There was a mixture of disbelief, anger and pure frustration in my veins on Sunday. Having had some time to reflect I feel we have learnt a lot about our players in recent weeks, some things learnt have been good, others not, what is clear is that we do seem to have a clearer picture of what we lack and what we need for next season.
Some of the reaction has been way over the top, some calls for Arsene's head on a platter are embarrassing. However when the most moderate and sensible commentators such as Goodplaya are saying some rather worrying things, I think now is definitely a make or break time for the manager and this is with good reason.
Mentality. Some players are leaders and fighters, Sol Campbell, Thomas Vermaelen and RVP strike me as such men, you need a core of these kind of characters in your side to fight through the tough times, the tough games and the tough challenges. Whatever the reasons for the surrender of certain players, it just occurs to me that maybe we need more fighters and less shirkers. Are all our players sufficiently motivated and determined to carry our club to the next level. One man who has shown a lot of recent fight has been Samir Nasri, he hasn't always played superbly but he has invariably run his socks off for the cause. When your team is playing badly you need your work rate and fight to pull you through, without this capitulation is much more likely. I wonder which players you feel lack these vital mental attributes to succeed at the highest level?
Experience. Personally I don't think experience is our biggest problem, we just lack the right balance in the squad in terms of playing attributes, we have a lot of experienced seasoned internationals. Experience may be a bit of a red herring I feel.
The Personnel. There is no doubt that in certain areas (GK, CB, DCM) we do not have the quality. We lack a first choice centre back pairing that complement each other, the quality cover is also not there, this is also the case in defensive midfield.
Coaching/Organisation. There are undoubtedly some things that we are brilliant at, for example our fitness and technical levels are top notch. One thing that can definitely be pointed out is the lack of cohesion we have as a team, whether this is more down to the personnel than the coaching is difficult to work out as an outsider, but something is certainly amiss.
Overall we're not far off, but there are clear deficiencies in several key elements that are needed for success at the highest level. I think massive changes to the squad would be too much and huge shifts in players can create new problems, but minimal change would be too little. I think we need to send out a message to those who have not shown the fight or passion for the club, at least a couple of players must be jettisoned to send out a stark warning to the remaining squad members. Those players that we do recruit in the summer must be cut from the right wood, they must be battlers, they must be willing to fight for the club, we need to unearth the Sols of the future if we are to recreate another golden generation.