Thursday 29 January 2009

No-one said it was easy

In the cold light of day, what do you do when you know your team is not good enough? As a fan the options seem to be to either rage furiously against everything about the club you love, or to plead patience and claim there is more to being a Gooner than trophies.

As a player, you either let your morale drop and don’t show the fight that is needed, or you up your game and fight for everything until the very last minute.

And as a manager you either bury your head in the sand and stick to your masterplan, or you admit mistakes and make changes.

For the fans, the performance last night seems to have caused more and more to take the first option. For varying reasons Gooners have come to expect a better set of players on the pitch, and have grown accustomed to the fact that better players has brought success. It is hard to persuade them otherwise, as it is undeniable that Arsenal means a lot to them.

The players seem to be polarising as well. Van Persie is fighting for all he is worth (a cynic may say this is to do with a new contract he is playing for). Song/Denilson (for all there failings) continually stand up to be counted. Then Adebayor/Diaby and many others just seem to not care. I know that others will disagree, but it is the consistent poor level of performance from players that concerns and maddens me most.

And Wenger has made his position clear. He will not change anything about his team. We arguably have some solutions within our squad (Vela and Wilshere for the wide positions – how much more screaming do fans need for these to do be put in ahead of Eboue in a position he clearly hates playing in). But Wenger won’t use them. There ARE options in the transfer market. Wenger chose not to make the move in the Summer when the options were more plentiful and cheaper, so he has to live with the fact that he has made his bed. But he is refusing to lie in it. If Bolton can talk to Veloso for £12m is it not worth us at least trying this?

I am not saying that transfers will guarantee us anything. But it at least shows a realisation within the club that the status quo is not good enough.

Some stats I have been peddling on the comments board show that we have cut our seasonal net spend from £4.9m in the 12 seasons to 2004 to £0.5m since then. To me this is a symptom of a commercial decision within the club not to spend money. This is at odds with the continual PR releases from Hill-Wood and the rest that we have money to spend. SO either they are lying, or Wenger has made this decision himself. I hope that it is not the latter, as I have too much respect for Wenger. And if it is the former, then I do question the ability of the current board to run Arsenal.

The other solution, is that perhaps we are simply the only club in England to believe that the recession will have an impact and are cash-hoarding for the future to create a position of strength. Sky’s 31% increase in profit probably guarantees at least one more batch of sky-high TV money for clubs. Funding issues are becoming more and more public for Liverpool, and to some extent Chelsea, and there is a possibility a club in the premiership will go bust.

Until they do, the Arsenal plan of frugality will simply appear overly cautious, and it is a sad situation if we simply have to sit and hope another club goes bust to justify our current frustration.

Not sure this makes any coherent argument, but there you go. Ultimately large mistakes have been made in the Summer, and so far again in January. These decisions have not yet justified themselves, and are unlikely to this season. Will anyone have the courage to accept they were wrong, and how much will Arsenal suffer before that happens?

Answers on a postcard. Or the comment section would be cheaper – that’s certainly the Arsenal way………….


1979gooner said...

Personally I think a lot is nothing to do with money or transfers.

When all our players go out and play properly with motivation and fight we can beat anyone, as evidence by the chelsea and manu results.

The problem this year has been underperformance, I believe the ability of our players is significantly greater than the results we achieved earlier this season, our current form is actually much better than this.

The damage has been done with the sloppy defeats to the likes of stoke, fulham etc.

The problem is many of these games seems to have been motivation and tempo, now why this happened is probably a very complex phenomenon.

There is certainly some disharmony at the club, what on earth went on under Gallas' captaincy is anyone's guess but the damage may take a long time to recover from.

Certain players do not appear putting in the work that they used to, one example is Adebayor, he used to run around and defend for ninety minutes from the front, he now lazily ambles around only when he can be bothered.

Manu have shown that having eleven men fighting for the team and defending from the front is essential to win the premiership, even one striker not pulling their weight can drag a team down.

In reality as supporters we do not know enough of the inside goings on of the changing room to know what the exact problems and anwers are, however it does appear that thing are on the up, I have not seen as perform like we did against stoke and fulham for some time now.

Anonymous said...

Hii ,

As an Arsenal fan I would like to make certain valid points :-

_Why is wenger giving more prefrence to Gallas instead of Toure _ King Kolo is our last of " the invencibles " and anyday better than Gallas !

_ Even Johan Djourou plays better
with Toure !

_ Players like Song , Diaby , Denilson etc are just average players , so why is wenger so rigid in rotating them and playing players like Vela , Ramsey , Jack etc .

_ Why did he only go after Ashrvin
.... we need CDM . We already have many players like him . He is not worth it.

_ Why didnt he go after players lile Benzama , Arteta , Xabi Alonso , Senna etc .

_ We have still not filled the gaps left by Flamini , Helb , Gilberto etc ...Specially flamini , he use to do all the dirty work of the mid field , thats y he was so affective .

_ RVP is on fire...i hope Wenger
extends his contract .

_ Last but not the least....Adebyour missing too many chances....if he wants to leave this summer i think Wenger should let him go...same with Gallas .

Anonymous said...

I hope Wenger be a man about this season and say i got it wrong,the players i thought and believed could do the job have been found lacking.ok,he got it wrong but the club has to keep the fans informed as stated in post,have we got money as pr keep telling us and it's down to Arsene who we buy or we haven't and the other senario is are there doing a scrooge?
We not asking for Arsene to do a liverpool or a chelski and buy a whole team and prevent youth developement but get a couple of players WHO have been a title race.This would help the youngsters more ,as Bergkampf done,and give them confidence when playing as we not got a leader out there at the moment our so called experience men i.e Gallas,toure etc are not doing this and the rumours of disharmony in the dressing room doesn't help.Another question crops up is why are certain players played out of position,Nasri when put in the center creates chances and has that cutting pass needed to unlock defences as he played center m/f in france while Eboue is a defender NOT a m/f player and this has turned Eboue into a figure of hate at no fault of his own,so is Arsene being stubborn about Eboue to prove a point or do we REALLY lack players of calibre?
Yes,we got injuries which has hit us but is Arsene waiting for them to return instead of splashing the cash who knows as at the present we struggle to keep 4th.

CFitz said...

1979gooner: You are exactly correct. The players we have are just as talented as those at any other club, but there seem to be some motivational, chemistry, and team mentality issues affecting the way we play. As a fan I would agree that it is impossible to know exactly what is going on behind the scenes and how to fix the problem.

For the Anonymous posters: Buying is not really the answer to our problems (and if we are going to buy we need a creative midfielder, not a CDM--Song and Denilson are doing fine there). First, buying another talented player and putting him into a disfunctional environment will not improve our situation. Secondly, Liverpool spent 20M on a player who has produced very little (Keane). We spent quite a bit on Reyes, Jeffers, etc. but received very little return on those players. I guess my point is that buying more (expensive) players isn't always the answer to solve a team-related problem or a guarantee of success (just look at Spurs).

We're on a good unbeaten run right now so we should get behind the team. Unfortunately, we dropped some bad points early in the season, but getting a draw at Goodison is not a bad result. I still have faith in this team.

Obsinho said...

But can this team do the things that we thought were imminent back in August 2008? That for me is the pertinent question.

We do have talent in the squad. But some of the talent is not performing. If we want to give oursleves of challengin next season, then things will need to change.

We don't know what or how, as we know honestly very little about the actual running of a football club, and even less about how transfers actually happen or about how players' ability develops with time.

In my mind until the dust has settled and Wenger says "I made errors in the summer and the squad was too small and undue pressure was put on young players", I am not sure I will have total faith that things will change for the better.