The absence of a creative force, say a Cesc Fabregas or a Samir Nasri, in Arsenal’s opening Premier League game at Newcastle yesterday was all too obvious.
Rosicky and Ramsey, the two men brought in to do the job, showed that they are over the hill and not ready to take on that kind of responsibility, respectively.
I’m a keen admirer of Ramsey, but he’s had a year out with injury and it’s a big ask for him to do a Jack Wilshere and just slot perfectly into this team. Rosicky, on the other hand, is someone I lost hope in ages ago, and I’m disappointed he hasn’t been sold or released this summer. If Wenger’s so worried about money, why does he continue to pay the wages of these players that contribute absolutely nothing?
And why, given the situation we faced today, hasn’t the Fabregas problem been dealt with? It’s shambolic management that we went into our opening league game with our captain’s future still in doubt; either give Barca a deadline of, say, August the 1st to give us the money we want or he stays, or look for a replacement before selling him, so we don’t have to field such a weak lineup in an important game.
Still, despite a weak midfield, we weren’t helped by the fact that Arshavin and van Persie were so poor. The Russian is a lost cause and has been for a while, but I’m surprised at the Dutchman, wearing the armband for the day, for failing to show up and continue where he left off last season.
On a more positive note, our defence was rarely troubled. It was good to see Vermaelen back, but really it was Koscielny who made some crucial interventions and was the stand-out performer on the day.
In attack, Gervinho looked lively, and showed a willingness to run at players, something that is definitely lacking at Arsenal. Sadly something that certainly isn’t lacking at Arsenal is a lack of a final ball, and he looks no different in that respect. I hope in future he plays more as a striker than as a winger, as he doesn’t seem to be able to cross the ball effectively at all, despite getting in good positions to do so. We played 4-3-3 today, but I hope we consider a switch to 4-4-2, and see Gervinho fulfill his potential as more of a goal-poacher.
All in all, it was a bit of anti-climatic opening day of the season, with more talk of indiscipline from both sides than any particularly good football. Let’s hope some more quality is added to the side soon, and an increased quality of the football should follow.