Monday 25 May 2009

Over and out, mental season commences

"90, 86, 83, 71"

It was great to see the season finish with both a win and a show of support for the boss, who has not deserved to be criticised in the manner in which he has been criticised for the last few months by the media and certain sections of our own support. The four numbers above though show that we have been significantly off the pace in the league, United's points tally is very impressive, but our drop from our points tally of a year previously is surely evidence that we have had big problems in a number of areas. Many of us agree on where the weaknesses are and these need to be addressed in the summer.

We do need to retain a sensible perspective on how far we have come under Arsene's supreme reign. The flamboyant football, the young talent, the infrastructure of our new superclub and the yearly champions league football: these are all things we now take for granted. One must remember that not long before Wenger took over we were not too far off the relegation zone, needing some crucial goals from a rather powerful Welsh ginger to ensure our top flight status.

It is worth considering just how far clubs can fall in short spaces of time, Newcastle have been relegated and they were close to being Champions in the relatively recent past. The Toon Army's failure is great example of how a big club can sink as a direct result of recurrent stupid knee jerk decisions from the management. They now have a wage bill of over 70 million and are in the Championship, they are in danger of going into free fall. In this context our manager and board's pragmatic work of recent years looks very very clever indeed, some fans need to be very careful in what they wish for and the management often need to ignore the nosiest fans in order to act in the best interests of the their club.

In order to challenge for the title next year we need to secure our best players' futures at the club, get rid of some of our dead wood and bring in some quality and experience where we lack it. It is essential that RVP is tied down to a new long term deal, while I don't think many people would argue that Bendtner has shown enough determination and ability to be considered a player well worth keeping at the club for a good while longer.

We all have out own opinions about the dead wood, but few would argue that Adebayor's time is up, I would imagine that the same is the case for Mikel Silvestre. Other players' cases are less clear cut, I would like to see Eboue stay, he is an excellent full back to have in the squad, while whether Diaby deserves another season is something that is very much open to debate in my opinion. The type of player I would love us to sign is in the Mascherano mould, we don't need any more technical ball players, we need more grit, more destructive power and more filth.

One thing is sure, there will be plenty of time for debating all these issues over the coming months, personally I would prefer the banter to be concentrated upon real issues rather than being wild conjecture about potential signings. I am realistic enough to appreciate that certain people cannot resist indulging themselves in this regard, but I would just ask as many as people as possible to try to rise above this kind of tabloid hacking.

From a perspective point of view, I'd just like to finish by taking a minute to think of the three relegated clubs. West Brom have covered themselves in glory this year, they play nice football and their manager is a top bloke, the same goes for Boro and they probably would not have gone down if they could have converted their early season performances into points. I have already mentioned Newcastle, they are the 'Christmas Carol' club of the Premiership, some our own overly demanding fans would do well to think for a second why they have fallen from grace so very spectacularly, if one ignores the tales from the ghosts of the past it does not bode well for one's future.


Rhinogooner said...

Who to keep and who to discard? It's difficult to assess in this Arsenal team. I wish I had the benefit of watching them train everyday and knowing their character and personalities.

The issue for me is, too many talented young players with even younger players behind them. Something's got to give.

Perfect example is LB - Clichy, Traore, Gibbs. And now we've seen Cruise coming along (is Kerrea Gilbert still an Arsenal player?). I don't want to sell Clichy, but Gibbs has been excellent and Traore deserves a shot.

Then you have players like Ramsey, Coquellin, Frimpong, Wilshere and Jay Emmanuel Thomas coming along in midfield. So do Denilson, Diaby and Song hold these players back. To use a phrase from our manager - Denilson, Diaby and Song are "killing" our youth players. I mean, by the time these younger kids are 21, Denilson, Diaby and Song will be around 24 and closer to the finished article.

The gap in the ages between our emerging youth and our first team players is far too small. We have an over-abundance of youth. And it presents a dilemma. Our squad of players who are available to the first team is too big now, due to giving first team time to players who should still be in the reserves. I could stray into the debate over the affect it has on their mental maturity - too much, too soon. But I'll avoid that for now.

Another quandary is Eboue. Good back up for Sagna. But the problem I have is, he is selected to play ahead of players like Vela and Ramsey. If he is to be used solely as Sagna's back up, then fine. But I have an issue with him being in the team because his presence gives Mr. Wenger the option to play him ahead of more suitable, more talented players. And with Mr. Wenger's propensity for pecking order, this means Eboue plays in midfield more often than he ought.

About the only place we don't have too many young players pushing for a first team place is at CB. Which is a shame. It would be nice to have a couple prospects coming through to challenge Toure and Gallas other than only Djourou.

It's going to be a difficult summer and I suspect there could be a lot of movement at Arsenal - coming and going. Not good for building stability and familiarity. But necessary at this junction, in my bleary-eyed opinion.

So what say you?

1979gooner said...

Good point about needing to know the players better, in training and as people, it's this kind of info that means as fans we can never really know enough to make more perfectly informed decisions as a manager can.

I think a few people must go, Adebayor for sure because he is not 100% in terms of effort and you cannot tolerate that.

For me Silvestre is not good enough and has to go, whether Wenger can do this remains to be seen though.

If Gallas is not 100% committed then he should go, only le Boss cam make this call.

Given our lack of experience I really think we would be foolish to let anyone with any experience go, you need a really big squad to challenge on all four fronts.

Traore doesn't look to have the footballing intelligence to make the grade for me, so given we have Gibbs and Clichy already, along with Pedro in the future, he can probably go.

I'd keep Song for sure, excellent player, Denilson too, inconsistent but still a very decent all round player, Diaby I'm undecided on.

As you say we have the youth, but I think if we add two with experience plus one extra for every experienced player that leaves then we'll have enough to make a challenge for the title next year I reckon.

Andre said...

I'd love to see Bendtner go. It sounds like he's going to sign an extension, but he looks so lazy and lost on the field. His ego is absurd too.

As far as Eboue is concerned, he's a decent right back, but looking for one who is a bit quicker would be nice. He always looks hurt when he's running, like he isn't at full speed even when he is.

Diaby and Deneilson can stay or leve as far as I'm concerned, but if we're really going for someone like Alonso or Toure like the rumors sggest, then they should move on.

RVP/Adebayor... I actally prefer Ade. He stays fit longer and he puts his shots over the bar less.

I wouldn't be too surprised to seee them both stay.

Cesc might be leaving which would be a shame since he developed here w/ the League cup and all, but on the other hand, he'd be a pile of money and Arshavin would be fine instead.

The Theo rumor kind of sucks but if he goes, maybe we could beat out Man U for Ribery which would be amazing.

Rhinogooner said...

Theo rumour? He just signed a new contract with us a few weeks ago.

Anonymous said...

at this point, I hope everyone stays and we get 2-3 arshavin or near-arshavin quality players and roll.

ade has been lazy and out of it this year, but so has cesc on many occassions as well as the whole team.

i think ade is pretty good, if he gets good service, some nice crosses to head in, if the team starts rolling, he could be key.

i hope everyone stays.


Ted said...

I would not sell anyone we don't have to, but if we need the money then Adebayor is the obvious candidate to go, since he is one of the few players we have who might command £20m at the moment.

I would spend the lot on Gareth Barry and play Song at the back, or sign Hangeland and play Song in midfield.

p.s. it really would not be a disaster if Cesc leaves. Arshavin or Nasri can both do the job Cesc does in CM, and arguably better at the moment.

Ted said...

sorry, to finish off, but the Cesc issue is not about footballing reasons. We can't afford to sell him because of the negative press it will give the club.

Rhinogooner said...

Off topic here, but I just read this story:

Absolutely sickens me. This sort of behaviour is reprehensible. I find it difficult to understand the vast range between the quality of people in this world.

It's not isolated to any region of the world or group of peoples. You can find good folks and deplorable ones anywhere.

I'm not elevating myself. I have my ill habits. But it hurts that I love football so much and have to be ignorantly associated with people of this ilk.

Sorry to bring this subject to the forum. It's just hit me in a soft spot and I wanted to expel my disappointment.

Anonymous said...

good points Ted, agreed.

i'm sure its just rumor season and there will be 2-3 months of it, but the first rumor that i've heard is that AW made a 8 million pound bid for hageland.

i hope its true, it would be nice to get the squad sorted out by end of June instead of end of August.


as far as the violence, murder, thats terrible. a few people ruin it for everyone. its also strange what can move any given person since we are all so desensistized. five murder stories may not do it but number six might. ok.

1979gooner said...

Bendter has been great the last three months, there's no way we should sell

Eboue has also played very well, he is damn fast by the way, and you are not going to find a better reserve full back anywhere

Agree with Ted that selling Cesc would make sense in footballing terms but not in terms of the press reaction/psychology of selling such a big name player

Obviously violence over football is not clever, it's rather pathetic, remembering it is only a game is always important

Obsinho said...

On Eboue's speed - Theo had the 5 fastest at the club as him, Eboue, Ade, Clichy and Gavin Hoyte. Eboue has a lot of gas.

Sell Ade, a midfielder and let Silvestre go. Then hope Wenger brings in the right players.

Good points by Rhino on the age gap between first team and the kids - it does need to be rectified.

Anonymous said...

Adecrapwhore should be sold,after his failed attempt to get a move last summer he got his pay rise and did jacks**t to warrant it!!and he still making comments about milan.So if we got 20mil+ i believe bendtner can take over,i also think we DON'T have a leader in the team and as stated if Cesc goes i don't think it would upset the team much as i also believe Nasri can do that job also and have Arshavin play behind the striker but we do lack a quality commanding CB and all the ARSENAL teams have had a strong defensive midfielder till this season.On letting Flamini leave and not replacing him has exposed our back four and has let the opposition develop attacks,we have not closed down opposing players and at times let them dictate the play.So if wenger can get 2/3 experienced players in the right positions so blending with the youth it could be like 2007/08but this time win it and not chuck it away like we did!!Our F.A youth winners won't be ready,i believe,for at least 4/5 yrs but if there can stay together and keep learning the game there WILL produce a fantastic squad.