Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Let's keep up winning and scoring ways.

The relief at the end of the Bolton game was palpable. Finally, we'd beaten a team who we'd more or less outplayed. Of course, we should have won by 3or 4 goals to one. Take a bow Messrs Diaby, Hleb and Baptista: your finishing was truly woeful.

We had the chances in the opening five minutes of the second half to wrap up the game quite comfortably; that we only took one of these, Cesc's superb, if convoluted finish, made for a distinctly uneasy second period. Bolton always seemed one set-piece away from equalising, and given that the oaf that is Kevin Davies suddenly decided that hitting keepers over the head is fine - why has no one spoken of this incident aside from on Arsenal blogs? English exceptionalism per chance? - it was wonderful when the final whistle went.

Clearly we need to build on the major positive: our midfield has started scoring. Rosicky is a class act and his goal seemed to show an Arsenal midfielder finally driving hard into the box and really wanting a goal. He should get a minimum of ten next season, or he's not fulfilling his potential. Cesc should also be in double figures. It's bizarre that after starting the season with two wonderful finishes in Zagreb, Cesc has struggled to find the net. But his goal-tally should also increase with time. Which leaves the Hleb enigma. Now widely derided, it would seem, by the majority of Gooners, it was a defence splitting pass from Alex which allowed Adey to cross the ball for the first goal. He does have a role in the team; but will it ever be a goal-scoring one? And if it isn't, is he expendable?

Freddie had his best game in a long-time, but again could not find the net. My money would be on Ribery coming in as his replacement come summer. As for poor Abou, his head was down at the end of the game, after three poor misses.

I particularly appreciated the moments when our midfielders finally made surging runs forward, instead of merely passing the ball horizontally. Rosicky and Cesc have the power to make these runs and should make more of them. They unsettle defenders in a way passing sometimes doesn't.

At the back Kolo's contradictory form continued. Beaten in the air and outmuscled for the first goal, he still looks a class defender. But can him and Gallas really form a top-class, complementary partnership together? I'm not so sure. I would also hope that Arsene is thinking hard about the future of our right-backs. We've been linked to Daniel Alves again, who seems a Wenger signing, and would surely be an improvement on either Hoyte or Eboue, neither of whom are more than squad players.

Tonight we need to hope our midfield chips in with a few more goals, for a win which would further cement fourth place. Let's hope we can finally start to build some consistency, even if it has come far too late.

In other news, what is going on with Kerry Gilbert?


Anonymous said...

Signing Alves won't solve the current problem; but signing one or two strikers would.

Anonymous said...

I would be happy to see Alves come in and challenge. Or any decent right back for that matter. I thought Eboue was awful on sat. Poor for the first goal, didnt attack space, offered little going fwd and suspect defending.

He needs to buck up his ideas and I think a decent signing to challenge him would be welcome.

Here's to a good result tonight.

Anonymous said...

I am not saying Eboue is good but as anon says buying a right back wont turn us from under acheivers to title contenders. a winger and striker might do.
with the latter I think a fully fit Henry is about the best in the world and next season's hopes do rest on him firing 30+ goals as he used to. Adding Bendtner might be the only depth we add in the summer.

the winger situation is pitiful. I dont care if Hleb & Ros are on top form or the worst form ever, the club doesn't have wingers who can score a few goals, and its holding us back. I am not saying we should sell those players, but lets buy a winger.

Jens' performances recently have also been very worrying. if he is number 1 choice next season that will costs us maybe 8 points or more.
Other than Jens, freddie, flamini, Aliadiere and Beast are probably favourites to go. i dont really see that having Muamba or Song back is beneficial to us either. but I would bring back Gilbert, by all accounts he is pretty decent going forward.