Howdie folks… A short blog today, as am writing this on the Eurostar on the way back from Paris and Marrakech. After a 6 hour delay in Morocco, I’m heading back considerably later than I thought I would!
This weekend and the game against Bolton was the final nail in the coffin. Another loss and another failure to get easy points – for a team that is trying to be Champions that is. 6 points from the last 7 games and only one win in 10 games. It’s not championship form – in fact it’s relegation form.
Personally, I am at a loss to how these same players can win some tough games home and away earlier in the season but crumble when it really counts. I recently talked about how our 4-5-1 formation and lack of adapting per game and during games affects – something relatively surprising in itself, especially from such an experienced manager… But more recently, I have begun to think it’s something much deeper.
The formation and personnel was good enough to get us into the position to win the league in the first place, so there must be more to it than that – and in addition it does put the manager’s lack of changing it into perspective.
Against Bolton our line up was our strongest team – Szcznesy, Sagna, Djourou, Koscielny, Clichy, Jack, Song, Cesc, Theo, Van Persie and Nasri. On paper, an unstoppable force capable of beating anyone. Personally I think Arsene is a little bewildered that despite our injuries getting better and us finally being able to field our first team, the results have been so bad. In fact, the more players we get back from injury, the worse our form gets!
Questions do come to mind…
Has the manager not been able to motivate the players?
To have such a talented group of players who have shown how good they are previously – but yet not be up for it when it counts – does that cite a lack of motivation? If playing good football and finishing in the top four good enough for the club, and the manager constantly repeats such a statement in the press – then does this filter to the players? Do they get demotivated by lack of the club’s ambition? When our players play badly but our manager backs them and continues to play them – we become a club and a team that accepts mediocrity.
Have the players let down the manager?
It’s clear to see that these players have the ability to play better – we all know that these players have other lives – the reason Niklas Bendtner was omitted from a crucial game in the run in was due to injury – but he’s out partying and clubbing. Cesc is too busy worrying about his twitter follower count and putting his want to play Barcelona ahead of himself keeping fit.
When called upon to deputise our second string has been woeful – not being able to beat the likes of Leyton Orient or Huddersfield is simply not good enough.
We have a massive wage bill, players on long term contracts and well looked after. In my opinion, they have let the manager down big time. They’ve cruised the recent games and in some games, they not tried hard enough. We have a big squad of under performers. It’s down to youth – but despite youth, you’d expect more from the players.
Is the squad simply not good enough?
Surely the biggest question. The fans have believed that the likes of the team that played against Bolton to be good enough to win titles. Last season’s excuse was injuries during the run in – but this season’s excuse is…
I have learnt that our first XI is simply not good enough – partially down to some of the formations and tactics but mentally and technically they are not the team that we think they are. Our first team is a big factor of experience away from being there – and our reserve players, the likes of Eboue, Denilson, Diaby, Bendtner and Chamakh aren’t good enough for the Arsenal. Before you say that I’m being harsh – the question to ask is whether any of the aforementioned list of players would get into United, Chelsea’s or even City’s first XI – the answer is hell no!
So where does that leave us next season? First, is Cesc staying? If not, replace him. Build a team with the rest of the first XI. Go back to 442. Get in a good number 2 – get in a world class striker and centre back. Get rid of the overpaid fringe players and make them hungry for success.
We are close to something, but we’ve got to figure out what that something is before we can make it happen!
Til tomorrow my friends…