In the aftermath of the United game, it’s allowed a lot of us to reflect and understand where we are right now. We’ve seen various different Arsenal’s this season – the ones that beat Braga 6-0, Blackpool 6-0, Shaktar 5-1 and of course Man City 3-0… but at the same time, we’ve seen the “why didn’t we turn up?” performances against Newcastle, West Brom and this week against Man United.
It’s extremely disappointing to see a team turn up devoid of ideas, devoid of that extra 5% that makes the difference. Our flair players weren’t exactly flairy and at the moment we’ve become two reliant on individual moments of skill to win games. Against Fulham at home, we had to look to French Player of The Year Samir Nasri to score two wonder goals for us to win the game. Against United, we couldn’t play well through our “passing game” but didn’t really have any idea how to attack. You could see in the second half Nasri was trying his hardest to create something, but he looked like the only likely source of any point of attack and United duly stuck two players on him.
Sometimes I wonder what on earth we do in training. Triangles are all good and nice to watch, but we need to use them more effectively. We need to so the one two’s into the box, and then shoot when we receive the ball again. We need to do those through balls into the area, turn and whack the ball into the back of the net – am I reminiscing too much about the days of Bergkamp, Henry, Petit, Vieira, Pires and Ljungberg… maybe I am – but surely so is Arsene? Although these players are so not in the same league.
One player for me who has lost a considerable amount of stock is Andrei Arshavin – when he first came, he was a player who could make a difference – remember those 4 goals at Anfield – but nowadays his shots barely hit the target and if they do, they are dragged slowly across the ground. Earlier in the year Arshavin actually said that he wasn’t the player he was when he joined us. I am actually quite worried about his form. Every team needs match winners, and at the moment, we have one and only one in Samir Nasri. Robin Van Persie isn’t fit, Chamakh needs service on a plate, Bendtner is not at the races, Vela is still being frozen out, Cesc wants to be in Barcelona… it’s all a little frustrating.
I still believe we have a very talented squad, but we do lack natural leaders – with Cesc & RvP being out of the team for so long, and both so unfit at the moment – they can’t be leaders and without Vermaelen in our squad at all, there is a lack of leadership at the back. We’ve played three keepers in the Premiership this season, and that shows a lack of choice – no matter what Arsene says, players like Almunia and Fabianski are not his first choice any more – trying to sign a 37 year old Schwarzer showed that. Perhaps now that Szcznesy has had his debut, he’ll become a fixture.
Who would your first choice XI be? Heck, even I can’t figure it out… Would Szcznesy be our choice?
Sagna – Vermaelen – Djourou – Gibbs
Would that we the ideal back four? Sagna has been the constant in the defence so far – Vermaelen is by far our best defender and Djourou has been absolutely outstanding and very dominant in the air – and well Clichy, as much as I love the guy, he is way too error prone at the moment. Gibbs has been remarkable at left back – he has his faults – but is definitely the best left back going forward…
Then we have the midfield, we have a plethora of players – Denilson, Song, Wilshere, Ramsey, Cesc and Rosicky are all players that play in the middle. Wilshere has been a shining light this season, but we have to understand that he will have his good games and his bad games – against United, it was one of his worst performances of the season. Yes, Arsene has a lost of trust in Wilshere, but should he really play him in every single game – from going from not in the team to suddenly play every game is very strange. Most players of his age will be in and out of the team and that helps them be more consistent. With Diaby out injured, we do lack a presence in midfield too.
And Walcott? Well, he is an enigma isn’t he? His best assets are his pace and his finishing – not his dribbling – so why is he forced to play on the right of midfield when he would be so much better up front.
Is Arsene suffering from too many square pegs in round holes? Everyone seems to be playing out of position at the moment… Does he need some help?
I don’t know… but do any of us?
I’ll leave you with a battle cry from Szcznesy… our new number one?
“I really do [want more now]. I wanted it before, but now I know how it feels to play in the Premier League so I really want to get more of it and come out with a clean sheet next time, and the three points. We know we are a good side, our confidence is not any lower than it was before the game. We are good enough to recover and if we want to aim for the title we have to get all three point.
Come on you Arsenal!