Title too dreary? Too pessimistic? 3 losses and 1 draw means 1 point from 12. Relegation form in my opinion. The team and substitutes yesterday were definitely good enough to beat Bolton (without Cahill), so the 0-0 draw is footballastically unacceptable. Before I comment, let me print what Arsene said post match:
We feel we have dropped two points because we had chances to win the game. But we produced a decent game against a difficult opponent who gives you the ball, marks tight and waits for their chance. We took all of the risks and we were a bit unlucky as well because we hit the bar, the post and missed some great chances. In the end we took a gamble to play four strikers and we nearly got caught in the last five minutes from a Bolton chance. But I cannot fault the effort, the commitment and desire to win the game. On the positive side we haven’t lost and we haven’t conceded a goal. Of course we have regrets because we did not take our chances tonight.
You have to expect the manager has to say that. He can’t really come out and say that we’re not good enough. But you have to look past this game and take a look at the last four games and of course generally at the season. Have we been good enough? I don’t think so – not off the pitch and not on the pitch. Right now, I have two options – either I launch full depth into a critical analysis of the team, the players, and the management or I take a step back and figure out where it’s all gone wrong.
The stadium shouldn’t be an excuse, but it’s the only viable excuse that we’ve got.
A whopping £400m debt to figure out is a huge deal. Add in extra banky-type things and you’re probably looking at £500m. No matter how you put it, which way you structure it, paying £500m from somewhere is going to take a toll on your finances. However, Arsene Wenger has known that for a while and therefore put in the youth policy that we have at the moment. More on that later – but whereas we’ve spent £500m of our own money (well self sustainable money), Man City have spent £500m of someone else’s money to get where they are.
The difference between Arsenal and Man City has been £1 billion.
Because we’ve decided to spend £500m on the stadium, in a way, it’s like deciding NOT to spend £500m on transfers. So our transfer spending has therefore taken a £500m hit whereas Man City’s has taken a £500m bonus. It makes sense. And for that matter, some may say it’s admiral where we are considering. Out of the top 7 teams, of which, yes, we are now 7th, the others, have millionaire / billionaire owners. The top five biggest spenders in the Premiership are Man United, Sp*rs, Man City, Chelsea and Liverpool. So with more money, more spending, does come a degree of success, of course. Sp*rs have been spending shed loads for the last 15 years, but it’s only the last two that there signings have actually come together. Liverpool have also spent a hell of a lot of money under Hodgson and then Daglish, but are pretty much on level with us.
Why are fans finding it tough?
Well two reasons.
Firstly, we’re used to caviar, we’re used to challenging for titles, since George Graham and Arsene Wenger (in my lifetime), challenging for titles is all we’ve known. We’ve won so many titles and cups under Arsene. We’ve played good football, had great games, and basically always been on top of the pile. Arsene did warn us that we wouldn’t be challenging for quite some time after the stadium was bought – but soon after, we still were – we’ll up until March anyhow and we were still playing good football. But as we’ve lost the edge, we’re now playing worse, and that results in worse results. So what am I trying to say? Well, it’s all about expectations. And we expect to be finishing in the top two every year, but accept finishing in the top four – the problem is that it doesn’t look likely that we will finish in the top four.
Secondly, we think we could have done better in the transfer window. When you see Arsene splash the cash on players who we don’t rate, or we don’t think can cut it – cite Park, Benayoun, Mertersacker etc from this summer – or insist on playing (or paying) players like Denilson, Bendtner, Vela, Almunia, Diaby etc – it’s makes you think, could the manager do better? It’s dangerous territory for us to think we can do better, but surely looking at players like Demba Ba, Gary Cahill,
But with every singing comes an issue – for example, Demba Ba has been plagued by injuries, in fact, has failed a plethora of medicals in his career, not someone worth taking a gamble on. Especially when you have players at the club such as Chamakh who you don’t think are necessarily as useless as they have been. Gary Cahill has commanded a salary of £120k – something we have not been prepared to pay and something that other clubs such as Liverpool and Sp*rs have baulked at.
Give Arsene some flack, surely?
But surely, if you look at it from Arsene’s point of view, he’s had it tough – in fact, he did say that summer was his hardest summer. Losing Cesc and Nasri so late on in the transfer window and not actually knowing that they were both going until very late on, did not allow Arsene to buy before and then had to buy in a hard market. The desired replaced for Cesc was Mata, but instead we had to promote from within. And then late on in the transfer window, we found out that our best remaining midfielder (Jack Wilshere) was going to be injured for pretty much the season, which led us to the hurried transfer of Mikel Arteta.
From Arsene’s point of view – Cesc, Nasri, Diaby and Wilshere all removed from the first team and only Arteta brought in – why? Surely it’s down to the fact that it happened all too late in the window? Yes, we’ve had the transfer window come and go, and no further action was taken, but again, Diaby and Wilshere were supposed to be back and Eisfeld and Henry have supplemented areas of the pitch that were lower. Yes, I know I said Eisfeld but he’s actually tipped to play in the second half of the season having been named in our Premier League registration for the second half of the season.
Can we finish in the top four?
Where we are now, it’s tough. We are 5 points off fourth and we’re in race with 4 other teams. It doesn’t sound great. But there is always hope. There is always hope that we go on a run of winning games. Arsene, I am sure, is keen to fix what is wrong. Against Blackburn, we suddenly have two fit full backs in Gibbs and Sagna, on either side of Vermaelen and Koscielny. Throw in the excellent talent of Oxlade Chamberlain, who has proved that he is now first choice and replace Ramsey with Rosicky and we can win on Saturday. A win can inspire a win which can surely perpetuate?
Where do we go from now?
Back the team. What else can we do? Arsene out isn’t the answer. More funds from the board isn’t the answer. Releasing available funds from areas around the club coffers perhaps could be an option. There is more money to spend, and there are options of making money. The club need to re-address the balance of the squad. At the moment, we’re not good enough and even if we do manage to correct the first eleven, we have to look at the rest of the squad.
But back the team.
We have to back the team – we have to stop booing and give the team support – cheer when we win, but cheer the team on when we’re not winning. The talent is there, but there is too much self doubt and it comes from within, it comes from lack of support, it comes from booing.
We are the Arsenal. The only team with a “the” in our name. We are united together in our efforts – it may not be going to plan, but never wane in your support. We will be back. We are the Arsenal…