Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I'm back, but what to make of Arsenal's season thusfar?

Hello again. If you're wondering why I haven't been blogging, try moving from Scotland to London to Paris, with a trip to the US throw in, in the space of about a month. busy, busy, busy.

And a lot has happened since Bolton away.

I was there at both the Hull and Everton games, saw the Sunderland game, but only caught the highlights of the Fenerbache and West Ham matches. And here is what I make of it all.

This season's blip was meant to be at Fulham, but it's clear that with our squad we're going to struggle in quite a few matches this season. Matches in which Denilson, Song and Diaby can't impose themselves will see the rest of the team struggle. I thought this would happen only against the bigger teams but as Hull, Fulham, and even Sunderland have shown, our midfield can be overrun and we can be shut down by almost anyone, especially if Arsene insists on playing a 4-5-1 which congests the midfield and reduces our attacking threat in any case. Against Hull, we looked hopeless and a bit overconfident, against a hungry side who wanted to win far more than we did.

Moreover our defence still hasn't found its balance, but Silvestre might turn out to be a half-decent signing. Against Everton, seeing one of defenders do the no-nonsense stuff well - winning headers, hacking the ball clear - was a joy at times. No letting the ball soar over our heads, or seeing Gallas or Toure try to dribble from defence was very nice. But it's still hard to see how it all fits together. Will either Song or Silvestre actually displace Toure or Gallas? I'm not so sure, especially, as the hopelessly imbalanced starting line-up against Everton showed, Arsene can be his own worst enemy when it comes to picking the team .

But, we've done well to get three wins in the last week or so. A dire first half gave way to a very exciting second against Everton where we seized the initiative with some panache. The game against Fenerbache saw our attacking players star, but our defenders again made to look a bit out of sorts.

So keeping a clean sheet, and winning against West Ham was important, a game in which the importance of Adebayor to the team was hammered home.

But what to make of our season so far? Where is it going? It's too early to really say anything, but we can only afford to lose one, possibly two more games over the course of the whole of the rest of the season if we're serious about winning the league.

I don't think this will happen. We should have won it last year, and I don't think the team is as strong as last season, even if our squad could be with a few more central midfielders.

I actually think that our best hope comes in one of the cup competitions, where we can motivate ourselves for one big game at a time. If anything, the season has reminded me of the 2005/6 season a bit - inconsistent in the league, mixed with impressive CL performances.

The other matter to be resolved is why the club still hasn't appointed a new CEO or CFO. The club can't afford to lose executives and not replace them. Not having a seasoned negotiator in the transfer market may have cost us a few transfers this past summer.

So, I'm still not completely out of hopes, but I think this season may be a bit tough. If the team can find consistency after its early season bump, the league still might be an option, but as it is, cups might be the real source of hope this year.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

better to peak when the trophies are handed out in may. last season we started great and then faded badly....this year will will come good just at the right time...

Anonymous said...

One point behind Chelski, four points ahead of United. It can't be that bad...

Anonymous said...

I feel the team will show more character this reason. Remember 4 of our players made the best 11. with the likes of theo, nasri we have chance of lifting the league.

Anonymous said...

Good to see you're back. I'm slightly more optimistic about the league than you (although we clearly have problems) but I find it strange that Senderos was loaned out to make way for Silvestre. Surely Senderos is a better option than him? I know a lot of people think he was a donkey and he did make quite a few mistakes but with Gallas he's brilliant and why would Silvestre be a better option? I think it shows how desperate we are to find a good centre back that we had to sign Silvestre, which he indicated by saying there weren't many good defensive players available (which I can't agree with, there's always someone somewhere).

Jav said...

Not as strong as last season? Really? I think we are stronger this term.

14 games played in all competitions so far and 40 goals scored against 9 conceded. Best team in Europe thus far.

Jav said...

Silvestre is much better than Senderos who was an absolute liabilty and disaster waiting to happen. I like Silvestre as he bring a no nonsense attitude to defending and I can see either Gallas or Toure flourishing when paired with him.
Also, Senderos was never good with Gallas, he was good with Toure and only because Toure was at the time in good form and forever covering for his frailties.

Many gunners wouldn't like to admit this but I think that Toure and Fabregas have been absolute shite this season. For instance, Fabregas has played 10 games and only contributed 1 goal and 2 assists. Currently, Denilson is our best central midfielder with more successful tackles and passes but of course to criticize Fabregas is almost akin to blasphemy for most gooners.

Also, as much as I like Nasri, I don't think he's a genuine wide man as he seems to lack pace. I still don't understand why Wenger bought him instead of Hatem Ben Arfa who is taller, quicker and more direct. Or why doesn't Wenger try Vela there for a few games, this guy has got pace and the ability to terrorize defences as he did so in Spain.

arcal said...

all the doom and gloom and yet we're still 4 points clear of last year's league champions and even if United win their game in hand, we'll have 1 point more. not too shabby I think...

and jav, for anyone to EVER say Cesc is our worst player.. must be dreaming. we must be really lucky if our 'worst' player is the world class fabregas. u're right, it IS blasphemy and histeria.

Anonymous said...

senderos was loaned out for one reason: Drogba. Now that Drogba isn't playing, we feel safer. But when he comes back from injury, we'll be glad Sendy is in Italy!