The gravity of yesterday's result and performance has struck me this morning when reviewing the game on the TV. That was a bad performance, it was far worse than bad, it was absolutely catastrophic. Our squad is an absolute shambles and the season is underway, we have one point from three games. Injuries and suspensions left us short, but no squad should be so short that it has to throw in so many raw youngsters into such a huge fixture.
Our squad is incredibly weak, we have sold big players and several useful squad players, while others have gone out on loan because no one would buy them outright and pay their full wages. We have only eight defenders in the first team squad, one is useless and is being frozen out (Squillaci), one is forever injured (Gibbs), one was injured all of last season (Vermaelen), one is injury and error prone (Djourou), one is useless (Traore), one is an inexperienced kid with talent and heart (Jenkinson), one is Laurent Koscielny who is relatively inexperienced and the other is Bacary Sagna.
So in a huge football club with a wage bill in excess of 125 million pounds or so, we have a squad with only eight defenders, of which very very few are experienced pros without injury issues. Our midfield is not in quite as bad a state as our defence but it's not much better, only a couple of injuries and we are down to untried kids.
Yesterday was a disaster that has been waiting to happen for some time, it was no freak result, we are down to the bare bones and this should have been foreseen, preempted by the manager and board. Ultimately one man has to take responsibility for this mess and it is the manager who is that man.
The defending was what one would have expected from a back four that had never played together, a back four with no experience, a back four with very little togetherness and defensive organisation. Still, there was no good excuse for someone like Johan Djourou yesterday, some of his defending was terrible for such an experienced player, he failed to attack the ball for the first goal, he was frequently not tight enough to his man. Armand Traore should be able to defend better too, he was truly terrible given the number of top flight games he has played (over 40).
It was the lack of defensive cohesion and strategy that worries me most. You could bet your bottom dollar that if George Graham had time to work with that back four for a month, then they would play a damn sight better than they did yesterday. Arsenal's defending looks as if it receives very little attention on the training pitch and if this is genuinely the case, it is absolutely staggering because we have been throwing away points for years now, points that would not have been thrown away if we could do the basics better.
I am a massive Arsene Wenger fan but although it pains me to say it, Arsene is now at his last chance saloon and if he does not see this then he is truly doomed. We need an absolute minimum of four more signings, after the arrival of Park. Not only that but he must start taking defending far more seriously and he must seriously think about appointing an experienced defensive coach who can go about drilling our defense in the some basics, to prevent disaster like yesterday from happening again and again in the future. Arsene, it is now time to change or be changed.