Sunday 13 March 2011

Let's keep some hair on

I know that some people love to simplistically polarise debate, you're either with us or against us, the manager is perfect or shite, but frankly life is rarely black and white, and football is no exception to this rule. It's easy to get carried away in the heat of the moment and completely lose perspective, in so doing one can be unfair and forget to appreciate what one does have.

It has not been a good couple of weeks and there have been many reasons for this, the manager has been far from blameless with some long term decisions and some shorter term ones, some players have not pulled their weight and we have not been the luckiest either. The cup final could easily have gone the other way despite the performance not being great in the first half, the Barca game saw us fighting an uphill battle after a refereeing howler, while the Manu game saw the kind of performance that typifies us when we at our most frustrating, luck and some excellent goalkeeper played its part too.

Arsene is no fool, it has been obvious from the way in which Denilson's role has gradually diminished that he is running out of patience with the mediocre Brazilian. I also sense that he is running our of patience with certain other individuals who have been given more than enough in the way of first team chances. Wherever we finish in the league this year, it is clear that certain players must be nearing the exit door and those at the top of any provisional list must include Denilson, Diaby, Rosicky, Arshavin and Vela.

Personally speaking I don't think we have ever properly replaced the backbone of our midfield since Gilberto and Flamini left in the summer 0f 2008. Song has developed terrifically well, Wilshere is a great all rounder and has had a great first year, but beyond this we really lack any strength in depth. This has been so so evident when the Denilson-Diaby combo has had its chance of late. There is some young talent coming through (Ramsey/Frimpong/Lansbury) but a solid combative player with experience would have added a lot at times this year. Arsene must know he has made an error in this regard.

Defensively I think we have improved massively, the emergence of Johan Djourou as a top notch centre back alongside the mobile Koscielny has been key, as has the progress of Mr Szczesny. A bigger problem for us has been our lack of pace and our consequent inability to kill teams off on the counter attack, as we used to in days of old. Theo has the electric zip, but beyond him we really lack the top drawer speed to scare defences. Our strikers are not slow but we lack a real pacey front man a la Henry or Anelka of old; our other wingers are not speed merchants either. Arshavin has gone backwards, looks overweight and lacks speed. Perhaps too much pressure has been then heaped on Samir Nasri.

Wenger may appear tactically naive but I think this is an easy explanation, it is more than he has now hamstrung himself by assembling a one dimensional squad of players that means he simply has to play in a certain way, we have lost the great diversity of squad that we used to have, there is not enough bite and grit in the midfield, there is not enough raw pace in our attacking players. We have seen that when something approaching our first eleven is fielded, we can beat anyone, Barca and Chelsea found this out, the problem is that with only a couple of injuries to players in certain positions we are left significantly weaker than we should be.

The league is still there for the taking and you never know, a lot will depend on injuries. If Bartley can be recalled then he should be, we need more cover at centre back given Djourou's absence, I would also be sorely tempted to recall Henri Lansbury but this would depend on the fitness of our other currently injured midfielders and I am not privy to that kind of insider information. What remains clear is that the balance of the squad is not right, psoitively the manager seems to be aware of these issues and I hope that he will address them in the summer. There are some players in this squad who are not of the right cut to wear an Arsenal shirt and this just has to be addressed, ruthlessly if needs be. Let's just hope the lads can turn things around and put together a run of results that will test Manu's character to its breaking point.


Anonymous said...

You tell others to keep their hair on then decimate the team. What are you writing that they're not? Wenger's funeral pyre is burning, and rightly so. I couldn't care less if he was sacked tomorrow, in fact I'd celebrate with a pint.

Anonymous said...

Nice to hear a little sanity in the aftermath chaos on other boards.

I am hoping the majority of Arsenal fans are of your opinion and not of the sack everybody mentality.

I think time has run out for Vela, Bentner and Rosisky. I am also a little concerned with Gibbs as I though he was at fault for the goals at Utd, especially the second.

I still think Diaby can do a job though and Ashavin has looked better recently.

Our defence if much improved and I think their performance in Barcelona was fantastic, unfortunately this has not been mentioned on most sites. Playing the FA cup game so soon after was always going to be tough mentally as well as physically and put simply they took their chances and we didn't. Winning and losing silverware is decided by these small margins.

Anonymous said...

i'll join ya with a stella, wenger is becoming the most stubborn,self righteous, arrogant manager i can remember (apart from clough} he is using the club as he's own little experiment while im paying over a grand a year, how long has everyone said the need of a goalie centre back and a captain yet he wont buy co's the fact everyone has said so pure arrogance (but like all of us we dont know about football do we)

Anonymous said...

it starts with denilson

then diaby seams to fit the bill

then the great arshavin fall into the group

finally rocisky needs to captain all of them out of arsenal..

next in line is sagna, which he could have improve his game for all this years..but he is the same, very predictable and only run on his railway...omg! WENGER please open your eyes! im suffering!

Anonymous said...

Wenger was tactically ahead of his time and has taught Arsenal and the English game in general new management methods. However, the big sides have all figured him out and surpassed him. Fergie is so confident of beating him that he knows he can play whoever he wants.

This season has been relatively good for injuries, the squad is among the strongest and most talented in the league and the money is there. So the only barrier to success is the manager. He's not pushing the players. He claims that a European hangover was the reason for the Manchester defeat and that's no surprise given how Wenger behaves on the sidelines. Almost like a fan. Allowing for no perspective. His subs hardly every change the game as they are exactly the same (expect poorer versions) as the ones they are replacing.

He needs to go as he has become far too comfortable at Arsenal. You can tell that other top managers like Guardolia, Mourinho and Fergie have no respect for him whatsoever. Instead of heralding Arsenal's youth policy, they mock because they know no other manager would afforded the same amount of time to progress young players.

Fans are also hoping that Arsenal will succeed because UTD and Chelsea will run out of money and have an ageing squad. Not true. UTD will spend massively in the summer, mark my words and Chelsea have spent 70m on two top class players.

herbzoverrum said...

spot on bro!

Anonymous said...

The writer of this blog is AKB. Arsene Knows Best no ARSENE KISS BUT.
I used to rate wenger so highly until I thought he was going mad (this is my best squad ever).For me last summer and this season was and is his last chance to save himself. I have defended him in these barren years and always blamed the shit players in our squad but I've had enough ,if he doesn't, want to get rid of denilson, diaby, rosicky, eboue, bentner, arsharvin and even vp, he can go.

1979gooner said...

Ah the AKB slur, this is the kind of stupid patronising polarisation of the debate that I'm talking about. Using the 'AKB' term says more about the user that who it's aimed at. Sell rvp? You have lost a grip on reality AKB boy.

Ray Parlour's Perm said...

I think Denilson and Diaby are borderline retarded. I would love to see them play a game of checkers together. It would probably end in a draw.

Anonymous said...

yes arsenal fans are angry and i can understand it .. denilson and diaby and eboue and rosicky surely must go in summer but the question is who will come in ?? we need more pace up front thats for sure .. im not giving up on wenger just yet

leftcoastgooner said...

Thanks 1979,
I've been trolling the gooner blogosphere in search of a little sanity and maybe a bit of steel.
The "out with the lot" mentality may be viscerally satisfying to some but overlooks some basic truths. We DO NOT have the money some suggest Wenger is greedily hording. The club's latest financial statement should have made that clear.The real estate meltdown of 2007 has left the club well short of the money projections made preceding the move to the Emirates.
Highbury Square which was supposed to pay the principle cost of our new facility is still at 40% vacancy.The club is now paying the difference with gate receipts and merchandise.
Wenger may not be the world's chief football strategist but he has a keen eye for talent.Without a billfold to match he is doing what he must by simply using the tools at hand.
As supporters I think it's our job to do the same. No, this is not The Arsenal of Bergkamp,Overmars, Veira,Campell,Henry,Ljunberg,Pires...
But it is our Arsenal never the less. Some of our own supporters seem keen on deriding the team for playing without enough heart and passion. Well mates, you gotta bring some to get some. said...

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