Having had a chance to reflect upon yesterday's poor result, I think there are a few things that need addressing if we are to sort ourselves out and make a proper challenge for the title.
Goalkeeping: There is no doubt this has been woefully managed. Almunia makes an easy scapegoat for yesterday's defeat but this is not only shortsighted but also foolish. Almunia had a solid first half, he was left terribly exposed for the penalty. The second goal was a howler, the third saw him left completely exposed but his decision making that time was poor. Personally I feel sorry for Almunia, he will only play worse if we turn on him and it is not his fault that he has not been replaced by a better goalkeeper, it is the manager's fault.
Full backs: Both full backs were caught out on numerous occasions yesterday. Sagna has been pretty solid in recent weeks, Clichy has not. In my eyes Clichy has not progressed in the last few years as he should have, he makes too many mistakes, is positionally weak and defensively mediocre. Time is running out for Clichy, it is only a matter of time before Gibbs becomes our no1 left back if he can stay clear of injury.
Centre backs: Vermaelen is out, leaving a pair of centre backs to play together for the first time in Squillaci and Koscielny. It has been very hard for them with a goalkeeper dropping clangers, fullbacks not helping out and a midfield giving them very little protection.
Midfield: The balance of our squad is all wrong and has been for ages. Fortunately the graft of Wilshere has papered over the cracks at times. Eboue is no midfielder, Diaby didn't look fit and seems to lack discipline, while Song needs play with more discipline. The midfield was a disaster waiting to happen yesterday. Leaving both Denilson and Wilshere on the bench was a strange decisions.
4-3-3: A brilliant formation when your team is on top and has a lot of ball, however when you lack width and structure in the eleven it can be a totally disorganised shambles. We didn't have enough width yesterday, while the midfield three were all over the place, this left West Brom able to command the game for long periods.
Arshavin the enigma: The Russian is so frustrating at times, he can be sensational when on form but a complete liability when not. He does so little tracking back that we were awfully exposed as a result down our left side. The erratic Russian confuses me, do his positives outweigh his negatives, I am not quite sure.
Chamakh: He has been terrific so far given that he has never played in England, is playing in a new team and has led the line on his own in almost every single game so far this season. He deserves some slack.
The fringe: The young players have largely done very well when coming in this season. Wilshere has been a revelation, Lansbury has shown he has the right attitude, Gibbs has got the talent. Carlos Vela is a player who adds very little to the squad for me, he rarely threatens in a tight game, is too lightweight for the striker role and does not seem dedicated enough. Is it now time to give the likes of Wilshere, Lansbury, Gibbs and Szczesny more and more games ahead of the likes of Clichy, Diaby and Fabianski?
Injuries: There is no doubt that the return of the likes of RVP, Bendtner, Vermaelen, Cesc, Walcott and Gibbs can have a massive effect.
Overall I don't think there's any doubt that we have a very fine squad, the manager also appears to have added to it wisely in terms of centre backs and Chamakh. The problem is that we still have no solid no1 goalkeeper and our squad looks a bit short in terms of midfield bite. I think we are carrying one or two players in their mid twenties who do not have the ability or hunger required to win Arsenal the title, this is a very big season for a few of these players and I hope that if they do not deliver then they will be shown the door.
Good balanced piece without the gnashing and spleen venting that way too many blogs aim for.
I think the moment Almunia made a mistake he would get turned on, but as you say, thats the manager's fault not his. Its a real shame as he would be a very decent back up keeper, in my opinion. Howver, Wenger's refusal to spend the money (no, not to buy Shwarzer!) for a top class keeper has come back to haunt him a bit earlier than I imagined. I think the hyping up of Sczsezny is way over the top but probably stems from Gooners desperation for any keeper apart from the 2 ahead of him!
Mayber the younger Pole should come in on Tuesday, as even if we lost there would still be ample opportunity to qualify from our champions league group. Then, if he did well, play him in the chav game.
As for Clichy, I think if he hadnt been injured, Gibbs would already be 1st choice LB by now. He is looking a lot more defensively sound than Gael already. I dont know what Clichy's problem is? He looks a world beater, then makes stupid elementary mistakes in almost every game. Maybe he feels to comfortable and doesnt see Gibbs as a threat to him, or maybe he has just not as good as we all think?
I dont have a problem with Sagna, he is solid, but simply suffered the same malaise as the rest of the team yesterday. Diaby is a quality player, but just should not have played the game and neither should Eboue, certainly not in midfield. But thats too easy to say in hindsight. Maybe Wenger didnt want to play Wilshere and Denilson as they had played wednesday, along with nasri and he didnt want too many in the line up from the Carling cup game?
Wenger's stubborn refuals to add to the squad is once again the number one topic on Gooner's agendas. Fucking frustrating as hell. We are so dam fucking close.
I believe that the true reason our players that are not good enough have not been given the sack, is because that would mean Mr. Wenger would have to admit he is wrong and has made mistakes.
I don't really think it is because some of them are young and he wants to give them a chance. Or that they look good in practice, but haven't shown it on the pitch consistently.
It is our manager's pride and inability to admit his failures and responsibility for costing us silverware since the move to the Grove.
I actually feel badly for Almunia. It's not his fault that he isn't good enough for Arsenal. It's Mr. Wenger's fault for selecting him. And there are several other players in our first team that you can lump in that category.
Diaby gives the ball away,he cant protect it like the majestic Vieara,hes ok as an attacking midfieler but we have loads of these,Song is excellent as a grafter and a water carrier,thats all he should do.
Clichy had a bad world cup,doesnt seem the same player since last years injury.
eboue is a squad player,substitute type.its too early to judge the 2 new central defenders...
But Wenger in years recent seemed to show extraordinary belief and patience in jokers like silvestre.This myopic tendency has spread to his backing of Almunia and fabianski,when the world and his wife knows they are pretty woeful.So we must start MANNONE NOW.if he's not up to it,by all means splash the cash in january.
Doesnt anyone remember his fantasic performance at craven cottage last year?
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