By Danny Watson
Arsenal fans often feel sorry for supporters of teams that do nothing but hoof the ball up the park hoping that they can get a knock on and pick up any pieces that might emerge.
These supporters don’t know what it feels like to follow a team that actually knows how to play beautiful football. But even so the Arsenal players sometimes need to abandon their principles and learn how to hoof the ball out of dangerous areas.
I watched the game on Tuesday night screaming at the TV for us to hoof the ball up the park as we simply couldn’t clear our lines.
There is no one that loves the way Arsenal play more than I do but repeatedly passing out of defence 5 or 10 yards at a time when we have been repeatedly punished before for our slackness is plain crazy.
OK we didn’t have Adebayor up front but we had Bendtner whose best attribute is his heading ability.
Sometimes you need to just get the ball out of the area, regroup and put yourself in a better position. Our inability to just hoof it away led to us conceding 4 goals we really shouldn’t have conceded.
The only way we are going to win the league next year is if we can solidify our defence and the only way we can do that is to sign some good old fashioned centre backs that are not afraid to put their foot through the ball and get it away.
There is a simple formula for Arsenal to win the league next year which needs to respect the principle of “balance” and this is:
1 sturdy goalkeeper + 8 skilful players + 2 hardy centre backs = Premiership title.
When Arsenal were at their best a few seasons ago and winning trophies we had Adams, Keown, Bould and Campbell, all good old fashioned canter backs.
Alas we don’t have any at the club now so this must be our top priority in the summer.
Gallas and Toure are good on the ball but not commanding enough in the air and do get the ball away when it is clear that they just have to do that.
Don’t even get me started on Silvestre who has been a huge disappointment.
It is easy for me to say that this is what we need but harder for me to suggest possible players for the position. However two names linked with a move to the Emirates are Upson and Haangeland.
Haangeland has been on fantastic form for Fulham and has exactly the attributes we need; he also wouldn’t be too expensive. Upson is a player with bags of experience playing in the premiership so we could do worse than to resign him.
Whether we sign new central defenders or not our defence must learn to clear their lines otherwise we will just have to hope that Arshavin can score 5 next time.
By Danny Watson, a professional sports writer who blogs about football news.