Friday 13 August 2010

Unavoidable negativity

It is hard not to be slightly fearful with the new season almost upon us and I think that says a lot. Even the ever optimistic Arsene Wenger was just 'hopeful' going into Sunday's game at Anfield. When you have a great squad and a decent chance of the big titles then one has this eagerness and anticipation combined with an almost naive over confidence. I don't have that this year, I am looking forward to things starting but I am not massively confident for the season ahead.

Everyone can remember the 4-4 game from the 2008/9 season, everyone remembers the brilliant Arshavin goals, something that few remember is that Fabianski was in goal that day and he was very poor, arguably to blame for at least two of the goals, if not three. How some things haven't changed in three years.

Fabiasnki is a complete and utter liability. It seems that virtually all Gooners are in agreement that Almunia is a far better goalkeeper and he should be the one playing at Anfield. If Fabianski starts then it will be proof that Arsene has lost the plot, his blind faith in certain players will have gone too far this time. I sincerely hope we have anyone else but Fabianski in goal. The goalkeeping position has been so badly managed, our lack of centre backs is also a big big concern.

Liverpool are likely to have Torres out, but new signing Poulsen may feature. It would appear likely that Cole and Gerrard will start, I wouldn't be surprised to see Ngog play as a lone striker with a five man midfield behind him. We have all seen in recent seasons how Hodgson has been very sharp tactically against us with Fulham, they pass the ball well and press very effectively. A lot will depend on how fit various players are including Cesc, RVP and Diaby. This would be my Arsenal eleven assuming that Cesc, RVP and Diaby are not ready to start the game:


Sagna Koscielny Vermaelen Clichy

Eboue Frimpong Nasri

Walcott Chamakh Arshavin

If Diaby were fit then I'd start him ahead of Frimpong in the deeper holding role. It's tricky to leave out Jack but I think Nasri has been so outstanding in pre season and if Arshavin is fully fit then it's hard to leave out either of those two, but it is almost tempting to stick Jack in the midfield three, Nasri further forward and keep Arshavin as a super sub. To get anything out of the game we are going to have to defend well and this will be the key, Liverpool will always bombard us for periods and it will be down to our ability to absorb pressure. I really hope we can do it and get something out of the game. Come on you Gunners!


DutchGooner said...

I doubt Fabianski will be playing as Almunia is clearly first choice. Hopefully we'll find another keeper, Almunia as a reserve for 1 or 2 seasons, get rid of Fabianski and in 1 or 2 years scezny will be in almunia's place.

I agree with the players you've selected, but I'd change the formation a bit as I believe we need Nasri in a more central role:


Sagna Koscielny Vermaelen Clichy

Eboue Frimpong
Walcott Arshavin


b.b.k said...

That team will get torn a new one,we will get hammered on sunday because of wenger,the defence is weak,midfield is weak,stevie g will have a field day against that lot,and as for the keepers,s,n,m....

Anonymous said...

Doubt Eboue and Walcott will both start but, whatever, the starting 11 be the weakest team Wenger has put out in his time at the club.

The lack of a quality goalkeeper and cover for defence also masks the fact that Arsenal desperately need other players all around the first team.

I cant believe how blinked Wenger has been

TonytheGooner said...

i dont see that being the team. i think walcott will start from the bench. you forget rosicky, he has alo of experience, need him to show up.
i think eboue will play on right midfield instead of walcott. nasri will play centre mid if cesc doesn't make it but i am convinced cesc will play. rvp i doubt it, he didn't even look fit at the world cup. and i expect one of denilson or diaby to make it. if not then frimpong may get a start.
if torres plays and is on form then we will lose but if he doesn't play and our two weak links(centre-back&keeper) play well then we will win

goonermac said...

It looks like we are going to miss out on M S from Fulham. We went in for him in May with a typically LOW piss poor offer, which was rejected. Had we gone in with a descent offer then, we would probably have got him.
We are stuck with 2 useless keepers now thanks to scrooge and the board.
I thought THFC were the y--s

Anonymous said...

That's certainly not the weakest team Wenger has ever put out. Almunia is not a great goalie but he's not as bad as he seems after a summer of mithering from Arsenal fans. No one knows how Koscielny is going to play after looking amazing against Milan and pretty bad against Celtic and Legia. The midfield and attack is strong despite the usual raft of injuries.

Rhinogooner said...

I am looking for Arsenal to surprise me. Because I unfortunately have very little confidence in our team from top to bottom right now.

Our squad is thin, lacks enough quality players, and is too susceptible to injuries.

I don't think we have enough to last the pace in a season full of tough Prem, Champions League and FA Cup matches.

We do not have enough match winners or players that can change the game with a moment of individual brilliance. We have a few, but not enough.

What worries me most are two issues that haven't been addressed - mentality and coaching.

We still do not have enough experienced campaigners or winners that have the grit and determination to push us through in the tight matches and difficult moments. Too many of our players wilt when things get tough or just don't have the experience to draw from when the pressure is on. And too many that are just interested in picking up their pay. Not fussed by losing.

The other piece that is missing is coaching. I am of the opinion that we need to bring in 3 more players if we are to achieve silverware this season and challenge in all competitions the way Arsenal is expected to.

But even if we buy a top quality CB, a DM to back up Song and a world class keeper, our defensive coaching stinks, frankly.

We have very good players in defense. But they do not know how to defend as a unit. They are not drilled properly. It's been that way for several years. Which is why we concede so often from set pieces and balls over the top.

All it would take is bringing in Keown or someone like that, to drill our defenders. That would sort us out and make us stingier at the back. We need to build a solid defense first and foremost. I think we would gain 15 more points this season with a good defensive coach in our ranks.

We needed to bring in all of our transfers by the beginning of preseason so that these players would have a chance to bed in and get their fitness levels up. Even if it cost us a bit more, rather than waiting for lower prices on dead line day.

It is patently dereliction of duty at this point, the way our team stands today. There are no excuses for not buying the adequate players this team needs. We have the money, we HAD the time, and there are so many players who are better than what we have.

There are teams at the bottom of the top flights of France, England, Holland, Germany, Italy and Spain, that have better GK's and CB's than we have.

I realize transfers can be laden with obstacles. But Arsenal is so negligent and incompetent at hammering out these deals. It bemuses me.

Meanwhile we severely overpay several of our players who are not worthy of the shirt and then we can move them on to other clubs and we don't want to bring in any competition for their places.

There is just so much wrong with the way this club is being run right now. It's filtered through to the foundations.

For me, it's time for drastic change. In fact, I wanted it last summer.

Rant over. Fireproof jacket on. Flame away....

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Ted said...

Rhino. A fine rant my old friend. And much of it is true.

We all get carried away with squad lists at this time of year, but the basic truth is that, as you say, blood sweat and tears cannot be under-estimated.

I would love to hear that someone was coming in as a defensive coach, I really would.

Fingers crossed for Sunday. We are going to need all the luck we can get!

Come on you Arsenal!

Obsinho said...

Haven't posted all summer as I loathe the silly season. I'm a miserable bastard at the best of times so the horror of the summer "transfer" season is too much for me. As is trying to debate rationally with the incredibly vocal minority.

Our squad is worse than last year. Our keepers are worse (Almunia is a good keeper if you can keep his confidence high - the one thing that has happened this pre-season is to butcher his confidence more). We have fewer centre backs (Aw said you need 5 - please god don't let us not sign another 1 by the end of the month). And the papers are full of transfer bullshit.

How many clubs have signed anyone of the quality and experience we need? I'm going to stick my neck out and say none (expecting there to be one or two only to prove me right). Players are not moving, for whatever reason - money, squad rules, transfer fees......I am sure we have looked at making signings, but have struggled as much as everyone else.

David Silva (£24m) Yaya Toure (£25m) Mario Balotelli (£25m) James Milner (£20)m Ramires (£20m). Of that lot only the latter two would be of interest but not at that price. It maybe that's what "good" players cost, but it does not make sense to spend that money. "great" players are worth more, but as we saw with Cesc no-one has the money to sign them. not even Citeh.

So I am not confident in the slightest this season. But I am not going to start demanding the boss is sacked or the board should sell (unless we're in the bottom half of the table at Xmas!) as I think they have done a great job in what is a frankly disgracefully run industry.

I am proud to be a Gooner, and immensely proud of the stadiumwe helped build. But I am not so proud of the premiership (every year it seems to remove football a few degrees more from the world of the fans), and actually starting to love football a little less. I identify less with all players (not just Arsenal) and have little respect for most of them, and admiration for very few.

Anyway. Fuck it, the merry-go-round is starting and Rupert Murdoch says it's the bestest thing ever since the world began. Who are we to disagree the people who have told us what to think about football for almost 2 decades......

Anonymous said...

I find myself in agreement with Obsinho - my love for the Premiership (AKA the greatest league in the world ©), has diminished too (especially after the reality-check in South Africa this summer).
But what the hey, come on you GOONERS!!!