Wow, the reaction to the Carling Cup defeat has been absolutely crazy. It’s been worse than the reaction after the Chelsea game. If anything, it should have been the other way round… what’s worse… losing at home with your full team or losing away with your reserve team? Seeing the team line ups yesterday, I didn’t really expect us to beat Man City – but understand that we use this competition as a way of nurturing the younger members of the team, so understood completely why Arsene chose the line up that he did.
The only question marks I had were the inclusion of Alex Song, who has been pivotal to our season, and also not sure why he was picked in defence. With the Cameroonian going away on African Nations duty and Arsene recently saying he needed a rest, it does strike me as very strange to see him start yesterday. Rumours are that Senderos got a knock in training earlier that day (i.e. before the squad was announced), but with Arsene not commenting on it and no signs or mention of the Swiss International, there is a flurry of activity suggesting that Arsene and Senderos have completed fallen out and that the gaffer has frozen him out of the team.
Silvestre and Song – as you may have seen – were quite poor in defence – Song looked out of position – yes, I know he plays there for Cameroon, but he wasn’t he best there and often found himself in more advanced positions – Silvestre on the other hand really struggled and it’s worrying to think that if Gallas or Vermaelen got injured we’d have to have Silvestre in there. It’s very worrying. If Arsene is going to open his cheque book, then as well as a striker, a defensive midfielder as back up for Song / Denilson and a centre back as back up for Gallas / Vermaelen.
The goals that we conceded were pretty much calamities in defence. Having said that, going forward, we weren’t exactly dynamite. With Van Persie and Niklas Bendtner out, it will be a testing time for us going forward. Eduardo’s best performances have been on the left of the front three and I’m not sure whether he is cut out to be the lone striker in the formation we play. The same goes for Carlos Vela and Theo Walcott. All three players I think could play well in a 4-4-2 with a strike partner – Eduardo and Bendtner seemed to work a couple of years back and Eduardo and Adebayor seemed to be effective before the Crozilian got injured.
Arsene has mentioned that he will be active in the January transfer window and you’d expect a striker to be brought in as a priority – of course, such a statement will spark a lot of rumour and it already has – with Dzeko being very heavily linked once more. He is the type of striker that would fit perfectly into our formation – but can we afford his price tag of £15 million?
Let’s listen to Arsene’s views post Man City:
“They looked more dangerous than us in the final third and at the end of the day their quality offensively paid off and we have to swallow a defeat despite the fact that I believe in large patches of the game we played well. We lacked a little bit of pace and power to take advantage of the good movements we created. I believe as well our young players are not used to playing with such intensity and after an hour we dropped a little bit. But it’s a good experience and it was a difficult game and we were a bit unlucky as well with the goals they scored.”
We had three players in Jack Wilshere, Fran Merida and Criag Eastmond who were the youngsters in the team and they looked like they were a little out of their depth – they are all still teenagers, I think all are 17 or 18, so they all have at least 2 years before they really should be breaking into our first team.
I wouldn’t be worried that we’ve lost the Carling Cup tie and I think the loss could be beneficial long term for the kids. Perhaps they’ve been believing their own hype and maybe they’ll knuckle down a bit more. Jack Wilshere had the worst game I’ve seen him play and inconsistency is part of the youth angle – he did overplay, thought too much and didn’t really ever have control in his mind of how he was trying to play. Don’t get me wrong, I think he will be an awesome player, but this game would have grounded him a little.
Moving on from the game, back to the league, we’ve got Stoke next (I’ll preview the game tomorrow), and we’ve got to get back to winning ways. Song’s suspension means that he will be fit, rested and available for Liverpool. I would really expect Arsene to field a much weakened team against Olympiacos next Weds, and it should be younger than the Man City game. A player I’d like to see is Bartley – a young defender whom really should be given a game, he may have the same impact as Johnny Evans if given the chance….
But first, Stoke at home and after three domestic defeats in a row, a win will restore some of the fragile confidence. Post Stoke, we have two away games – one at Liverpool and one at Burnley – both will be very tough…
Looking at this season so far, it was a good start – a rocky middle – but we do have the potential and it’s time to stand by our team – get behind the team, and give them the support they need. The team have the potential to beat Everton 6-1 away and Blackburn 6-2 at home, but the game is played on confidence. We may have turned a corner, we may have not. We can’t do anything until January, so we really have to forget the recent defeats and concentrate on the current team and helping them by cheering them on…
Live Arsenal, Breathe Arsenal…