glad not to see him start, that says a lot, Diaby has been erratic and seems to have been given so many chances. Arshavin has had a poor season overall as well. Overall a lot of our highly paid midfield squad players have not been cutting the mustard on a regular basis and this should no longer be ignored in my opinion. Players returning from injury such as Ramsey/Frimpong and youngsters like Lansbury deserve some games in the next few months.
Strangely we lost the second half and drew the first on Sunday, we were perversely far better in the second than the first. Koscielny's error was bad, I know, but he's been solid of late, Szczesny has also been solid recently, they both deserve our patience. The first half was just not good enough, Birmingham outnumbered and outfought us in the midfield, this has happened in big games before when Arsene has not anticipated the predictable way in which opposition bosses try to crowd us in the midfield. The easy way to play against this is to fight them in the midfield and kill them with pace on the counter attack, this is what the great double winning Arsenal sides and the Invincibles did. We seem less able to do this than in previous years.
The concern about RVP's injury is that without his energetic aggression up front, we can look very one dimensional, especially without Theo at the same time, Bendtner and Chamakh can both lead the line but neither will genuinely scare defences with their pace or movement. RVP is out for a minimum of 3 weeks, it is probably a medial collateral ligament injury. This all means that Theo and RVP will not face Barca in the Nou Camp, a big blow in all honesty.
The fixtures are piling up as the injuries do the same, Koscielny's hamstring niggle will see him rested tomorrow, so it's likely we'll see Squillaci, Miguel, Gibbs and Eboue drafted in. Maybe he'll bring in Denilson +/- Diaby (?fit yet), I just don't know. If we manage to make it through then it sees another fixture added to the already busy calendar, that being Old Trafford. To me our squad just doesn't quite seem to have the depth in certain areas, I hope I'm wrong. It's a massive couple of weeks coming up, we need to pull together and get behind the lads.