Friday 16 April 2010

Lacking 'maturity' and the close season predictions

Our lack in certain areas of the squad is obvious and has been for some time. In my opinion a degree of blame must be positioned outside Arsene's door, he has had the opportunities to strengthen and he has not done so. To keep this in context there has definitely been some progress from last season, however this could have been considerably greater if the right purchases had been made at the right time, obviously this is much easier to say 'Championship Manager' style than to do in practice, nonetheless there is now no doubt in the majority of Gooners' minds that some significant changes must be made to the squad this summer by the manager.

Stasis and maintaining the status quo will result in the same failings next season if nothing is done. The fact that Arsene openly admitted that we lack 'maturity' against Spurs is a sad indictment on his own decision not to buy some solid experienced players for the squad over the past couple of seasons. He is now pointing out our clear lack of defensive strength in depth, another thing that has been blatant for some time.

Take out first team squad and analyse it. Realistically you need one top keeper, one solid deputy and a decent third choice, two full backs for each side, arguably four quality centre backs, two decent defensive midfielders, four other all roundish midfielders, four decent wide players and four strikers. This analysis takes a bit of guessing and a few assumptions. I shall assume that the only youngsters ready for contention are Wilshere/Wojciech Szczęsny and I will assume that Gallas/Silvestre/Campbell are off.

Goalkeepers. We need a top notch stopper, Almunia has not been good enough. Wojciech Szczęsny may be good enough in the long term but if not ready yet then we need to invest in an experienced stopper.

Fullbacks. Here we are ok. Sagna/Eboue at right back and the latter may well be about to displace the former given their recent form. Gibbs/Clichy is enough at left back.

Centre backs. Here we are woefully short. Vermaelen is on the team sheet but we need a top notch commanding partner for him. If Djourou gets fit then he can be a decent squad player, Campbell can stay on for a year maybe, but we still need one more, whether Bartley is up to the Premiership will be key, if not then we need two centre backs for sure.

Defensive midfield. We are very weak here, Song is our only midfielder who can defend, we need at least one more player who can play this role, I would also argue that we need to replace one or two of our technical ball players with more physical and robust all round combative midfielders. The balance of the squad is way off, we need more Parlour type players. JET, Lansbury, et al should not be forgotten as well but they are arguably more attacking players.

Midfield. We have enough technical ball players, of this there is no doubt. We have Cesc, Diaby, Denilson, Rosicky, Nasri, Merida and Ramsey.

Wide forwards/Wingers. We have plenty of attacking midfielders but not many are genuine wide men, maybe this isn't neccessary given the 4-3-3 system. I would count Arshavin, Walcott, Wilshere as these players, obviously the likes of Merida, Nasri and Rosicky give us a flexibility in this department.

Strikers. We have RVP/Bendtner/Eduardo. Eduardo is running out of time to prove himself, as is Vela. It looks like at least one of these two will leave in the summer, Chamakh appears a done deal.

Overall it seems obvious that we need to strengthen ourselves up defensively. We do not need any more young players either. Arsene needs to go out and buy an experienced goalkeeper, at least one experienced centre back and a defensive midfielder. This is a minimum. We need more defensive strength in the first team and on the bench, there is also an argument that we need to sort out the way that our defense is coached to cut out the basic errors we have been making far too frequently of late. It is the manager's job to address these problems with our squad and if he does not then he should take the blame, sometimes enough is enough.


Anonymous said...

close season predictions, the players arsene wants are unavailable 'to us' and sign for other clubs for a few pound more, almunia ramains number 1, denilson signs a new deal, rosicky is looking forward to the new season,silvestre remains and djourous alergic reation to grass is still an issue, arsene will say judge me in may and we will all hope for the best

clockendjim said...

Talk about dejavu. I re-lived this article as if I had experienced it before. Hang on I have ! It was me saying exactly the same at the beginning of the season and screaming it again in January when all the injuries made it even more desperately urgent.
The fact that we had £40m of Man City money in the bank and never addressed any of the obvious shortcomings of the squad that any reasonable Gooner could see with two eyes tied behind his back was not only amazing but irresponsible on behalf of Wenger/The Board.
If the same happens before next season starts then all hell will be let loose I am sure

limestonegunner said...

I think you have a sober assessment of the needs and the importance of experienced quality players with strength rather than small, young talented technical players.

I wonder though about the wide players. Some feel we really should have a player or two that plays best on the wings rather than players who can play there but whose best position would be more centrally.

I also wish that we brought in a top quality striker who is even better than Chamakh given the history of injury RvP has had, but this seems vain wishing at this point when it is assumed to be a done deal.

Spot on when it comes to improving defense--perhaps there are some coaching strategies that could be applied here that are not being used. I don't know, but it is an obvious weakness.

Johnson said...

Are you guys still dreaming that Arsene will buy the right players? He's going to tell us more lies. There is something wrong with this man, and there is something wrong with any gooner who believes there's silverware next season. The other clubs will STRENGTHEN, spending money while we keep ours, and blame another failure on injuries at the end of next season. I've watched Chamack closely Wenger refused to pay a few extra millions for him. Look at all the goals we failed to score! This guy in the team would have made a big difference, considering how narrowly we are missing the title.
I said this before the season began, and I'm saying it again. Wenger will not change. We'll win something only after he's gone. Does not sound sweet in the ear, but I have seen enough to know our manager and what he stands for: stingy enigma!

Anonymous said...

At some point lee dixon said he wished the famous back four he was part of was preserved in future players since he believes it truly was a great defense. However the players left at roughly the same time and therefore couldn't pass it on. If he could just coach our players into playing with that discipline, then we are sorted.

Uncle Mike said...

I'm not going to say someone with 3 Premiership titles, and even more languages and degrees, is stupid. But Le Boss' stubbornness to spend money has got to stop. As that great midfielder Mel Brooks taught us, "That's it, baby, if you got it, flaunt it."

I have to address something that Clock End Jim said: Eyes tied behind our backs? Must be some sort of Tower of London torture left over from the Cromwell days!

Anonymous said...

AW said he wanted Ronaldo only to be outbid by the red faced.What about other targets?Friedel/Given/Vand der sar were all avaialable at one time or another.
When the new season opens,don't be surprised if he doesn't sign anyone. He will say my kids are finally about to deliver. Trust me he will say.
I am afraid the fans don't trust his broken promises anymore.

Rhinogooner said...

Man U's win over Citeh today just illustrates what grit and experience can do for you.

Mr. Wenger has ignored this fact for too long. Most Arsenal supporters have been crying out for it since he dismantled the Invincibles.

If he could just marry the skill and flair with some strength and determination, we would be collecting silverware for certain.

No excuses suffice. Lack of funding does not cover up his ineptitude and negligence here. He's spent as much on youth in the past 5 years as he could have to bring in a few solid players who are proven winners.

He could have balanced his spending on potential and experience. I'm not, and reasonable supporters are not asking him to spend large wads on world beaters. There have been many players available for small fees who could have strengthened us and helped nurture the young players properly.

He seems to only be awakening to this concept now with his recent comments regarding Big Sol.

Jaaskelainen and Friedel are just two examples of keepers who we could have brought in that have an excellent track record of consistent performance for years. Given would have cost more, but he's another who would have improve us.

I could go on and on with names of outfield players in a similar vein. We all could, I'm sure. But I'll stop now because the short message I intended has run longer than I expected.