Sunday, November 23, 2008

Six things Arsenal can do to get out of this crisis.

I said after the Man United game that that win had to be the start of something bigger. It was, but unfortunately not in the manner we all had hoped for.

The club is now in crisis; it's as simple as that. Some might say that they'd quite like to be in a crisis like ours: still in all major competitions, and only 1 point away from securing champions league qualification again.

But that is not enough for fans who pay the highest ticket prices in Europe and deserve better than hollow promises about 'potential', nor for a club which has a massive stadium debt to be repaid and which, with the resources it has available to it, should have achieved more in the last few years.

So what can be done?

1) Don't blame Gallas for everything.

Yes, gallas made some exceedingly stupid comments recently. And, really he hasn't been the best captain in the club's history.

But until the Birmingham game last year, his captaincy appeared to be an inspired move by Wenger, as he scored crucial goals against his old club, the mancs and wigan and took us to the top of the table. All that ended during that horrible day in Birmingham.

It is wholly incorrect to lay the blame for the current fiasco at his door. He is still best central defender at the club and if he can swallow his ego, it'd be nice to think he could stay on, so we don't lose yet more experience from the side. If his ego continues to be a problem, however, it's time to go.

2)Make Arsene realise Arsenal is not a crèche.

Arsene's goal of taking a group of youngsters and developing them into a team was highly laudable; a beacon of decency, perhaps, in a footballing elite otherwise ruled almost absolutely by money.

But it hasn't worked. The plan would only have worked if players stayed on, year-in, year-out. But players have left and haven't been replaced, and we now have a wholly inadequate midfield, a patchy defence, and a misfiring attack.

I said before the game yesterday that if a midfield of Diaby-Song-Denilson-Nasri started, we wouldn't win, and we'd be lucky not to lose. That is a team of inexperience and inadequacy. Of the four only 1, Nasri, has showed anything to make me believe they will make it to be a top player.

Song is too lazy and over-confident; Diaby is lazy, offers no defensive-bite, and has but a few tricks to his name. Denilson might be a good squad player but is not good enough to be either a holding midfielder or a creative playmaker.

We need new central midfielders. This was clear in August. It was clear the minute we lost Flamini, Gilberto and Diarra. I don't care if these player's careers are 'killed', as Arsene puts it, if new blood is brought in. The club, not their career, is the most important thing.

3) If older players aren't good enough, get ones who are.

Robin van Persie. There's no denying the skill or the talent. But where's the consistency? Where's the work-rate, the off-the ball effort? Where's the ability to use anything but his bloody left-foot? At Eastlands he went missing, again. He increasingly appears as a luxury player in a team that can't afford luxuries, at the moment.

Almunia. Still not good enough. The mere thought of this pile of mediocrity being made captain astounds me. Two penalty saves in two years don't make up for all the saves he should have made, or for all the balls he should have claimed in the air.

Eboue. Another good start to a season; another reversion to type. Get gone.

Toure. I still think he has a future at the club but he should not be starting at the moment and that's worrying.

4) Buy in January; buy in the summer.

Given that rosicky and eduardo have been out for so long, it is perhaps justifiable to say that they will be like two new signings when they return, if they can reach recapture any of their previous form.

But we need another big, tall, centre-back (NOT SENDEROS). We need 1 if not two central midfielders. We could also do with a wide player, given theo's injury and eboue/Diaby as the alternative.

3-4 players need to get into the squad then, and 2-3 which can start contributing almost immediately. If this means paying top-dollar for premier-league players to do this, so be it. We have the money.

5) Wenger has til the end of next season to prove he can still challenge for silverware.

Wenger fucked up this summer. Intentionally, or through an inability to get transfer targets, he's left our squad in the shit.

We're not going to win the league this season, and we only have an outside shot at the Champions League. A FA Cup win, at this rate, would be a nice little bauble to get some good feeling going in the club.

But, if there are no trophies by the end of last season, and Arsene is still stubbornly sticking to youth over buying, his position has got to come under review.

6) Appoint a new CEO and end the take-over speculation.

The CEO is a no-brainer. Arsene needs someone to reign him in, and to help him get transfer targets. If Arsene doesn't like that, he needs to be told to put up and shut up. The club is in disarray at the moment both off and on the field, as we have no leadership in either area.

The speculation surrounding the club has to end. Either the fat Russian twat or the moustachioed American slightly less of a twat needs to buy or sell.

So, there you have it. None of these steps will be easy, but something has to give at the club at the moment. Because otherwise we may not qualify for the CL this season, let alone challenge for the title.



Anonymous said...

I agree!
We need to buy Matthew Upton and put Toure as central holding midfield

Anonymous said...

No.1 .....impossible

Anonymous said...

impassioned Goonerboy

The United victory was incredibly deceptive

You only need to look at the stats to realise that for once the boot was on the other foot - lots of chances and no finishing touch

And a team that played into your hands - trying to beat you at the beautiful game

What has followed that game has been amusing for the outsider

Firstly the creche predicatbly delivered against a Wigan defence containing Melchiot and Titus. Though the victory was lauded, it again didn't take a genius to see a false dawn on the horizon...

What has surprised me however is the manner in which Arsenal have then been comprehensively outplayed by both Villa (a stubborn and powerful team as we saw on Saturday) and by Shitty (a team with a quite frankly woeful defence if also an admittedly exciting forward line)

Factor in the Gallas outpouring and you have a comedy the likes of which Shakespeare would have been proud of...

How Arsene reacts now I honestly cannot predict. However, I do think that this is potentially the defining moment of his managerial career. His admirable philosophy does not look sustainable in a league (game perhaps) where success is based on money and power.

But will he sell out!?!

It remains to be seen.

What I would say, is that the position of Gallas is arguably no longer tenable. He has lost the respect of his peers and has behaved so ineptly that he simply has to go.

I personally think that attempting a rehabilitation would ultimately be pointless and potentially counter productive.

No player is bigger than the team after all.

Good post anyway Goonerboy

Anonymous said...

Well where do we start.

Wenger has lost the dressing room and many of the supporters, he has, over the past two years made some incredibly bad decisions:

1 - He made Gallas captain, and maintained this for thsi season even after the Birmingham debacle

2 - He failed to buy a Centra Back and Central Defensive Midfield player

3 - He's not gracious in defeat, sometimes you need to admit it is your team, or yourself, and not blame everyone else. As a result we become a laughing stock

4 - He plays to many players out of position i.e Denilson, Eboue

5 - Wenger seems to have become stuborn, and unwilling to alter his ways to suit the new world

As a reult Arsenal (as in us) will NOT win a damn thing until he changes or Arsenal change him!

He was great, but now...

Anonymous said...

The calls for Wenger's head are wrong and ungrateful. Regardless of whatever happens, he should never be sacked. How short are some of your memories? Unbelievable.

I'm as disillusioned as the rest of you. Wenger has turned into a modern day Nero.

He needs to take the Ferguson approach to squad building. The infamous Roy Keane rant on MUTV was a watershed moment in United's history. He sacked the captain, spent a pile of cash on a mixture of experienced players and young talents and won back to back titles and the Champions League within 2 and a half years.

Wenger, take note.

Anonymous said...

Also, we probably won't find a better keeper than Almunia for anything less than a world record fee for a keeper.

Look at the market. £8m buys you a Gomes, ffs.

We should stick with Almunia while Wenger gauges Fabianski's development or one of his scouts spots another Petr Cech.

Anonymous said...

My point exactly, Wenger will have to be asked to move on (or upstairs) if he does not take the Ferguson approach. He needs to stir the pot and make some manly decisions.

At times like this you have to look at boxing, you can only get hit so many times, and reach a certain age before you end up punch drunk and start looking like a sad shadow of your once great self.

Anonymous said...

your anger seems to have clouded your judgement GB.

wenger deserves so much more respect than these arsenal fans give him. whenever arsenal beat Man Utd or Chelsea etc Wenger is proven right, these kids do have the class to compete for the title. the biggest thing is finding consistency. a key ingredient in achieving this is continuity in team selections.

people always say 'Arsenal have a weak squad...this is wengers fault' yet no one ever seems to say 'arsenal have 6 key first team players either injured or coming back from injury'. (Eduardo, Ade, Cesc, Rosicky, Theo, and Eboue). how would liverpool do with out Torres, Kuyt, Gerrard, Alonso, Riera, and Arbeloa (ive tried to match the players that hold similar weight at anfied as those mentioned at Arsenal). do we think liverpool would be sitting pretty at the top of the league? or would they be 4th?

yes a new signing would be nice, most notably in central midfield, and i agree that Fabianski's time must surely come, but we dont need 5! gallas is a good centre back, and when Djourou plays they look really strong as a pairing, (eg chelsea had just one effort on target on sunday), the full backs are two of the best in the league, and the strikers will score goals when the injury crisis ceases.

further, how exciting is arsenal's medium term future. agreed you must compete in the short term (which you are incidently, 7pts off the top of the PL with 6 injuries and progress into 2nd round of CL aint too bad by my books) the club also has the most breathtaking youngsters in the game. this short termism that seems to be cancerous in arsenal fans needs to be got rid of.

a signing in january and a little let up on the injury front and arsenal's season will not be over... let alone wengers tenure.

Goonerboy said...

It's not really short-termism though - I think most arsenal fans are willing to stick with wenger through the bad times. It's just we've had a two results this season - beating united and chelsea - which have clouded how well we've actually been playing. It's no good beating the biggest teams if you lose to Stoke, Hull etc. It's short-termism to say that wenger's strategy is vindicated by a few big wins when we haven't won anything as a club for a while. No one wants arsene to go, but when we're so close to success and he refuses to make signings (ie over the summer) it's maddening. Who's to say he'll even buy someone in the January transfer window?

the thing about injuries bugs me because since 2005/6 we seem to have always had a huge injury list by about mid-season. Football365 always talks about the need for us to have an overhaul of our medical department and I think they're right.