Well look at this. A post from me!
Don’t get too excited..it’s about to become very glum.
Let me begin with our summer. The summer where everything turns around for our football club. Debts for the Emirates aren’t holding us back as much as they once were, our transfer budget is toppling £70m and we’re still in the Champions League in time for the plan to be put into action.
However, for some reason (probably something to do with Wenger and Gazidis) this has not been our summer. Instead our rivals have strengthened, and us Gooners have had to just watch as our only summer signing slowly managed a place on Arsenal.com’s diminishing squad roster page to everyone's delight. The fact Sanogo got little mention from the club as he signed for us highlights how much of an impact to our season he is expected to make.
But lets forget Sanogo. Lets concentrate on our manager. Arsene Wenger.
Through lack of activity during this summers transfer window, I have witnessed many fans who were all supportive of Wenger (as was I) slowly lose that drive to protect him from the media’s claws, and sadly I don’t blame them one bit.
Everything was ready to allow Wenger the freedom to transform a talented side into a intimidating side that the rest of the league would fear. And it wouldn’t take much. Everyone agreed on that. A Goalkeeper, a centre half, a defensive midfielder, an attacking midfielder plus a world class striker. With £70m to get it done plus any sales of the ‘deadwood’, it should be a simple task.
Yet, Wenger couldn’t quite grasp the idea. And now we hear the excuses of ‘the market is tough’, ‘no-one wants to sell’.
If those quotes tell me anything, it’s that Wenger is completely out of touch in this modern era. It spells out to the other clubs, that we aren’t up for a fight and a rejected bid signals the end of our pursuit. Plus the ‘no-one wants to sell’ quote is just crushing to hear a year after we sold our star striker to our rivals.
So where do we go from here? To be honest we’re stuck. Unless Wenger miraculously gets his cheque book out and signs quality players then I expect this to be the season we miss out on a Champions League spot. Our squad numbers are low, injury count is high and the quality players in our side, such as Cazorla are being asked far too much of and sooner or later will pick up injuries.
We can’t replace Wenger now. Who’d take the job now? So the season comes down to our activity in the next two weeks. A poor transfer window could lead to an even bigger slide in Arsenal Football Clubs future…
Now to see how far we really have fallen
To finish this post I wanted to allow you to take part in a small task to try and highlight to yourselves how far our club is from its past. Sounds fun doesn't it!
I’m going to take you back to the invincible season.
Ok. The idea of this activity is to compare the Arsenal team of the 2003/04 season with todays team. Below is another line up with our current formation along with a list of our current players. Obviously due to the change in the formation you may have to compare certain players on their role/job in the team they played in.
GK – Szczesny, Fabianski
DF – Sagna, Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Koscielny, Monreal, Gibbs
MF- Arteta, Ramsey, Frimpong, Diaby, Ramsey, Wilshere, Rosicky, Cazorla, Chamberlain, Miyaichi
ST – Podolski, Giroud, Walcott, Sanogo, Park, Bendtner
Once you have decided on your starting eleven, move onto subs and compare the ability of them with one another.
5/5 – As good as compared player
4/5 – Almost as good as compared player
3/5 – Offers half the compared player can
2/5 – Nowhere near as good
1/5 – Why is he at Arsenal?
For me this exercise highlights how far we have fallen. For example, when we can play our strongest first XI we are very impressed by it. However by comparing to the invincibles, a level of quality we should be aiming for, you realise we don’t have the same amount of quality distributed throughout the team.
Also, once upon a time we were fortunate to have a player capable of scoring 30 goals alone along with other talented forwards such as Bergkamp, Wiltord and Kanu. And I believe this just shows you… the arrival of a player such as Suarez/Rooney can help us replicate a similar striker force with Giroud, Walcott and Podolski being the modern day replacements for Bergkamp, Wiltord and Kanu.
And finally… Vieria and Gilberto.
These two players knew their job and executed it perfectly. They were both solid, allowing our wingers and strikers to really push on as the threat of a counter attack from the opposition was much less feared. However in todays central midfield places, we have Arteta, Ramsey or Wilshere. To me, only one of those should be playing and that one should be playing alongside a ‘Gilberto’ type player. A player that has enough pace to catch oppositions attacks, a tough tackler and distributor. Whilst Arteta, Ramsey or Wilshere would link the midfield to the attack with bursts forward playing balls through the defence for the strikers to run onto.
Shame about Gustavo ey!
That’s it from me. Hopefully I’ll find the time to write a bit more often on here than present but I hope you enjoyed the read, had a little go at the small activity and I’ll be ready to hear from you!
You can follow me on twitter @goonersonline – cheers