Tuesday, December 23, 2008

With Cesc's injury, if Arsenal don't buy they will not qualify for the Champions League next season.

I did wonder when I first heard the news whether the injury would be worse than first feared. The words 'knee' and 'ligaments' rarely equate to weeks; months are usually the order of the day, especially given our medical department. So it was no surprise to find out today that Cesc has been ruled out for the next four months, undoubtedly missing our Champions League encounters with Roma.

So, what's happened to our midfield? The midfield that took us to the top of the table last year was Hleb, Flamini, Cesc, Rosicky. Rosicky, unsurprisingly, soon became injured and I have my doubts about whether he'll ever play for the club again. Flamini messed us around over his contract all year and screwed us over at the eleventh hour, in an entirely predictable turn of events, to join the rossonieri. And Hleb buggered off to Barca.

So of a midfield that could have won trophies, some of them probably won't play for us again this season (wait and see Cesc and Rosicky's injuries suddenly extend when they're due back) and others no longer play for the club at all.

And what have we been left with? A mix of mediocrity, dross and alleged potential. We have Denilson who is neither good nor bad; Song who has the potential to be a good holding midfielder, in about five years time; and Diaby who infuriates far more than he pleases with his multitude of touches and spins and dopiness.

Added to that we have Eboue (no comment), Nasri who, hopefully, will pick up less injuries and start contributing a bit more consistently to games, and the kids: Ramsey, Wilshere, Vela, Randall, Merida, etc. Should we really be in a situation when we're relying on 16/17/18 year olds to come in and make an immediate impression? I don't think so.

Ultimately then, our midfield isn't good enough; and I don't think it'll massively improve in the short-term. As such, we're in real danger of coming 5th or worse this season, unless we get some proven talent into the squad.

This entire situation was entirely predictable when we lost players and didn't replace them, or, more to the point, replaced them inadequately. How many times do we have to say it? Losing Flamini, Hleb, Gilberto, and Diarra, hoping Cesc can play every game in a season, and relying on Diaby, Denilson and Song to step up and do a job is pure foolishness. Our midfield was perilously weak already, and just became, perhaps, fatally weaker.

We need players who come in and do a job now
not later. Not young players from the French and African leagues; experienced players, perhaps even from the, wait for it, Premiership.

We could spend £30 million in the transfer window and get our season back on track. Buying 2 or 3 players for £10m each can only improve the squad. Or we could continue to put our faith in this hodge-podge of mediocrity and potential and hope for the best.

What's even more galling is that with a slightly better squad we would be top of the what's been a very poor league this season. The other clubs in the top four are stuttering, and yet we've not taken advantage of this at all.

So, here it is: merry Christmas Arsene and Arsenal fans everywhere.

Let's hope Arsene brings some presents or it could be a bleak new year.


Anonymous said...

agree, and it's all. Some people MUST open their eyes now.

Anonymous said...

Why dont you state the obvious!

Anonymous said...

Completely agree with everything in this article. I'm utterly depressed after hearing this news about Cesc, things were bad enough with him in the team, but without him we've got a relegation team's midfield. This could all have been avoided by Wenger if he'd actually SPENT SOME MONEY and showed some ambition. If he doesn't bring in at least 2 (if not 3) players in January, Arsenal are stuffed and the long term future of the club could as a result be in jepeordy.

Anonymous said...

Mark my word !!! He will not strengthen the squad.

Anonymous said...

you seem to repeat yourself over and over again.are you actually a supporter or a new breed moaner?
We seem to have inherited supporters who just like to whinge on and on.Its getting me down so much I feel like handing my season ticket in which I have had for 25 years.
Would you like to buy it or would you rather stay in your armchair in the warm?

Anonymous said...

My money is on Denilson, Diaby, Ramey and Song to come good and drive our Cesc-less season to 2nd place and a cup. Those who are so certain that we must spend money on new players or face mid-table mediocrity should stick to Premier League computer games for their kicks. You betray your plastic football hearts through your equation of transfer deals with success.

Goonerboy said...

I'm a season-ticket holder, Dave.

Anonymous said...

I am also a season ticket holder and even though we needed strengthening after we were not good enough last season, I believe wenger knows what he is doing but I feel that he has placed his faith in players who have consistently let him down and I am not just talking about the young players. A lack of leadership and consistently poor problems defensively as a whole team leads me to believe that this team will not even win a cup as they are incapable of keeping a clean sheet. We reward mediocrity with pay rises and contracts that have not been justified. This player potential wenger has invested in so heavily has let him donw and the natives are getting restless. with the credit crunch and mediocre football, I can see the club playing to half empty stadium, with the model of self sustainability a mere pipedream. If the corporate brigade who this club have courted assiduosly leave in droves we will be in a financially precarious position and I doubt wenger will spend any money.

Anonymous said...

During the game supporters should support and encourage their team. Arsenal played much better after Adebayor was sent off partly because the crowd really got behind them. In the period after Kean's goal a vocal minority got at the players and Wenger, these are the people that deserve criticism because they are not doing their best for the team.

After a game all supporters will have an opinion on how things can be improved. All teams can be improved and Arsenal certainly need to improve because, for me the objective is to see the club compete and win major honours and we are not doing this any more.

This seasons teams was already off the pace. The loss of our only world class player is a big setback but even with Cesc we were short. People are stating the obvious because of frustration not because they do not support their club.

Frustration comes because we do not understand the real situation because of course we arenot told, Arsenal do not have to and probably regard is as commecially confidential. There is talk of money for transfers, but our wage bill is already high (bigger than ManU?) so maybe this blocks any additions. This implies we have to sell some big earners to make some cash available.

Anonymous said...

too bad so sad limey fucks. FORZA ROMA


Anonymous said...

For years now Goonerboy you have ridiculed supporters that have bemoaned Wenger not spending big on EPL players. Now a sudden reversal. You have consistently given examples of overpriced players going from one EPL team to another – examples; Rio, Carrick, Veron, Dyer, Leeds circa 2000 etc. etc. etc. To be fair to Wenger he knew he needed a midfielder in the summer but he ultimately has the long term success of Arsenal FC at heart. As such rather than splash the cash on mediocrity he simply promoted (what must admittedly be regarded as the mediocre) fringe players within his squad. But at least he saved £10-£20million and has given your youngsters some great experience. January is now the month to spend the saved cash. (It is what Arsene has done in the past and it’s what Arsene will do now.)

One of the very few players that could have really contributed to both Arsenals short, and long term success, was Xabi Alonso. And true to form Arsene courted him. It was simply unfortunate that Liverpool didn’t get Barry (a player that in my opinion was hugely over priced) and in turn refused to sell Alonso (for what would have been a great bit of business by Arsene at approx £12-£15million). Arsene has known all along that he ideally needs an extra midfielder, but he won’t waste his money on rushed transfer deals that will only jeopardise Arsenals future. A couple of players will now come in to cover injuries and Arsenal will be there or thereabouts come May.

On a personal note I would love to see Agger come in from Liverpool. There has been a lot of talk of him leaving for Italy, with Rafa seeming to prefer Skrtel, Carra and even Hyypia at times, but I think he would be an excellent centre back for Arsenal. More likely a centre midfielder is where he will spend money with Xabi Alonso again being mentioned with Arteta. Of the two I see Arteta as the more likely and even, perhaps, the more beneficial. Arteta would be cheaper, (surely after the 6months service that Alonso has given Liverpool he wouldn’t be sold for less than £18-20million, while strapped for both cash, and strikers, Everton may sell for as little as £10-£13million to raise funds for Wager Love) and his class, vision and technique make him more of an Arsenal player than perhaps any other in the EPL. If Arsenal are going to challenge in Cesc’s absence they need a player with Arteta’s proven ability to create chances – those that have seen Arsenal recently would agree that it has been, at times, pretty turgid viewing, with Diaby, Song and Denilson lacking that key to unlock defences. I would also love to see Arteta and Cesc eventually pair up together. I really think it would take Arsenal to another level again.

Anonymous said...

For those who think Arsene knows what he is thinking - what do you make of the continuous "Arsene can spend if he wants to" dialog coming from the board?
Is it vision that he doesnt share with the board?

Anonymous said...

Just what is your problem with Denilson? Have you seen his match stats?


You're not making sound judgement.