It seems time after time, we insist upon shooting ourselves in the foot. Our performance against Aston Villa on Saturday was a completely lacklustre one. Incapable of creating chances, and poor at keeping possession. Despite not winning any trophies over recent years, these are two things that if you asked anyone in the world with half a brain, what Arsenal’s traits were, or what Arsenal were specifically good at, they would have told you those. But it seems now tides have turned, and more often than not we are struggling, especially with the creation and taking of chances.
You just have to look at games against QPR, Norwich, Schalke, Man United, and Villa, amongst others, to see how inconsistent we have become. I don’t know whose fault it is, the board, the manager, the players, but we haven’t improved over these transitional years, and are forever being told tomorrow will be better.
I’m not one to point the finger and say Arsene needs to go, if anything I think it’s the boards doing. And even though there is probably some truth in us becoming one of the top clubs in the world revenue wise, and being able to compete at a higher level with more money coming in, it doesn’t hide from the fact we have been strung along year after year, told to keep the faith, next year we will challenge, but still have to pay the highest prices in the league. All the while we are selling our top players and replacing with them, good, but more often than not, cheaper players with less quality.
And it seems perhaps it’s finally starting to show with results. We are sitting a very nervous 6th in the league. It’s early days, but recent results (bar Spurs) aren’t exactly filling me, or anyone else with optimism. No one knows what will happen, but there’s nothing we can do at the moment as fans. We have to hope things turn out for the good, and in a couple of years the stadium will be paid off, money will available for transfer and wage funds, and financial fair play has a decent effect.
Back to the Villa game, and on reflection I feel no different to how I did then. We were really poor. I can understand the need to leave Wilshere and Sagna on the bench with Everton on Wednesday and them having come back from long-term injuries. Too many games will do more harm than good. Vermaelen has been poor, with Gibbs back, I can’t really fault that decision either and a clean sheet shows the defence wasn’t the main problem if at all. (Still a fan of this zonal marking)
So when it comes down to it, Wenger puts his faith in the players he has out there, he thinks they’ll do him a good job. Perhaps he over looked one thing. This team didn’t have Theo Walcott who can always make a difference. When you take out key players, and game-changers, as well as those who are injured, you miss the spark and flare often needed to win games (especially in our case).
Jenkinson is good, and promising. But he’s no Sagna. Wilshere is quite clearly irreplaceable. Arteta is having a bad run of late. Ramsey is frequently playing poorly, and the fans are always on his back. He loses the ball far too much. He’s no match for Jack. Giroud receives very little, decent crosses with no Walcott or Bac. Chamberlain’s not having a great time either, and he tries to cut in all the time when he’s out on the wing, but it doesn’t work. And Podolski it seems only plays well when the team is playing well, and is invisible for much the game. This leaves a lot of pressure on Cazorla, but obviously he can’t play by himself.
So we have a team low on confidence, and fairly low in quality too if I’m honest. There were no runs for passes, no passes for runs, and hardly any crosses of any use either. We were stuck in a rut and didn’t know what to do. This highlights several issues. The fact the players are unsure on how to adjust their game to get a goal, or how the manager is too stubborn to change his ways in times of need. It’s also clear that we lack squad depth and quality, and are relying on a few too much.
I’m also stumped at decisions made. Why is that Podolski and Giroud are taken off before the end of the game when we HAVE to score. Moreover, why is it Gervinho, who is fairly useless, and Coquelin, a defensive midfielder, are two players brought on when we HAVE to score.
In the dying moments of the game, what do you do? You get the ball in the box. So it is completely beyond me why you would take a striker off, whose scored 5/6 goals with his head. Especially to bring on a CDM.
Furthermore, what is the point in putting Jack Wilshere on the bench if you’re not willing to play him when we need him. I understood the decision to rest him, but if you can’t bring him on leave him at home, it was just a waste of a sub spot, you could have put Chamakh or someone on who could have come on and been used as an aerial threat.
It all seems rather bizarre. That’s why I called this post, ‘Our Own Downfall’.