Sunday is a day of rest unless there is money to be made by Sky on broadcasting games. It is also a day of reflection after the traditional Saturday fixture. I always
have the view that sleeping on opinions makes them more likely to be consistent, logical and reasoned. I have chosen to give you all my analysis of the main talking points about Arsenal at the moment. I have to divide this into on field matters and off field matters. the news of player departures is Arsenal news, whereas the rest is contributor opinion. So here we go, not so much a rant as a thoughtful dig at the establishment.
On field matters
Please forget the frenzy of anti-Arsenal media agenda and pantomime of handbags at five yards. We need to focus on the bigger issues arising from the game rather than get distracted by the calls for the FA to hang draw and quarter our players and these can best be analysed by the match stats.
Now, from what I witnessed, there was no offensive strategy on show there at St James’s Park, perhaps the most depressing aspect of this strong side. I say strong, because even allowing for the absence of Fabregas and Nasri, the players chosen by Arsene Wenger had more than enough to beat this Newcastle side three times over, so why didn’t it happen? This my friends is mainly down to the lack of a decent striker, a striker in the genuine sense of the word, who seeks out the ball and creates his own chances if he is not getting the service that he requires from his midfielders.
Not since the departure of Thierry Henry, have we had a definitive striker that could score 30 goals a season. We almost had it in Adebayor, but his moodiness and inconsistent touch meant that we could never really rely upon him. Bendtner’s touch was even worse than Adebarndoor’s so it meant that Arsene Wenger’s chosen formation with Robin van Persie as the spearhead of a 4-3-3, was able to maintain possession but failed to have creativity in front of goal. So what of the options?
Theo Walcott’s conversion to a central striker is more myth than substance. Gervinho was a ray of sunshine yet pushed out wide, he was totally wasted, as he interpreted his brief too strictly and when he should have moved in centrally to give striking support, he was too late. Now we will have lost him for at least three games. The worst thing about watching an Arsenal attack at the moment is the sheer lack of red and white shirts in the box. If Sagna or Gibbs got behind the Geordie defence, their anticipated cross was aimed at one sometimes two players, which against five defenders meant that we were never going to score.
So either change the formation, or buy a world class striker as placing all the responsibility on RvP has not worked last season, he is world class but plays too deep and takes corners! So he is hardly likely to get 30 goals this season. There appears to be no plan B. We desperately need to defend and score goals this season, and having only 2 shots on target is an absolute disgrace for a Wenger side. We need goals against Udinese, happily a shadow of the Seria A side that finished fourth last season. Shorn of three major players in Alexis Sanchez, Gohkan Inler and Cristian Zapata, at least the task will be easier than it could have been. We need to take a two goal lead away to Italy or at least prevent them from scoring, as the defensive acumen of Italian sides at home will make the second tie much harder if they don’t have to look for more than one goal.
I suppose that I ought to add a few words about the FA charges which will mean fines for the club and a three match ban for Alex Song. What you will not hear about is the nasty hack into the achilles of Song by Joey Barton just prior to the stamping, Song should have known better than to retaliate in such an unprofessional way and should have his wages docked for two weeks. After the disgraceful tackle on Diaby last season, surely Song should have realised the importance of getting on with the game. Joey Barton acts like a sick psychopath. He deserves no respect, and is a coward. The FA will take no action against Joey Barton, and if Arsene Wenger dare tries to sign this player I shall join the ranks of the disaffected asking Wenger to leave the club. Gervinho’s red card must not be appealed or we will lose him for four matches. Just let’s move on.
Off the field matters
Fabregas has gone back to his spiritual home, and I wish him well. He gave eight good years to this club, and he has left me with many fantastic memories. From his early appearances in the Carling Cup, to the San Siro goal against Inter Milan. But the free kick against Aston Villa where he came off the bench and scored a wonder goal to rescue Arsenal, was representative of his efforts. When we missed Flamini’s efforts, he tirelessy ran back and covered Denilson time after time. I shall always treasure the personally signed Fabregas 15 shirt when I finally met him at Highbury. I first coined the nom de plume Fabregas_king_in_waiting when I was on Arsenal Word message boards, before starting to write blogs for the Arsenal Forum, before finally joining Arsenalinsider as Fabregas_the King. I salute a true Arsenal legend who I will always respect and admire.
A question? When will Arsene Wenger realise that actually you can negotiate deal firmly behind close doors whilst agreeing publicly that a player’s contract is being discussed in nprinciple with another club. Twitter means that Arsene Wenger attempst at news management have become to sound more and more ridiculous. His comments at the press conference about the possibility of keeping Samir Nasri were risible. But apart from pointing out the silly posturing by a manager who should know better, it is utterly wrong to encourage false hopes as part of some face saving exercise. Arsene Wenger AND Ivan Gazidis have been responsible for letting Nasri get into such a strong position. As for fans buying shirts with Fabregas on the back, you do not deserve a refund if you were that gullible.
I have utterly no sympathy for the buck passing comments of Ivan Gazidis at the recent Arsenal Supporters Trust meeting. Is Mr Gazidis really asking us to believe that he has nothing to do with managing the wage bill at the Club? It seems to me that it is Arsene Wenger who is running the club at the moment. If we have abundant transfer funds then why did we let the buy out clause expire on Mata. We knew that Fabregas was going by the player’s comments today in Spain. The club prevented Cesc from explaining the situation to the fans for over 2 months. So try and hide behind that fig leaf.
For a club of 125 years of heritage and wealth, when doing things the Arsenal way was a thing to be proud of, now it seems that the Arsenal way is one of utter shambles. What springs to mind is justifying how people who are paid an obscene amount of money to get it right can be excused when they get it wrong. But nothing will happen as they are only accountable to the major shareholders. Our transfer priority was to strengthen the defence. Next to obtain replacements for Fabregas and Nasri. It was not necessary to close one deal before starting another as we had already become resigned to losing the players. This is the curse of the self sustaining model, but will someone point out that we don’t have to have the money in the bank before buying new players. I shudder that the other reason for this dreadful dragging of feet, is a real fear that Arsenal might not qualify for the group stages of the Champions League. if this is a real consideration, then how far have we fallen???
But losing Mata and allowing Nasri the upper hand and risk him leaving on a Bosman is frankly insulting to Arsenal fans. Gazidis is willing to upset fans with a 6.5% increase and having the arrogance to suggest that we should be thankful that we had ticket price freezes, but strangely quiet about who is responsible for this litany of poor management. Where I will agree with Arsene Wenger relates to concentrating on the players who want to play for the club. I am still calling for patience as the transfer window still has two weeks to run, but losing Mata was unforgivable and has shaken my faith in the Arsenal management. We the fans expect better from Arsene Wenger and Ivan Gazidis, there is no point asking for trust as now it has to be earned after the recent transfer debacle.
On a final note if you will excuse the pun, I shall not be singing Nasri’s name this season if he stays, but there is utterly NO EXCUSE for Arsenal fans to abuse our own players with obscene songs, no matter how upset you are. Your actions are no better than the looters who ran amok in London. Please show respect to our players who wear the shirt. I know that I am a hypocrite by not singing his name, but I draw the line at further abuse. Please go to Man City Samir, you deserve each other. So here’s looking forward to Cahill, and two other players arriving at the Arsenal, I would have loved Mata, but poor management meant that we wasted too much time on player deals like Fabregas. Either we have the money or we don’t, and these last few examples have led me to question if the club are being transparent with Arsenal fans.
We must support this team and get them through the Champions league Qualifier. Sing loudly and remember if you attend the game and don’t give them your support, don’t moan if the result is not of your liking. COME ON YOU GUNNERS!