Friday, February 20, 2009

Turning point or false dawn? If Arsenal's season doesn't get going soon it never will.

The club is in a funny place at the moment.

I suppose we're meant to be feeling optimistic after the 4-0 drubbing of Cardiff on Monday, but I can't quite buy it.

For one, the major, overriding positive point of that game, Eduardo's explosive return, has already been rubbed out, with the Croazillian picking up a hamstring injury.

This being an Arsenal injury, the original prognosis of two weeks was, of course, wrong. Arsene reported in the press conference today that he'll be out til at least the Blackburn game on 14 March. Without wanting to be too pedantic, that's 3 and a half weeks.

The other big positive is, obviously, the impending debut of Andrey Arshavin. I don't think he'll start tomorrow; I'm pretty confident that Vela and Nasri will continue in the wide positions, with Andrey coming on at around the 65-70 minute mark, possibly earlier if we look a real shambles. It's a tall order for a short guy: turn our season around or welcome back to the UEFA cup. Has he got it in him to adapt to English football in record time? To get fit enough to play after having not really played since November? I guess we'll find out.

Because the alternative is Eboue, who, by rights, should have been suspended for 3 matches, if not sacked, by the club for gross, and continual, stupidity and selfishness. If I was Arsene, I would torn up his contract in the dressing room after the Sp*rs game. He's had his chances and plenty of them; he should leave in the summer, especially as Vela already looks a better player.

Whether we are turning the season round or not, the important fixtures are going to be coming thick and fast in the next few days. Roma is imminent, as is a series of fixtures that could, very easily, see us through to the semi-finals of the FA Cup.

Yet, we remain 7, yes 7, points behind Villa and 5 points behind a chavski side which will surely go through a resurgence with Hiddink in charge.

We've made this season exceptionally hard for ourselves by not sufficiently strengthening in the summer. Our midfield has been inexcusably poor since December, inspiring an unbeaten run which is almost a parody of the invincibles.

Yet with a little quality returning, and by not entirely ruling ourselves out of things, maybe there's hope left yet for this year. Perhaps we could surprise a few people yet.

Or maybe Eboue starts tomorrow.


Anonymous said...

C'mon Guy!
There are other positives from our uninspiring unbeaten run that suggest we could be turning our season around: Tighter defense & some stability in midfield offered by Song (yes Song)!

I think the pure urgency displayed by the team as a whole has been the only thing holding the team back offensively, and I, for one, believe Eduardo's impact has more than just remind the players what playing for the arsenal is all about, and there must be a big noost in the belief of the players that they can yet achieve somehing special this year!

Anonymous said...

Agree with the statatement. Don't for a moment think AA's arrival will ignite the gunners. Footbal is full of instances where big money signings struggle to make an
impact initially but gradually won the fans over.
Hopefully his presence will galvanise the gunners though in truth AW shd be held accountable with his young but potential star signings.There is no need to go over whta has happened barring injuries but if the same manner is used to prepare for next season and the gunners fail to shine we will know whom to look for.

Anonymous said...

Have to agree,Song and Denilson are only average defensive midfeilders, buck all creativity.Probably why Cecs int that on fire this season,he hasnt got freedom of last year.Why o why did three world class holding midfeilders have get let go,Nasri could play in the midle with any of them.Granted all these 00's arnt all down to Song and Denilson...Adeboyer is a big headed lazy coont

Jeff said...

I'm with you on Eboue.

Anonymous said...

if eboue starts tomorrow there is definately somethin up with wenger. I am a big fan of his so this isn't a dig but if eboue starts before vela or arshavin he needs to sort it out. the fact that he called eboue a "talented player" on the website proves that monsieur wenger needs his eyes checked. Eboue is sh*te. ferguson, mourinho or benitez would not take eboue's sh*t and even tho i can't stand any of those managers at least they would'nt play the abomination that is eboue. Anyway i can't wait for tomorrow's game and hopefully see arshavin show what he can do roll on 3.00! come on u gunners!!!

Anonymous said...

Cardiff were shit. It was a great game for Eduardo to return to, but, really, nothing can be certain from it. 75% of Arsenal's shots were on goal -- that is horrible from Cardiff, and makes the game a good feeling and memory, and great for Eduardo's return, but an indicator of nothing.

Vela excels against Championship sides, but I don't think he has proven himself against PL teams yet. So, since Wenger has to try to win, instead of indulge his hatreds, you might find Eboue on the squad tomorrow. And you should welcome it, if you like Arsenal. Eboue is a better defender than any of the alternatives on the right.

Actually, I think Wenger will start Arshavin, and plan to replace him when tired with Eboue, if the game is in doubt, or someone else, if not. Eboue will start against Roma, so he won't get6 a full run-out.