Thursday 28 October 2010

A few things learnt, how brave should Arsene be?

The season is still young but I think Arsene has learnt a lot already about his squad, to me it is already clear that some players are developing extremely well while others have stagnated. I just thought that after last night's win against Newcastle, it would be worth asking, who has impressed and who has not, who needs to be ditched and who needs to be given more games?

In goal we have seen Fabianski have a run of five solid games, plus we have seen an extremely commanding performance from the young Pole Szczesny. Almunia's poor form and injury must see him drop right down the pecking order. For me Szczesny is the future, he is huge, he commands the box, he has such confidence and his positioning is fantastic for one so young. It is a great concern that his contract is rumoured to be up come the end of the season, if I were Arsene I would stick him in the side for a few more games and make him an offer he cannot refuse. If Szczesny walks on a free then big big questions will have to be asked.

Full back wise I have been impressed with Eboue and Sagna, they have both been excellent offensively and defensively, in particular Bacary Sagna's crossing has come on leaps and bounds from a couple of years ago. The big concern I have is Gael Clichy's form, he has been poor in most games I have seen. He has been positionally poor, weak in the tackle, and weak aerially. If Kieran Gibbs had not been plagued with injuries then I am sure he would be no1 by now. Hopefully Gibbs' knee injury will only keep him out for 2-4 weeks ish.

The purchase of Koscielny and Squillaci was badly needed. Both have done very well thus far. As one would have expected the younger has made the odd error but the signs are generally very positive. Johan Djourou has defended well given how long he was absent, obviously he is a tad rusty but he has been aggressive, dominant in the air and he has stayed fit thus far. The niggling injury that keeps TV out is a big concern, but as long as the other three stay fit we can cope.

The midfield has seen the dramatic emergence of Jack Wilshere and it is quite remarkable that he has made himself an automatic selection in a relatively short space of time. His all round ability, his passing, his movement, his understanding of the game and his fighting nature make him such a key player for us. Cesc has been at his creative best when fit, Song has been dominant, although a tad lacking discipline on occasions. The fight for places beneath this three is where it gets interesting. Denilson has been tidy and far better than last season so far. Diaby has been as enigmatic as ever, sometimes a delight to watch, sometimes a drain, I am finally losing patience with him, I do wonder if there is enough end product to justify his selection in our first team? Rosicky has been a real utility player and a very effective one at that, he does a bit of everything and does it all rather well. Ramsey is close to a return, Lansbury is pushing hard but may benefit from another loan, while I am not convinced that Eastmond will quite cut it at the highest level.

With Bendtner and Walcott returning to full fitness, we are beginning to look extremely strong up top. Nasri has worked his nuts of over the summer and he has reaped the rewards, probably our most improved player of the season, we are starting to see a regular end product and this is vital as we saw on Sunday against City. Chamakh has had an excellent start, he will never bang in 30 goals a season, but his team play and work rate makes him such a key member of the squad, his aerial ability is also a real bonus. RVP, injured again. Andrei Arshavin splits opinion, his statistics tell one story and his critics another, like all things the truth is somewhere in between. Generally I think he has done enough, he has worked harder off the ball, he does have that rare ability to destroy a team in a split second and he is a very useful player to have in the squad. The biggest disappointment for me of the last year or so has been Carlos Vela, he has so much ability but his heart just doesn't seem in it, his motivation seems lacking, he lacks end product and continues to frustrate me whenever he plays, time is running out for him I feel. I would like to see the talented JET start to get some match minutes, the lad is dynamite.

In summary I've probably not told you much that you didn't already know, or maybe not, perhaps you disagree with me rather strongly, if so then please comment and tell me why. When one looks at all the good and the bad, it gives one a bit more perspective and Arsene does appear to be more than a bit handy. I think he has a few big decisions to make in the next few months. Firstly if he think Szczesny is good enough then he should make him our no1 now and get him to sign up. Secondly he needs to sort out Gael Clichy's form or replace him, ideally with a fit Kieran Gibbs. Thirdly there are some players who are running out of time, maybe it is harsh to single out Diaby and Vela, but for me these two need to do a bit more than they currently are. It would be interesting to see what you all thought?


Anonymous said...

To me Diaby seems to be gaining a bit moe consistency this season and finaly becoming the player we want him to be. Having said that I am out of the country so my exposure to football at home is not what it has been in past seasons so I could be wrong!

You're right bout Vela though. He is hugely taented, as he shows every time we play a weaker side in he carling cup or are already 4-0 up at home, but when it's tough he can't seem to produce. If we're 4 goals up at home to Wigan and he comes on you pretty much expect him to score, if we're desperate for a goal away at Chelsea can you ever imagine him producing the crucial goal? And that is his problem.

Sam said...

Oh dear

I was beginning to really like the articles on this blog. And then you just revert to the same old same old, patghetic scapegoating tabloid-esque slating of players.

There's enough brain dead meandering blogs out there, without you doing the same mate!

1979gooner said...


come on!

you are speaking absolute crap,

where have I scapegoated or slated anyone?

The players I have criticised I have done so on the back of months and months of games, not a knee jerk reaction to one or two

I have criticised them fairly because this is my opinion of their performances, come on, we must be allowed to have reasonable opinions based on what we've seen?

Clichy has been poor for some time, I've watched him very closely and he has been poor defensively time and time again

Diaby is a player I really like and it almost pains me to say what I have, but I am not convinced that he does enough to justify a first team starting slot. He lacks discipline and drive defensively, he is good in the air, but going forward he is more frill than end product, maybe this is the most key point.

Vela has been poor pretty much 95% of the time when has has started a game. He is too weak to play as a striker in the middle, he gets knocked off the ball far too easily, while on the wing he seems to lack the impetus to really attack players aggressively.

Fine, disagree with me, I have no problem with this, it's all about opinion.

But do not come here are simply say what you have, ie just a lame generic slating of the article without any decent specific points at all

Come back when you have something useful or specific to say, rather than just slagging the article off without good reason

Anonymous said...

I agree about Vela. As much as I like the lad he is simply not showing enough in the few games he appears in to be given many more chances (presumably thesame is true in training). I think he's got the next round of the carling cup to impress at least a little or JET should move above him in the pecking order.
I totally disagree about Diaby. Not only did he have some excellent games early season he has great feet, goalscoring ability and did a fantastic job defending Christopher Samba in the big win at Blackburn. No other Arsenal midfielder could have done the same - Denilson no chance and for all his skills Wilshire would have been no use either. We need a mixture of strentghs in midfield and we are truly blessed to have a midfielder like Diaby. He's a mainstay for france now and one bad game against WBA aside he's had good performances (against WBA his ankle was playing up - he'd been out before that and hasn't really played since then and is currently described as injured - besides only 1 player came out the WBA game with credit(Nasri) so I don't get the general hate on Diaby. With Diaby, Fabergas, Wilshire, Song, Rosicky and Ramsey when he's back we can mix and match our midfiled to who we are playing like never before and Denilson is our back up!

Anonymous said...

A good summary. I think to prevent injuries/fatigue causing us the season in the crunch Feb-Mar period like last season, Wenger has to rotate the squad intelligently this season (and so far he seems to have options without sacrificing . As good as Chelsea are looking right now, their weakness is a small squad of good players with no real depth and they will be fallible in Feb-Mar with their focus on the Champions League. I am not convinced about Manu this season but one cannot write them off - to me they look very weak. City/Spuds no strong view - looks likely City will be in the top 4 this season.

Sam said...

I'll tell you why I think you have sunk to the piss poor levels of many Arsenal blogs (admittedly, you have done so in a more intelligent way than the others!)

By your throaway comment about how you have "finally lost patience with Diaby". Who the fuck are you?

And what games do you watch? You have simply followed the herd, the herd that has NEVER appreciated Abou and regardless of what he has done, simply look for the negatives with which to knock him with.

If you honestly think he flatters to deceive, then you are clueless and have no idea what he brings to this team. Conversely, if you dont believe that, then you are simply scapegoating him and going along with the neanderthal knee jerk mob mentality that exists, sadly, on the internet.

He was one of the most consistent performers last season, yet you seem to think he flatters to deceive, or is such a pain as he just doesnt do enough for you?

Give me strength.

I think you shoulod stick to simply posting about how fergie is a cunt.

Unknown said...

comments are fair enough esp re vela and diaby, i go to every home game most of the euro, and a handful of away games too and so lucky enough to make my own opinion rather than read bloggs or listen to tv commentators.

vela is exactly as you say. too lightweight to lead the line. size has nothing to do with it, look at tevez and other short stocky forwards. he invariably tracks sideways across the goal and on the wing doesnt seem to have the skill or tenacity to beat his fullback or put in a good cross. so hes quite good on a one on one with the goal keeper when the pressure is off. thats a luxury in my mind, theres hungrier players out there deserving a chance. he goes missing far too often.

diaby had a great game at blackburn, i was there, and hes effective as a defensive midfielder, hes had great games eg vs chelsea too where he was tackling high up the pitch. but going forward he just doesnt have the confidence to pass or shoot consistently. birmingham was a typical game where he just didnt have the heart to take a shot or where his final pass either slowed down the game or was misplaced. breaks down the speed and impact of our game going forward.

hes hugely frustrating, cos he turns out of a tackle like a collosus, can stride forward like a giant, and actually has a pretty explosive shot. i think he needs to think like a game winner..have the mentality to take responsibility to be the best player on the field each time he plays, instead of leaving it to someone else. hes fine when cesc and others are taking the heat and making things work. not so when the big boys are missing. he was terrible towards the end of last season in our slump, and unfortly we saw something similar in the west brom game.

i actually think he has talent and potential but he needs self belief. ok, so he plays for france, but thats a fucked up team. like fabianski, a few mom performances will make a huge difference to his game. he has all the qualities we look for and could be a potential pv like player. hopefully itll properly click for him, but so far its one game good, two games bad.

Anonymous said...

My opinion on Vela may be a bit harsh but it is going to be helpful on the long run:He is no more disadvantaged than Walcott due to their size and seeming frail build and inconsistencies. Vela has been lazy and his development has stagnated and hasn't done much to improve himself and his weaknesses that make it difficult for him to adjust to the English game.Then again, Wenger gave Theo so many opportunities to blossom, something Vela has never got.Now the LWF position is about to get more congested with the imminent arrival of Wellington and the likes of Nasri, Rosicky and JET queuing behind Arshavin for the spot. Wenger needs to sit with Vela and tell him to do extra work in the gym and on the training grounds like Walcott and Diaby did(with astonishing results),or agree on a loan move to an EPL side with some physical edge like Bolton(which has helped Wilshere leapfrog those head of him just a year ago)or West Ham or just sell him back to the La Liga where he thrived on loan.Decision time for Vela and those decisions are tough ones that must be taken asap!

1979gooner said...


I have explained why Diaby is frustrating and why I am running out of patience with him.

"Who the fuck are you?"

Well, I'm an Arsenal fan and I write on the blog, I also feel I entitled to express why I think Diaby flatters to deceive as it were.

Diaby is a good player, I do not deny this, he has some magnificent attributes.

However what I am questioning is, is he good enough to be in our absolute first eleven?

I would argue not, I would say that on current form Cesc/Song/Wilshere/Nasri and by far our best four midfielders.

I am also not following the herd or scapegoating him as you so kindl put it. I am just saying that he may not be good enough to play regularly for us and take us to that very top level of achievement.

He's a great player to have in the squad, but I don't think now that I can honestly say that Diaby is going to be a regular starter in our best eleven.

He was decent last season but no more, he had some good games and some bad, he was erratic, admittedly less erratic than in previous seasons, but fundamentally still erratic.

Maybe Diaby will prove me wrong, maybe not. I just have doubts about him and I am entitled to express these, there isn't enough defensive discipline in his game at times and there isn't enough consistent end product, this is bloody obvious.

Saying these things isn't following the herd or scapegoating him, come on, that's slack thinking and a weak argument.

PS It seems that a few Gooners who are not the herd followers that you talk of also agree on the Diaby issue.

Anonymous said...

In my opinion most bloggers try to fit every player in the arsenal team list to the first eleven. I mean it is good that we have 30 or 40 good players but you can't keep all them happy because you can only play 11 people. What is important is for the coach to have our best 11 players (or best 11 for the coach as he is the one who makes the selection) fit and playing good. At the moment we have had something like 15 players who are consistently healthy and playing good and 5 or 6 players coming in/going out almost every two weeks or so. It has always been a fact that all players have consistency problems except for a very few, especially when coming from big injuries or niggling injuries. You can't guess exactly the time a player takes to come good after every injury. For some it takes long while for others it might not. With players who seem to be never 100% fit like Diaby, Arshavin or even V Persie the recovery time is never easy to predict. But one thing is for sure. They have class. Some times they might frustrate but they are worth having in our team due to their class and the absolute confidence the coach shows on them. So please as long as we have our good eleven players and the team is relatively doing fine, give them a break and don't try to find faults in the players when they are not even playing and try to concentrate on the good things. Cheers

1979gooner said...

There's nothing wrong with some fair objective criticism.

If you feel Diaby does consistently defend well enough then please argue this.

If you do think that Diaby does consistently produce enough end product then please argue this.

If not then I will assume that you cannot argue these points.