Sunday, December 14, 2008

Beaten, dejected, time to look ahead

Yet another woeful performance, this time away to Boro with a 1-1 draw. By commenting on the performance as I've been doing, I'm by no means slighting the competition and implying that the level is such that points are guaranteed. At this point, Arsenal look so poor and so disjointed that the team are ready to be scalped by anyone they play.

The same story as it's rolled out every week leaves me with zero expectations at this point. Diaby, while he's got the potential to provide good thrust from the midfield position, has no clinical ability inside the box. He's missed far too many chances by simply drilling them right at the keeper. Song and Denilson are not ready to play in a Premier League midfield every day. This couldn't be more clear at this point and the manager's decision to stick with them as long as he has is frighteningly frustrating. Robin van Persie is not becoming the player we expect. There are a lot of hopes for Robin but he's just not converting goals as a striker at this level should. 

The holes in our squad have been discussed in depth this campaign. Let's talk about that famous Arsenal football though ...

Overlapping, and inter-changing positions. Forward dashes from the fullbacks. Quick passing, quick movement, understanding of each other and what they need.

I saw none of it on display at the Riverside. Rather, I saw a ball being knocked around as if it was on a blacktop playground. The thing was bouncing everywhere it went. They could rarely summon the ability to keep the thing on the floor. Maybe it was down to conditions or the pressure from a Boro side that smelled blood, but I think the problem has been endemic lately.  And it comes to those pieces that we need. The midfield can't exist as Cesc Fabregas and whoever we can plug him around him. Cesc hasn't had the best season, especially after the growth he showed last year and during the European Championship when his form was irresistible and he needs to be supported. As much Maradona would implore us, football isn't one player +10 

They're kids. We know this. We hope they'll get results but they aren't. In the meantime, they're getting beaten down by the weight of their own and our expectations and an inability to deliver that has reached a standard that some would call normal.

The Club must address the situation before we fall further. Arsenal are truly in a desperate situation right now. I don't need to hear more platitudes about how they'll fight on for the title. I don't need to hear more vows about how they'll continue to go out to perform and play their football. There are truths that have finally asserted themselves with this batch of players.  There are teams below us, and now hurtling above us like Aston Villa, that will simply rob us in broad daylight if we continue down this course. 

With the holidays coming up there are a lot of points stake before the transfer window opens. The adjustments must ben made to get something out of it. Let's give Ramsey a go! Get Nasri healthy, get Theo ... er, wow, that injury is hurting us isn't it. Eduardo will be back soon and while it's unfair to count on him for too much, all eyes will be on him to deliver those magical and wonderful goals, goals, goals. (oooohhhh, nice, watching Chelsea host West Ham at the moment and Cashley just got booked for a two-footed lunge) Then we need to sell Gallas, apparently Juventus are interested, which is shocking in spite of Ranieri's connection as his former manager. Maybe we bring in this Hegeland from Fulham that we're linked with, although I admittedly haven't seen much of him.

The big splash needs to come in the midfield. Do will even consider one of the performers of the year so far in Xabi Alonso? His tag will have gone up mightily from the summer and Liverpool would be simply crazy to sell. We need a big, big, big player though to fill that gaping hole we've got in the middle of the park. Hopefully Arsene will see what's  right and get over the aversion to buying that he's constructed.

(Update: Thank goodness for the blogger auto-save! My Internet connection went out right as I was going to publish this puppy and I lost everything. Thankfully it was saved.)

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