Thursday, October 16, 2008

Unease in Gunner World or: Are the kids alright?

I have for several years now dug my heels (intentional cliche alert!) into the opinion that when it comes to the Arsenal, "We're gonna be alright." I even used it as a headline two years ago, after the sale of talisman Thierry Henry when people who couldn't even tell a football from a football were asking me about the sale of one of the world's biggest stars.

I'll just come out with it. I'm worried. Arsenal have looked incredible at times this year. They've looked like they'd flawlessly brush aside their opponents, scoring 3, 4, even 5 goals a game. But they lost to Hull. They lost to Fulham. They barely managed a draw against Sunderland. That's a lot of points to drop early in the season and everyone knows it.

Why else am I worried? Our captain is a clown. Gallas has been poor. He's one of our most experienced players and he's acting and playing like an ass. First he says he's been out of form, and then he runs this bs about how the players call him "capi" and ask him to lead them. Uh-huh. Right. And who gave that interview? Oh, right, it was L'equipe, the daily French sports newspaper. I've no problem with L'equipe and in fact I used to read it regularly. But you know what it is? It's a paper, ready to fire up a player home on international duty during the break. Honestly, do they think their club teams and supporters will never listen to what they say abroad. Not only can some of us actually (shock! horror!) speak another language, but you know what? Those stories are even translated for us and reported back in other newspapers. 

Shocking, I know.

What else has me worried? Perhaps that vital bit that football managers, for a while now, have been calling the "midfield." Perhaps you've heard about it? Most of the time there's four players stretched across the park. Two wingers, a playmaker if you're lucky, and oftentimes, some sort of efficiently tackling and entire-pitch-covering maniac who keeps the other team honest. 

The Arsenal midfield, utterly necessary for the kind of football expected by Arsene Wenger, is left wanting in this department. Ironically, the fault can be placed in the general vicinity of said Genius Manager. I love Arsene Wenger above all. Whenever I'm faced with the standard question, "So, um, like, who, in all of history, yeah? Would you, like, have dinner with, man?" Arsene Wenger (and a film director who shall remain nameless, wrong place and time).

But it looks increasingly like Arsene has made a critical error this season. That the team is so terribly close makes it all the worse. An experienced midfield player is so desperately needed in this team right now, and he refused to buy. Sure ... we've loads of talent standing just off stage, ready to fly in and make an impression. Hey, we've all seen them in the Carling Cup, right!? I mean, did you see Ramsey for the Wales U-21 side? The kid looks great! And how about that Wilshire, pure quality in the pre-season! 

Right. That's the point. For the moment, those lads, and others like them, are no more ready to make an impact than I am. Although I again contend that I'd be a fabulous, if not terribly conditioned, number 10.

Deep breath, it's still early. Damn football is agonizing, but it's brilliant, isn't it?

My head may explode if we don't buy in January.

1 comment:

Carl said...

Well seeing as how the Arsenal pulled their collected heads out of their fourth point of contact today and scrapped a win against ugly, ugly Everton. I can say yes we need some more experience in the midfield, but the kids showed more life once Theo came on, God his legs showed why that guy is the spark that Arsenal and England need to fuel success.