Monday, 17 November 2008

Living in denial?

There has been a lot of analysis of this season's efforts so far, some would say there are too many opinions on show and that there are too many knee jerk reactions to one off results, I therefore always try to be cautious with my words. The season is now about a third gone, so we now sit in a reasonable position from which to judge our manager and our team. The question for me is could anything have been done better to avoid the problems that we have encountered so far?

Arsene has spoken again following Villa game, firstly he responds to the suggestion that he should have brought in another experienced player in the summer:

"Not really, we had no player we really wanted and for now we have no regrets. You cannot explain the own goal of Gael Clichy by the fact we haven’t got an experienced player in midfield. I think we were not, as a team, sharp enough to dictate the pace and be dominant in the fight [against Aston Villa]."

It is true that the lack of an experienced player did not 'directly' result in Villa's goal, however I find it very hard to believe that our lack of experience has nothing to do with our lack of consistency. I am sure a lack of experience is part of it, however it is certainly not the whole story. Villa created several very good chances as our defence gaped like the Rift Valley, the defeat was no fluke.

I think Ted was getting rather warm with his recent piece that explained our love of playing the technical possession game, this tactic does not have much margin for error; if we are on our game we can beat anyone, however if we are off it then we can look very average indeed. I would argue that our playing style encourages inconsistency, this playing style is what our players know best though, we have a very small side of excellent technical ball players; we are therefore excellent when we are playing well with the ball at our feet, however when things don't go to plan we don't have many players who can win the ball back or get properly stuck into the opposition.

The lack of a shield for Cesc has been talked of, for example many people thought Alonso should have been recruited in the summer. I don't think this is a problem that can be blamed on not bringing in one player, although the loss of Flamini has certainly hit us hard; it appears to be more of a systemic problem, we don't have the right balance of players in our squad to be able to vary our approach, we are a one trick pony of sorts. Wenger has openly admitted the lack of consistency, however he must look harder for the rational explanation as it is there staring him in the face:
“You have to accept that the game is played by human beings and sometimes physically they have a drop. It is very difficult for us to have a rational explanation about what happened today. I believe that the team want it but it was just like a few other times this year where it is unexplainable why we don’t really play at our 100% potential.”
Our group of players are the best bunch of technical footballers in the land, we are the most pleasing on the eye by a mile when things click, however our unique brand of beautiful football is a high precision machine, and there is so little margin for error then when things slip a little, we cannot grind out a result and things fall apart. Michael Essien spoke of this and frankly I can see his point, to a degree.

This is not the only reason for our inconsistency, other factors (in my opinion) have included our lack of a rock solid centre back pairing, losing big Phil for Silvestre and some slightly dubious tactical decisions. Just to demonstrate my point, just think of the great Arsenal sides of Arsene's reign, there have always been some beasts in there, the likes of Vieira, Adams, Keown, Petit, Edu and Parlour would invariably have the bottle for a good old battle.

In my eyes you can only progress from openly and honestly looking at where you have gone wrong, learn from it and go about putting it right. Our current team does not have the correct balance, we have too many technical ball players and no one to win it back, we are also terribly small as a side and have no one who can dominate aerially in defense, as a consequence we can be terribly one dimensional and predictablein attack while the defence leaks goals. It's time Arsene faced up to this so when can address these problems asap.


Obsinho said...

1979 says that what we need to do is "openly and honestly look(ing) at where you have gone wrong, learn from it and go about putting it right"

And that's where I think we are stuck. For years others have laughed at us when Wenger said "I didn't see it", and we kind of laughed with him. Trouble is, what he can't see at the moment isn't a little foul here, or an offside there, but a horrible sense of losing all that he has fought for.

Someone, somewhere within the club must have the balls and the respect of Wenger to get him to open his eyes now.

Maybe now is the time for Gilles "God" Grimandi to find his place in history....

1979gooner said...

I see what you're saying Obs,

I'm not asking him to say that winning is all that matters and then start playing Mourinho style football whilst buying lots of defensive players,

I would never want Arsene to lose that belief he has in beautiful football and passing the ball,


I think he's got a bit carried away with his own beliefs,

we are far too towards the extreme, we have so few dominant physical players that we are struggling when the passing isn't just right,

Arsene's great sides had a great mix,

the hard thing is to find the players that have the strength and the technique to be able to play for Arsenal,

if it means paying top dollar for a couple of players then so be it,

I don't think the right players were around in the summer,

but should they become available then we should not baulk at a big fee for the new Ferdinand for example (without the c*nty attitude of course)

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Obsinho said...

That last comment must have been rally harsh.

I bet he bad-mouthed Alex Song or something. That would be pretty low.

Ted said...

i deny honesty is the best policy. it will only lead to negative thinking and depression.

buckets of blind faith and denial is the way forwards. and beer.

1979gooner said...

There has to be a hangover at some point though!

ps someone must be in love, strange that deleted comment

Anonymous said...

it would be nice to have Julio Baptista around.

Ted said...

The beast can come round and clean the house or wash the dishes whenever he fancies it. But he was rubbish at football.

Si said...

Fuck it, he can share the bunk bed with alonso around my gaff.