Eternal Arsenal Excuse

Been a long time since I posted anything. Had been busy with work et al. But the current Arsenal situation has made it rather irresistible for me to share my thoughts as an Arsenal fan and put out my perspective there.


Arsenal have always had issues going into the second half of the season and this time even much earlier and be reduced to chasing the leaders… Has been happening for the last few seasons and without adding numbers to the squad and quality along-with quantity at that, the same will continue for the next few years…


Every year you hear Arsene Wenger telling his squad and fans that we will chase and that the other teams that are above them in the table will drop points etc. What I have never understood is that why does Arsenal have to rely each year on the teams above them to drop points, why cant the other teams be the ones chasing Arsenal instead of it being the other way round??? For once I would love to see the other so called big 4 members chasing Arsenal for the top spot in the BPL going into the last few weeks of the season.


The reasons and excuses have also been quite repetitive if you ask me. Injuries…


What I seriously fail to understand is that can Arsene not for once understand that injuries are part and parcel of football. Any manager would have to factor the same in when planning for a new season ahead and periodically re-assess the situation through the course of the season. Manchester united manages to win Matches and keep clean sheets in spite of Ferdinand being out injured… Why??? Coz they have good replacements in Wes Brown (though currently injured was phenomenal in Manchester United’s double last season), John Oshea and young but extremely promising Johnny Evans. Chelsea can manage to win matches when either Ricardo Carvalho is injured or Terry suspended coz of the quality Alex brings in or the promise displayed by Brainslav Ivanovic. Can we say the same about Arsenal? I sincerely doubt it. First and foremost we need reinforcements and good ones at that so that they can make the likes of Eboue, Denilson, Diaby and Alex song work harder in training so that they earn their place. Arsenal knew before hand that Eduardo and Rosicky are out injured long term and we had lost Hleb, Flamini, Gilberto, Senderos and Flamini in the summer. Don’t you think it was necessary to bring in suitable reinforcements to the squad indeed he just brought Nasri and young Ramsey who has a long way to go but sure shows sign of a great future of Arsenal along with the likes of young sensations Vela and More prominently 17 year old Wilshere. What ensued with such a thin and young squad was not unexpected. To be honest I am not at all surprised to see Arsenal out of the top 4 and heavily depending on other teams to drop points so Arsenal and climb up the table. Teams like Chelsea and Man United can sustain injuries (which are unavoidable) and have still been able to win the league these last few years because of the strength in depth.


Well invariably we have first team players injured at crucial points of time which leads us dropping points against newly promoted sides who a team of Arsenal’s stature and quality should be thrashing for goals a plenty left right and center. But yet, we lose points to Hull, Stoke city and company at home which has failed to become the fortress it once was. Yes we have gone to Chelsea and defeated them and managed to comprehensively beat Manchester united at home. But at the end of the day they were just 3 points right? We did lose the same 3 points against Aston Villa, Manchester City, Liverpool and Middlesbrough. All in all we have had 5 losses and 5 draws this season of the 22 matches we have played. Mostly against teams who are languishing in the bottom half of the table. Now the fans have to keep wishing and praying for teams like Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester united to drop points so that we can win the league. It aches to see even Aston Villa above us and we keep hoping they will tumble each week. But what if they do not??? Or what if Arsenal drops some more points??? It’s quite possible if you have Eboue in your starting 11 and no central defender to back up the starting pair of Djourou & Kolo Toure. What if either of the 2 gets injured, who will replace them with both Gallas and Silvestre out for the next few weeks. Alex Song??? I don’t think so. He may have played a few matches last season at centre half and may have excelled too but he has predominantly playing in the centre of the field this season and am not so sure of his ability to go straight and fit in front of Almunia. Silvestre has been one hell of a cheeky buy from Arsene this season and has more than once come to the rescue when either Toure or Gallas has been out injured. But with Arsenal players being so injury prone and adding to that the example as stated above, we do need a tall centre half as a back-up if not to link up as a first teamer to Toure or Gallas.


Arsenal is in dire need of a couple of wide players if you ask me. Nasri has done exceedingly well playing at the left of midfield. But he is not a naturally wide player; we could benefit more from his play more as a central Attacking midfielder. Walcott has also done pretty well on the right of midfield but still has a long way to go. He loses possession of the ball much more than he should and his crosses could definitely improve. I know he has huge potential. No doubting that, but he is just 19 years old and has a long way to develop and grow as a player. He can only get better. But since he has sustained a long term injury we have been struggling at the right side of midfield with either Denilson or Diaby or Eboue each trying their lucks and failing barring a few moments of brilliance by some of them (Diaby against Aston Villa where he picked the ball in our own half dribbled through the right passed to another player and ran to the center to receive the ball again an finish majestically well). But overall we have been miserable on the right since the departure of Walcott due to the injury. Arshavin will come and fit in well there is my guess. But what’s startling is that Arsenal are haggling for a few millions and delaying the purchase of any reinforcements. See if you like the player and think he can make a difference, go ahead and take a risk and pay a few Millions more than you think he is worth, those few Million bucks will prove invaluable if the player helps prevent any more loss of points etc. But if you so strongly feel against it, you might as well withdraw negotiations and look for alternatives. No point wasting time on unrealistic targets that might or might not come, rather aim realistic ones. Another perturbing fact is that we knew Walcott and Fabregas were injured long term much before the January transfer window was supposed to open. Still we had to wait till after the window opens to start negotiations for Arshavin. If we had started checking with his agents and club much earlier we might be realistically looking at alternatives right now knowing Arshavin was out of our price range. Look at Real Madrid for that matter. I appreciate there policy here. They had bought both Huntelaar and Diarra much before the start of the January transfer window. Thus the players had time to gel with the team and be available right from the start of January. Now if the Arshavin deal falls through and we cannot sign an alternative, I am sure we would be in a pickle again. Vela should then be used on the left and Nasri shifted to right of the midfield. But this would again be a make-shift strategy and we wouldn’t be able to derive the best of either of the players. Vela has impressed one and all in whatever opportunities the youngster has had in Arsene’s playing 11. Arsene should maybe look to get players like Ibrahim Afellay from PSV who has scored lot of goals while playing wide right of the midfield before there popularity and price goes through the roof and they go out of Arsenal’s buying range. Another alternative and French at that would be Hatem Ben Arfa who has been impressive for Marseille this season after moving from Lyon. Both these players are just over 20 years and would be available for much lesser than the 20 million pounds Zenith want for Arshavin.


Now we come to Almunia, who is good no doubt. But is he of the class to be playing first team for a team like Arsenal who aims at winning all the competitions it enters into. I’d like to say no and most would agree. He is a great back-up keeper, but not deserving of a regular First team place in a team of Arsenal’s quality. We need a much better keeper and immediately at that. Someone like the Russian Akinfeev or the German Manuel Neuer should be good and young and should go to serve Arsenal a long way. Another thing to notice here is the fact that Manchester united would soon be out to find a replacement for the aging Van der Sar. So rather than missing out on a target later to our top rival its better we act fast and get the Goalkeeper we want ASAP.


These immediate reinforcements apart, I would love to see a couple of really world-class players at Arsenal like the Werder Bremen’s creative midfielder Ribas Diego, or their promising center half Per Mertesacker, or the Barcelona teen sensation Bojan Krkic etc. But I know all these are for wishful thinking. If Arsene does enough to increase the Quantity of the squad along-with Quality, I will be more than happy.


More updates later, let’s keep our fingers crossed and hope that at the least the Arshavin deal goes through. Long live Arsenal…


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