The question that is evident in my mind… is… Are we actually resolving the problems from last season? Or are we just trying to “survive” another summer, improve a little, try not to sell players… Now I know we have not yet completed our summer spending on transfers (well, let’s hope not), so perhaps there is more to come…
But it’s time to review what problems we had last season, and how we are going about or have gone about fixing them in the summer so far. The key issues we faced, which ultimately let us down are noted below.
- Goalkeeping Issues
- Defensive Problems
- Individual Mistakes
- Reliance On One Striker
- Strength In Depth
- No Variation In Play
- No Flexibility In Formation
Let’s rattle through the list and see what we’ve done…
Nothing has changed in the goalkeeping department over summer, and there is little or no noise about the position. I think many people see Szcznesy as our number one now and now that he’s had a few games under his belt, the experience factor may improve him next season. A lot of people, including myself thought Almunia would have left by now – but as of yet, there haven’t been any takers. As things stand, we’re going into 2011/2012 with Fabianski as number 2, Mannone as number 3 and Almunia as number 4… Good enough? No, I don’t think so. Szcznesy is a good player, but he is still young and inexperienced – would I like to see a new face in the squad – I would have loved to have brought in Maarten Stekelenburg, who is on the verge of a £6m move to Roma. Will it happen, no, definitely not.
Have we improved? No.
The defensive problems have been very evident for all to see – Arsenal fan or not. At the beginning of the transfer window, Arsene said we’d recruit experienced and tall defenders – possibly two. As things stand, we have yet to recruit one – despite failed bids for Phil Jones, Phil Jagielka, Gary Cahill and Chris Samba. Will we buy? I hope we do. Out of our 4 centre backs, only Vermaelen is reasonably good – Squillaci is very bad and Djourou and Koscielny wouldn’t be first choice at any other club.
Have we improved? No.
There are 6 players who consistently make individual mistakes down at the ‘Grove. Clichy, Eboue, Walcott, Djourou, Koscielny and Almunia. Almunia, Clichy and Koscielny’s mistakes costs us over 15 points and the Carling Cup. Szcznesy cost us a few too – especially Sp*rs away. So how have we improved it? Well, for starters, we have sold Clichy, but will Gibbs be mistake free or will he suffer a learning curve which means he ends up making the same mistakes. Almunia has been relegated to #4 in the pecking order – or perhaps he will leave – has Szcznesy still got a few errors in him. Djourou, Koscielny and Walcott all have another year on them, so perhaps that will help and of course, the return of Vermaelen will mean the two defenders