So the week draws to a close and our season's hopes hang by a relatively flimsy thread, we have preciously little chance of catching Chavski, the FA Cup is gone, all that is left is Tuesday's second lag against the mancs. Football can be a fickle old world, when things are rolling along nicely you can only see good in your boys, when things fall apart you cannot see where the next point is coming from. The Old Trafford performance certainly didn't fill me with optimism, certainly our tactical setup was dodgy to say the least, but I think we saw that some players need to be shipped out or sort their lives out pretty sharpish.
Our great Wenger sides have been full of dominant beasts who would have strolled into any Premiership side, the likes of Vieira, Petit, Pires, Henry, Bergkamp, Overmars, Lauren were the best in their positions in their prime. I just wonder how many players we have now who fall into the same category as these legends. Toure has had a very mixed season, but his recent form has been improved, Sagna and Clichy have not been the marauding power houses that they were last year, Adebayor has been a peripheral figure on too frequent a basis. We have many improving young players who have done well such as Song, Gibbs, Denilson, Nasri, Bendtner, Walcott but these guys need more time. Fabregas is still a young man and needs to be played in his favourite position to be as effective as possible.
Over the season I would say that Manuel Almunia is our only player that would make a Premierhsip XI, Arshavin and Cesc have simply not played the games, RVP is the only other player who would come close. Realistically we just don't have enough to have challenged for the title, obviously injuries have not helped, but even with this considered I just don't think we've got quite enough experience and quality in our squad. I used to look at our title rivals in seasons gone by and it was hard to name many players who were good enough for our side, now this is blatantly not the case. The likes of Vidic, Ferdinand, Ronaldo, Terry, Alex, Carvalho, Carragher, Mascherano, Torres, Rooney, Carrick, Cole, Gerrard would walk into our side on current form, I didn't have to think long to come with these few names. Maybe it's a sign that the Premiership has got a lot stronger, I don't think this is the full story though, we seem to have become weaker.
Manuel Almunia has admitted that we froze at Old Trafford on Wednesday, it's hard to deny this fact. Our tactics were poor, but you get the feeling that several of the players knew they were not up to the task in hand. We looked physically weak in comparison to the United side, we also didn't have much in the way of an attacking threat other than Theo's pace on the right. I am sure we'll see a very different Arsenal side against Pompey, Djourou should start for the injured Silvestre, while Arshavin will return, maybe one or two youngsters will also get a run out. It's a pretty meaningless game really, avoiding injuries will be the main priority.
Maybe I'm being overly negative but I am trying to see things in context of the whole season, it's not been dreadful by any means, I think we've achieved a lot given how little experience we have in the squad and how little money we've spent. Overall though I definitely think that a lot of our problems were very very preventable and this frustrates me. We cannot carry any of the Old Trafford dead wood (we know who they are) into next season if we hope to win anything of note, we also need a bit more strength, experience and power in certain areas. Anyways come on the you Gunners, I really hope I can be proven wrong on Tuesday.