This is probably the worst time to choose to write my first blog on the new look WOA site… but nevertheless, it is time… I’ll start by reflecting on today’s game against Sp*rs… the game was typical of the team at the moment, and three points sum up the game:
- Slow start
- Conceding silly goals
- Second half come back
Typical of a lot of games this season, and we fail to pick up the three points again…
At points in the game, it was very clear that we have a better team, but for the first half, our mental state was not in the correct zone and we really didn’t grab the game by it’s horns. We had a lot of possession, and to be fair the better chances in the first half, but we weren’t quite at the races until the game was out of our sight. Why? Let’s take a look and the key reasons – not just for this game, but I believe the undercurrent to our whole season.
The keeper definitely got a great future ahead of him, but he’s a bit erratic and a little too cocky. He is capable of world class saves, and he’s won us quite a few points this season – Sunderland away comes to mind, when we could have easily conceded if it was not for the Polish stopper – but at the same time, he has no real competition and lapses of concentration mean that he undermines himself. His form is a Jekyll and Hyde and you have to think that this happens because he has too much license to roam around and do Cryuff turns. A better discipline from management and a serious threat from anther goalkeeper would be exactly what he needs.
The Central Defenders
We have three very good defenders in Mertersacker, Vermaelen and Koscielny. I say “very good”, but not excellent. Starting with Mertersacker – he is a great reader of the game in a one on one or long ball situation, but he doesn’t quite like the ball with pace and for some reason seems to not quite understand the offside trap. His lack of pace is a thorn in our defence sometimes – but having said that, he’s probably been better than the other two. Koscielny is having second seasons syndrome, he is generally excellent – he is actually one of my favourite players – but at the same time, a little clumsy and he seems to have a mistake in him at all times. And then you have our captain and unfortunately, I think the pressure of being captain is too much for him. He was Mr Reliable, but I don’t think anyone would disagree if I were to say that this is his worst season in an Arsenal shirt. A no nonsense defender with a strong mentality, a defender that no-ones likes to play against is what we need, and then one of the current three to compliment him.
Too much expectation from Jack
Without of a shadow of a doubt, there is way too much expectation on Jack at the moment. You could see against Sp*rs that there was an expectation for him to create something out of nothing and to carry the team and if he can’t then we don’t seem to be able to do anything… we need more personalities in the team.
He’s our main striker but unfortunately for me, he just isn’t the number one we need up front. He’s miles behind the likes of Van Persie, Eduardo, Henry and even Ade… I watched the Real Sociedad game and Carlos Vela was so much better than Giroud, it was crazy. He doesn’t seem to ever stamp his authority on a game. Today he had the ball in very good areas and he just seemed to play like it was a training game. There was no fire in his belly, no desire to be the best and win the game for his team.
Now this is definitely Arsene’s fault… playing the wrong players against the wrong teams. Today, Podolski, Rosicky and Koscielny should have started ahead of Giroud, Ramsey and Metersacker – yes, easy to say in hindsight, but I think most people agreed that before the game too…! Taking off Jenkinson and moving Ramsey to right back is just bizarre. Not just today, but most games, there is a weird surprise in the team selection. Every year their is a weird selection of personnel, a weird recruitment and selling policy which has resulted in a very unbalanced squad and a really laboring to achieve anything.
Can we scrape into the top 4? It’s going to be hard…
We’re fifth now and 5 points behind 4th. It’s not impossible, but baring in mind the above, it won’t be easy. We do have a series of winnable games, but when you lose to Swansea and Norwich, then you can’t consider any game as winnable unless we actually go out and try and win and bring home the three points.
The remaining league fixtures are:
- Swansea (a)
- Reading (h)
- WBA (a)
- Norwich (h)
- Everton (h)
- Fulham (a)
- Man United (h)
- QPR (a)
- Wigan (h)
- Newcastle (a)
We have a better squad than every team in the next 10 games except Man United. We can go on a run. Will we? We’ll have to wait and see. We have to wait for 13 days until we take on Swansea. And that game won’t be easy at all…
Welcome back to WOA and from now on, we’ll be blogging once per Sunday and once midweek, around Weds or Thurs… and instead of mini-blogs, we’re turning into more of a digest, a summary and a discussion…