I see you guys weren’t very happy with the article posted here a few days ago detailing the failings of the team and some ideas on how to improve the squad so as to give us a better chance for some much needed silverware this year.
Well I’ll give my two cents about both the Everton game and the previous post and please feel free to suitably shoot me down too if you wish….
Firstly what 70’s said is clearly not Rocket science. He said get a big defender to deal with the high ball and also buy someone that can replace Flamini effectively.
He also said Hleb was a good player and that we don’t know how Edy is going to be when he gets back, which are both true.
For all the frustration that sometimes accompanied him, Hleb was one of our outstanding players and a major reason that we got close to Utd and Chelsea last year.
He always set up chances or created space for the rest of the team to play their stuff. Testament to how good he was is that Cesc to this day is raving about him.
He was the only player in the team that could slow the tempo down and draw defenders out of position which was extremely useful against defensive teams.
Last year for the first time since 2004 we didn’t drop many points against mid to lower tier teams. If we had beaten Liverpool at the Emirates as we should have then we would have been within a win of the title!
I know we dropped points home and away to Birmingham and also had a bad run after the tackle on Eduardo but if we had won a game against the big four at home we would have been right there…
Flamini has not been replaced and that I also feel was a mistake especially watching Xavi Alonso having a blinding season with Liverpool.
I can’t help but think whether those few extra million pounds they wanted were not worth it considering the improvement it would have made to our title chances.
But as always Wenger was prudent and said no since he was cup tied in the Champions League. Benitez got lucky as who knows how they would have done with Barry instead of Alonso.
The defence thing I’m not so sure about, currently we have probably the quickest back four in the league if not the world. That is mightily important to Arsene as both his fullbacks spend more time high up the pitch attacking than they do defending.
Without the pace of Gallas and Toure we would be completely exposed to the counter attack as we saw a number of times with Senderos last year.
With that in mind pick your poison; is it set pieces and long balls or getting caught on the counter?
If there is a tall fast no nonsense defender that is quick with an astute positional sense that can also play a bit please feel free to point him out, personally I don’t know of one.
Against Everton we started very sluggishly as we are used to doing after the international break. We went one behind and Everton had a few chances to go 2 up but thankfully they didn’t. After the half hour mark we gained control of the game and never really looked back.
From where I am sitting at the Emirates I can see a few worrying things however.
We still can’t defend a corner to save our lives, miss too many chances and have a bad habit of conceding a goal with the first shot on target. Almunia is suspect coming for the ball and Clichy had to bail him out again today clearing the ball off the line.
We need Sagna back before the Manchester Utd game as both Rooney and Ronaldo seem to be getting into their stride.
Denilson got caught ball watching a couple of times especially in the first half allowing Yakubu to break through the midfield and run at our defence.
He improved in the second after instructions, I suspect, for him to sit back and allow Fabregas to orchestrate play more.
Song is not a right back we all know that, he only started because Wenger didn’t want to start with Theo after the long trip to Belarus with England.
Van Persie is not sharp enough yet, he wasted a bundle of good chances that he’d normally take or at least put on target. It could have proved costly but thankfully it wasn’t.
After scoring four for Togo midweek Adebayor had an average game.
He is always a willing runner, however sometimes he leaves me baffled with the constant obsession of running away from goal to the left when there is a big hole in the middle of the opposition defence but I suppose he will improve that with time.
Nasri was not involved in the game in the first half but he scored a crucial goal to get us back in the game. That gave him confidence and he raised his game after that.
Clichy was magnificent as usual and my man of the match.
He was everywhere, intercepted every ball he could and run down the flank as often as possible.
Somebody should check whether he is human.
I have a suspicion that he has two hearts and 4 lungs.
I have no other way of explaining how he does so much running every single game.
Fabregas was back to his best after a couple of ok performances, displaying his full array of passing and dictating play as only he can.
Walcott had a huge impact coming on in the second half and took his goal very well. Let’s hope we’ll see a few more from him in the next few weeks.
Eboue was solid without being exceptional but he did give balance to the team when he went back to right back.
I still think he is one of our more consistent players this year, and if he manages to get through more games without any histrionics I think he will get more support from the fans.
It was good to see Diaby back and hopefully he can stay fit for a few games so we can see what he can do next to the little Spaniard.
Finally I left Song and Silvestre to the end. I though they had a solid second half where admittedly there were not really tested.
Silvestre did some Utd defending booting the ball clear at every opportunity and Song looked infinitely more comfortable playing at centre half. Silvestre looked a bit rusty but that was to be expected as this was his first game back.
Overall we played some good staff in the second half moving the ball about with pace and accuracy and I don’t think a lot of teams can live with us when we do that.
We haven’t played well yet this year. We have only seen glimpses of how good we can be and if we can get to the turn of the year and still be in touch we’ll have a shot.
I think compared to last year we’ll get stronger after Xmas – injury permitting – and hopefully we will have two brand new players – Rosicky and Eduardo - to help us with a tough run in.
I have to say though that we are competing against a Chelsea side that are looking pretty good right now even with a host of injuries.
They have a huge squad with class replacements in many positions. I think however that their new found sense of adventure will get them in to trouble sooner or later and will give the other three a chance.
Three Arsenal weaknesses need correction