Saturday, February 18, 2012

"Get Me Two Pencils and a Pair of Underpants" - Another Trophyless Season Beckons.

While we're not in full-on panic, everything is lost, 'Rome is burning' mode quite yet - let's wait until the Spurs game next weekend to see if that's necessary - it's fair to say that the last two games have meant that we are on the verge of a pretty awful state of affairs. Just like Blackadder, we are faced with a crisis, and, again like Blackadder, I'm not sure that two pencils and a pair of underpants will be enough to see ourselves out of it.

I said last week before the Sunderland league match that Arsenal were facing seven games that would define our season. And, with only three of them played, so it has proved. On a cold, rational level, we won the most important match of these three. Beating Sunderland in the league means we are in fourth, and getting into the Champions League each year is vital to the financial standing and overall stature of the club, however soulless and disspiriting our CL runs have become in recent seasons. Without CL football, we can't attract the best players, or even the most promising young players, and we aren't guaranteed the big bucks that keep the club ticking over. It also keeps, in my opinion, fan dissatisfaction just about at bay.

But on an irrational level, the last two games have been terrible. Just like in February of 2007, we've seen our challenge in the FA Cup and CL snubbed out in the matter of days, and we're staring down the barrel of another trophyless season. Now, let's not forget that gaining qualification to the CL is a kind of trophy, and a very important achievement, but, ultimately, it it's not the same as seeing Robin holding up a cup in front of thousands of gooners. A decent balance sheet isn't enough to satisfy most fans.

Difficult times are now surely ahead. We will be fighting it out with Chelsea and Liverpool for fourth place, and our only real hope is that those two clubs are possibly in even more of shambles than us at present.

Without my usual stats to rely upon, I can't quite do the usual ten thoughts, but here are a few things that struck me:

* I was happy with the starting XI when I saw it, but things rapidly fell apart. Coquelin went off early, and I have a feeling that he was never fully fit to begin with, seeing as it looks like a re-occurance of his earlier hamstring problems. Another case of a player rushed back too soon?

* A CB pairing of Squillaci and Djourou was not something many of us wanted to see, and our defence looked all over the place everytime Sunderland came forward. Squillaci had the ignominy of being subbed off just after h-t. It's hard to know whether he was injured, or whether he was just trying to make it look like he was due to his embarrassment. I am going out on a limb here, but I would put Squiddy up there in our top-ten worst signings under Wenger, especially as his wages are so high that we can't shift him.

* I know Rosicky for Ramsey was in many ways the logical swap, but not if we were chasing the game and needed goals. Yet again, no goals and no assists from a player considered to be an attacking midfielder. Not good enough.

* But perhaps not as bad as poor old Theo. Five touches - yes touches - on the ball after he came on. Added to the 20 he had against Milan, and he probably averages over a grand a touch this week in wages. And he wants a raise!

* RvP has a problem - he is our best midfielder and our best attacker. Hence, in games like this when we're struggling, he drops deep. Indeed, his average position in a lot of matches is about the same as Ramsey or whoever's playing the attacking CM role. Consequently, we don't have a player up-top to win the ball and take shots-on-goal. It's a bit of a vicious circle, stemming from the fact we've lost Cesc and Ramsey is nowhere near his level at the moment.

* Gervinho. Oh, Gervinho. Is he any good? I don't know. I am beginning to worry he is verging more towards Wiltord territory, rather than Pires.

* Djourou. At the beginning of the week, I thought giving him a new deal was fair enough. He's not great, but he's our fourth-choice CB. Could we do better. It turns out, yes, we can. I would even Miguel a go at CB at the moment. Fundamentally, I think there's something a bit off about giving players who've achieved nothing new contracts, but there you go.

* He may have conceded two, but I didn't think Fabianski did too much wrong. His distribution was better than Szcz's for one thing.

* Is possession football dead? We dominated possession againt Milan and Sunderland, but lost both games. Having the ball is clearly overrated if you can't create shooting opportunities.

* There's nothing left to now but to spend the week regrouping. We can't, as AW's teams in recent years seem to have done, feel sorry for ourselves for weeks and let results slip. Anything other than a big performance, and preferably a win, against Spurs next week will be catastrophic. Indeed, were Spurs to win, I dread to think about the fall-out. Let's try to not even think about it, and believe that the team can turn things around.


Anonymous said...

Gervinho is more Glenn Helder than anyone else. I can't stand him. I've watched him a lot over the years from when he first joined Le Mans and he has flashes of skill and pace but he has a knack of running down blind alleys and his lack of a left foot is simply luaghable.

I think its time for Wenger to do one of 2 things. Either rebuild the suqad, or step aside and let someone else do it. There are 12-15 players i would get rid of. Chamakh, Arshavin, Djourou, Squllaci, Rosicky, Gervinho, Mertersacker, Diaby, Park, Bentdner, Vela, Denilson, Fabianski, Almunia and Song, yes, i said Song. I can only describe him as a talented retard. Get rid of those and reduce the wage bill. Buy 5-6 players it will reduce the wage bill massively. it will also bring in a bit of cash and the chance to do a couple of cash + player swap deals.

Hazard Left Wing: £14mil + Gervinho£10m and Park £3m. Total deal= £27mil

Leandro Damiao Striker: £20mil + Denilson£4. Total deal= £24

Mattias Suarez Second Striker: £5 mil + Rosicky£1m and Chamakh £3m. Total Deal: 9mil

Howedes CB: £8mil + Mertersacker£5mil

Mathias Jorgenssen CB: £5mil

will rip the guts out of this team.

Anonymous said...

Arsenal didn't dominate possession against Sunderland, it was 55%. That's not domination. AC Milan had 52& possession over Arsenal.

Do you make this shit up or are you simply stupid?

MysticGooner said...

I think the teams were wrong for both matches.
Henry & Ox should of started against AC.
Yossi & Arshavin should of started against Sunderland.
Wenger should of changed formations too.
But he doesn't & even though we do feck all every year apart from lose finals. This year is the worst & we need a complete change management, actual coaches etc.
I thought statistics did show we had more possesion each match & the opposition had 5 shots on target & 5 goals.

Anonymous said...

Gervhinio wishes he was Glen Helder -infact he plays like Glen Helder but with his clogs still on.
Anyhow what we have here is a serious situation at our club . In 35years following Arsenal ( including a relegation scrap in the mid 70's ) I have never seen such a collection of players without passion , desire and a will to win . Unfortunately I cannot relate to this group of players we have currently . I agree with the earlier post we need to clear out a lot of deadwood on high wages esp the liabilty that is Johan Djourou. Arsenal has become so corporate it is unrecongnisable . The morning after the heartache at Milan they have the nerve to send out emails inviting us to subscribe to the Arsenal magazine .
They should have sent out emails appologising for their inept performance a few hours earlier .
We have players who have yet to prove themsleves ( to put it mildly ) to busy tweeting about their new T shirt line or posting pictures of themselves with a new haircut . At least we had some incouraging news this week to lift our sprits in these difficult times . headline on Jenkinson nears fitness - f*ucking awesome news . Unfortunately this is were we are right now and I blame Wenger for putting together this collection of slightly above average footballers . Sorry but I am a little disheartened with my team at the moment which i think I am entitled to after travelling far and wide following this team .