Wednesday 12 December 2012
Massive problems but keep your heads
Last night was a night that summed up many of the manager's and the club's failings. Great credit to League 2 side Bradford for a true battling performance and congratulations to their supporters. We played a strong side but in truth we were not at the races for much of the first half and most of the second, although Vermaelen equalised late on, we could not make our complete domination in extra time count and narrowly went out on penalties, two of our spot kicks rather unfortunately cannoning back of the inside of the post.
I have to say that I am slightly ashamed and embarrassed at the way many of our own supporters are behaving and reacting. Fine, criticise the manager, criticise the board, criticise the players, but there is a way of doing this without sinking to offensive abuse and mocking. We also should be supporting these players when they are on the field and the negative support of some fans at home games is actually having a real detrimental effect on performances.
I know our squad is weak and several players are not good enough. However I do not buy the lack of effort or the mentality issue, we simply aren't good enough, there's no need to claim some of our average failing players are not trying when they appear to be putting in a lot of effort. Gervinho is the perfect case in point, he is a frustrating player no doubt, but last night he was probably our most dangerous player going forward, yet in the eyes of some supporters he was to blame for everything including third world famine.
The manager has certainly lost the plot in recent years. The 4-3-3 system, the way we play it, is an abject disaster area. Again last night we had no pace and width in attacking areas. I barely noticed Podolski in his left sided berth, surely he must play centrally? Gervinho is not a centre forward, while there was no one on the right flank in the first half. Ramsey was anonymous, Cazorla only came to life later in the game, again we had numerous central players in midfield and attack, and no proper width.
The lack of depth in the centre forward position was again demonstrated. Chamakh's movement did show us what we had been missing to a degree, alas his poor finishing did not. Gervinho was far more at home on the left and it begged the obvious question - why as Podolski playing wide and Gervinho centrally, again?
Sacking Arsene now mid season with no replacement lined up would be utterly stupid. Change for the sake of it without any serious plan for what will happen afterwards is the stuff of idiots. Arsene needs to sort this mess out and if he doesn't then he has to go in the summer. We need better players in certain areas and we need to stop playing numerous central players in the same team without having any attacking width. I would be fully in favour of switching back to a 4-4-2, or perhaps a 4-4-1-1 with Santi off the centre forward. Arsene needs to remember the importance of width and bring in some quality in January.