Previous names: Dial Square, Royal Arsenal, Woolwich Arsenal

Friday, March 23, 2007

Arsenal doesn’t score enough goals but should the Beast stay?

Watching Arsenal play over the last few games is proving to be extremely frustrating. The team that under Arsene Wenger transformed its image from the most boring to the sexiest team on the planet, scoring goals for fun can not buy one at the minute.

We know we have a lot of strikers injured and suspended but again that never used to be a problem in the past.

Remember back in 1998 when both Ian Wright and Denis Bergkamp were injured and Christopher Wre and Luis Boa Morte were scoring goals in the run-in helping us to the title?

Remember Anelka in 2000-2001 coming – an 18-year-old kid back then -doing the business when Bergkamp was injured?

In 03-04 goals were flying in from everywhere, Pires, Ljunberg, Henry, getting the majority but Bergkamp, Vieira, Gilberto and even Lauren chipped in.

The current squad is every bit as talented and capable as all the above championship winning teams. There is however a very significant difference, the current team is goal shy especially from midfield. Add to the list the three strikers we have unavailable and you can explain why we are currently struggling.

Should the Beast stay?

Watching the games against Villa and Everton we were wondering whether Wenger would consider taking ’the beast’ on permanently or whether he would send him back to Madrid.

As a player he has a lot of qualities that are suitable to the Premier League, he is a powerful guy who likes running with the ball directly at defenders, he can hold the ball and link up play well and he is extremely hard working. He started his carrier as a defensive midfielder so he doesn’t mind a tackle either.

The problem with Baptista is that we are not quite sure what he is. Is he a striker or a midfielder and more importantly where would he fit in this Arsenal Team?

It’s very difficult to see how he would secure a position in the Arsenal midfield, as Cesk and Gilberto are permanent fixtures in the middle and Rosicky, Hleb and Ljunberg are better wingers than him. With transfer speculation linking another winger with the Gunners this makes it almost impossible for him to get a game in midfield.

He has been getting a run of games lately with all the injuries and suspension we have, but other than a well-taken goal against Reading we haven’t seen anything exceptional, nothing that would suggest that a considerable amount of money should be spend on acquiring his services.

To his defence he is playing in a side that have lost their way a little bit and Aliadiere is not the ideal partner for him. As a result he drifts out of games a lot, gets frustrated and drops deep to get the ball where he is even more ineffective.

He and Kolo are actually the only players to offer any kind of threat from set pieces, but even then he somehow manages to waste good chances. He is also anxious in front of goal, maybe because of the luck of goals, panics a bit and usually chooses the wrong option. Despite all that, you have to say he has the intelligence to get into good positions and does not go hiding always asking for the ball. If he can find his touch then he could really prove a handful for most defenders.

A huge question mark still remains whether he can force his way in to the starting line up as a striker. Current form suggests not and we are not sure he would be willing to sit on the bench for another season.

If we had to make the choice right now we would find it an expensive gamble to take him on.

However Wenger wanted to sign him since his Sevilla days and you know as well as we do that he is not one to give up on players easily. This makes us worry that Julio maybe lining up with the Gunners next season.

The whole thing is related of course to the Reyes situation in Spain. Real on their part seem to be making noises that they will not take him on permanently which is probably a smokescreen in order to reduce the price.

We were big Reyes fans and still hope that he can overcome his London complex– probably never going to happen – because my god have we missed him this season, We have lacked pace on the wings and he would have provided a different dimension to our game. With him in the side our season would still be alive.

He had his best games when TH14 was not in the side and this would have been a perfect opportunity to showcase his talents.

A lot of transfer speculation is going on around at the minute, but just to put everyone’s mind at ease the Gaffer has just bought a player according to reports.
Well you shouldn’t be as he is a 16-year-old Norwegian Defender…

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