By 1970’s Gooner
I call it as I see it and if there is a team that has room for improvement it is Arsenal. Not only because the performances have been so awful the only way is up; but because more than any other team in the top six Arsenal has been missing four irreplaceable first team starters.
These are the two full backs, Sagna and Gibbs/Santos, midfielder boy wonder Jack Wilshere and on the flank Gervinho.
These players apart from their own obvious quality are extremely important for Arsenal in another sense. The squad is thread bare and this is of course a deliberate policy of Arsene Wenger in bringing through promising youngsters as part of his philosophy in keeping wages down and raking in large profits from their eventual sale when they mature.
So when a first team player is injured then his replacement is either a promising youngster who is not yet good enough to stand up to the opponent’s big boys or a more mature player who cannot now hack it in the Premier League.
Examples of the former are Miquel, Jenkinson, Mannone, Coquelin, Djourou, Ramsey and Frimpong, I would include the Ox too in this list. Don’t get me wrong they are almost all of them very exciting players with tremendous prospects, but for now they are just kids.
Examples of the latter are Benayoun, Arshavin, Squillaci even Henry.
Hell, a team will fall below par even if only one irreplaceable first teamer is missing let alone four as in Arsenal’s case.
So you can see where I am heading to. Arsenal WILL bounce back soon enough to challenge strongly for the 4th spot or even beyond when these players return to action.
Sagna, Gibbs and Wilshere are two to three weeks away and one of those involves the FA Cup. Gervinho will also be back by then.
It will be tight I know but if Wenger abandons his stubbornness, stops using Arshavin and Benayoun and changes his tactics a little to offer protection to the full backs then WE WILL BE BACK.