Arsenal show promise, but is our playing formation holding us back?

The match at Old Trafford revealed that Manchester United have the ability to play with discipline and ensure that no goals were conceded. Arsenal were competent and the ball possession was excellent. We lacked potency in attack, but in midfield and defence, we made a clear statement that Arsenal do have what it takes to play well against the best. Congratulations to Manchester United for winning yet another Premiership title. They will continue to set the bar of success very high, and it is for others to try to reach it. There were excellent performances from the likes of Song and Gibbs, Arshavin was quiet by his own standards, but Fabregas and Denilson tried to break up the midfield. Robin van Persie cannot play as lone striker in my humble opinion, so why does Arsene Wenger persist with him in that position. In fact, I have found Arsene Wenger’s choice of formation extremely negative this season, home and away.
The game was not helped by a poor performance by Mike Dean the referee. Some of the yellow cards given to our players were bordering upon the pathetic. He refused to book the foul mouthed Rooney and the diving Ronaldo. Manchester United will miss the set piece brilliance of Ronaldo next season as he seems to be on his way out of the club. But in Rooney, they will continue to threaten defences, and the transfer funds from the sale of Ronaldo will no doubt bring another big name to the Theatre of Dreams. At least our players gave an adequate account of themselves and some pride was restored. If we can increase the pace of our attacks next season, then who knows what we can achieve. The playing formation for the future looks increasingly like Arsenal will play 4-2-3-1, I am not a fan of this. Without a spearhead striker able to finish half chances, this formation will ensure that the opposing defences will continue to have it easy. Vidic won every aerial ball and van Persie was left isolated. Anyway well done lads, and we salute you for that performance.
The Q&A between Arsene Wenger and the Shareholders continues to attract comment, and many Wenger supporters like me are dismayed with the way that our greatest manager was subjected to what was at times hostile and very disrespectful attitudes. Arsene Wenger showed himself to be able to defend himself by responding with direct criticism of the fans at the Emirates, but is the way that Arsenal TV dealt with the matter going to make things worse or better? The editing and censorship which took place may have been for legal reasons, who knows? as some of the reported comments clearly could have deemed defamatory. The problem however remains that in indulging in such blatant censorship, whilst the meeting is reported in the public domain, says more about the current mindset at Arsenal Football Club. That is a club under siege.
Yet Arsenal have contributed to this siege mentality through it’s own lack of transparency in many areas such as the recent debacle over the bringing forward of the Season ticket renewals from June 1st to April, which I exposed on this blog, or the way that the Club appears to give the impression that we are able to fund transfer activities but apparently the budget that is provided to Arsene Wenger appears to require him to have to sell players before buying. It should be pretty obvious that Arsenal Football Club’s finances will not stretch to buying a player of the calibre of Benzema or Ribery. The most upsetting aspect for me as an Arsenal fan over the years, remains how Arsenal Football Club are never seriously in the market with other clubs for the very top players.
Many loyalists say that we don’t need them as we have the likes of Bendtner, Adebayor and Denilson, yet it took the introduction of Arshavin to blow that defence out of the water. This summer, the spotlight will be on Arsenal Football Club and the need to strengthen the defence. Fulham’s centre back Brede Hangerland is on the shopping list of many Premiership Clubs who aspire to the top four, but you can bet your last pound that if he is sold, Arsenal Football Club will not be his destination. Arsene has stated that he will not be the one to bankrupt the football club, and Ivan Gazidis has passionately stated that he subscribes to the philosophy of the club living within it’s needs, but we as fans are entitled to ask why we are not competing in the transfer market with the likes of Man U and Liverpool?
We were promised as much when the move to the Emirates took place. Yet what irks so many fans at the moment is the way that there are positions in the team that everyone including Arsene Wenger agree need strengthening, but is it the need to live within our means that determines that only one or two players are needed? Those two positions appear to be defensive. Yet I do believe that the failure to have a striker capable of finishing is going to continue to hurt us against weaker teams. There is no fear factor anymore as Arsenal’s attack is bordering on the farcical if compared with the past strikers like Ian Wright, Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp. Opposing goalkeepers rarely find themselves under pressure at the moment, our set pieces are particularly disappointing. I share the frustrations of many fans but refuse to destroy Arsene Wenger for the shortcomings of some of his players.
I argue that Arsene Wenger has been badly let down by some of his players. They have not repaid the trust that he gave them in terms of their performances. The absence of Adebayor at Old Trafford with a groin strain is yet another perplexing topic for debate. At the pre-match press conference on Thursday, we had no mention of Adebayor’s likely unavailability.  His groin problem will no doubt clear up for the final home game against Stoke City, and we will again have Arsene Wenger stating that he is not for sale, in an effort to increase his sale value, but then suggesting that he could go to Man City or Chelsea in the same way that the club sold Ashley Cole to Chelsea and received William Gallas and Diarra. Yet if Arsene Wenger has any pride left that has not been bruised by the savage onslaught of this week, and as a man who can tolerate the ritual humiliations by Manchester United and Chelsea, the new transfer targets must be achieved at all costs.
Arsene Wenger always defends his players and he is convinced that Arsenal possess the players who can beat anybody. Saturday’s display confirmed that the gap between Arsenal and Manchester United is indeed not the 18 points yet in terms of consistency throughout the season, we are clearly way behind. Let us hope that in the final two seasons of Arsene Wenger’s reign, he can deliver what we all seek. Why do I say final? Well I have regularly written that Arsene Wenger’s passion to continue for another three years would be dampened by the personal attacks by fans, yet to have the shareholders of the club voice the same kind of insults, amount to a kind of vote of no confidence. Any hope of him renewing his contract I believe was destroyed by the hostility of this meeting.
Fabregas the King.

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