Shameful really, but with a new job and a busy life, I haven’t had the luxury of time to write a blog post recently. In spite of that, I’ve found time to keep up with the farcicals of football right now.
Since I left; Suarez has been banned for racism, rightly so, should have been longer in my opinion; John Terry has been charged by the police for the same offence; Arsenal find themselves with their worst point total after 22 games in all of Wenger’s tenure, and Tottenham are flying.
It’s been a funny few months, but can we expect change?
Here are my views:
On January transfer expectations, after a dire display against Manchester United, subsidised by a manager seemingly hell-bent on having them in the Europa League, you really must wonder:
“He’s had no full-back’s fit since the Olympiakos game (December 6th) - where he played his only fit player in a game which was literally meaningless - since then he fumbled through December knowing he would be without a recognised full back until February.”
1) Why didn’t he highlight a defensive target and get a loanee cover in place?
2) Why hasn’t he ensured that funds were in place to make sure he could sign the loanee quickly?
No-one knows but him.
We all know the results though; Arsene is being punished for his arrogance, losing a hat-trick of games, and they’ve now taken seven points from the last 18 available. Arsenal’s form is the joint-second worse in the league, and it’s single-handedly his fault. Of the goals conceded in the last three games, six of the seven have come directly from a mistake at full back. Could it be that a reluctance to spend £4m on a loanee will cost him £40m for the Champions League? And that’s excluding the player exodus that may happen should they fail to qualify.
If Arsenal don’t panic-purchase like they did in August, forget about the top four, they won’t even finish fifth.
You just feel for the fans who are paying an extra 6.5% on tickets when the performances are, at times, laughable.
On Liverpool: Liverpool have suffered the negative fates of the January window. Buying Andy Carroll (the worst signing in the history of world football) for such a high price will always bring pressure, but they’ve spend £75m on Downing, Carroll, Henderson and wrapped them up on such long contracts, that no-one is going to want to buy them. Additionally, they have no more funds to improve the squad. Between the two they end up with a team deep in limbo. This presents worrying times, and it’s no wonder Liverpool were eager to swap Carroll for Tevez; it’s hilariously desperate. It’s like me attempting to trade my girlfriend for Zooey Dechanel, unlikely.
So back to my Gooners, there’s some good in the window, a few fantastic purchases over the years. Arsenal utilised January back in 2009, signing The Lazy Magician; Andrei Arshavin for 15m, a signing which ensured a strong finish to the season. Since then however, the purchases have dried up.
On Arshavin: I’m a fan of Arshavin, even now. My theory is; Just because Wenger plays him at Left-Wing, it doesn’t make him a Winger.
Arshavin has always been creative. For Russia and Zenit he was instrumental playing in the CF role, linking up with the midfield, beating players, shooting at will and assisting in the plus 10’s.
Arsene, likes to play a 4-2-3-1, and because of this, he plays Arshavin out of position, instead of creating a ‘false number 10’ like Barcelona do, and playing a system which suits everyone.
Expectations are different for a winger. Arshavin’s not someone who’ll work hard without the ball, nor has he any intentions of tracking back, when you have full-back’s like Arsenal do, bombing on and hitting the by-line. You really have to wonder the tactical knowledge of Wenger when he insists on playing him at wide-left.
4-3-1-2 is needed, in my opinion. The back 4 picks itself, as does the goalkeeper. Midfield 3 of Song, Arteta, Ramsey, Arshavin just behind; RVP and >Insert Striker here<.
Who should the striker be? Benzema, Olic, Kerzhakov. Anyone really, but it needs to be someone who’s an old fashioned STR. So that RVP could link up and wander around as he pleases. Dzeko, in a heart-beat.
On Gervinho I’ve defended Arshavin, so let me just revoke some of my previous comments on the wonderful; Gervinho.
Things I’ve said:
“Gervinho is the worst signing of Summer 2011”
“Gervinho is the worst player I’ve ever seen live”
“Gervinho is the worst finisher at the club”
“I would rather have Bendtner back, and as Club Captain, than need to spend another penny watching Gervinho”
“Gervinho makes Almunia’s contribution to the club look worthy of a Ballon D’or”
SOME of the above, may – just may – be slightly harsh, so despite the fact he’s missed 9 one-on-ones, got himself sent off and single-handedly cost us games…. I want to just applaud his defensive work.
In recent weeks, due to Wenger’s reluctance to buy a replacement full-back, Coquelin and Djourou have been forced to adopt a make-shift role – where Djourou has been exposed, the LB position has always seemed that little bit safer. Why? I think Gervinho’s work-rate going backwards, is a lot more effective than he’s given credit for. Granted, it’s not his job, but it’s useful nonetheless.
That aside he’s still an atrocious finisher, and he’s pretty low down my personal preference of wingers. In-fact, with a full fit squad, I’d have him playing at Underhill with the reserves.
On the whole, Walcott and Gervinho are simply not good enough, but I’m supportive of a 4-4-2 type midfield with wingers, Wilshere next to Song for games that need width and fluidity. This is where Wenger needs to be more adaptable. 4-2-3-1 may work at Anfield, but it won’t work at home to Fulham. My 4-4-2 would probably feature Gervinho and Alex Oxlade Chamberlain. Both of them give more protection to the back-line which allows us to have 2 strikers.
But as always, we’re second guessing Arsene.
A repercussion to his arrogance and deliberate nature to not do something, solely because someone has told him too/when it’s been advised. It could literally define ‘frustration’, and that’s how the Gooners feel.
January 2011: Arsenal need to buy a defender.
Wenger doesn’t buy one, he perseveres with what he has and the club manage to finish 4th in a 2 horse title race, get knocked out of 3 trophies in 4 weeks and lose our 2 most creative midfielders.
And for this reason I justify my critics on twitter. He is too wrapped up in himself, he does value his own stubborn ways over what’s best for the club, he is obsessed with HIS concept of value, not the market price.
He’s still playing a formation based around a player who’s gone.
He’s refusing to listen to the players, this was shown in Van Persie’s frustrations recently; He’s not respecting nor appreciating the fans, and opponents don’t fear Arsenal. They’re seen, rightly so, as frail, weak, uncertain, like at 2-0 down you can still win because one bad decision and they crumble.
Teams relish playing Arsenal because they know they can get something from the game.
I’m ready to move on from Wenger, Ivan Gazidis too, Peter Hill-Wood as well. The only scenario where I think I’d re-unite my faith in Arsene would be if David Dein was to return.
On boo boys;
Fans pay their money, they have a right to boo, jeer, cheer and clap whomever they please.
I dislike it when fans boo during the match, i.e, the Blackburn fans booing Yakubu for celebrating a goal with the under-fire Steve Kean.
I dislike fans ousting individuals, like the booing of Walcott, Eboue etc. There needs to be more support for a player having an off game.
I agree with fan booing a bad result, a poor referee or a horrific decision from a manager – Like taking off your best player at 1-1, ensuring that you lose the game, Arsene. However, there is no right or wrong way to be a fan, just like there is no right or wrong way to support. At one end of the scale there’s the ever-green “nothing is ever wrong” fans, who follow the notion that everything has a silver lining and will always talk about ‘next year’; and then there are the cynics who disagree with everything and hate everyone.
But I think booing serves a purpose. Wenger needed to know that taking off A.O-C for the sake of it, was wrong. Manchester United is not the game to ‘test’ players, to ‘give them a run out’ or to bring on a favourite out of sheer nostalgia. It’s the kind of game where you play to win. Especially at a club like Arsenal.
With all due respect, there’s “Fans” and there’s “Associates”.
The associates are those who have only been to one game, will watch a game if it’s on sky, and will get one shirt every three years. To these people; you are not a fan, you’re a follower. You enjoy them winning to feel part of a cult, or tribe, but you don’t adhere to the literal abbreviation of fan-atic.
The true fans are those who know the under 18s; those who remember the awful players who had six months and three appearances, and those who put up with Bulgarian commentary on a dodgy link just so they can see the game. It’s these same people who hit a solid 10 games a season, and never miss one unless it’s unavoidable.
My point? I’m starting to notice the difference between the two groups more and more. How the fans are being supported by other fans; whereas the associates are sharing and supporting the views of one another. The two are clashing.
I think when you have an actual passion, you have a right to voice your opinion, and but it’s usually the ‘Associates’ who think they have a right to silence the paying ‘Fans’ for being outspoken. Which in essence is a lead on from my point on ‘right or wrong way’ to be a fan, no-one has the right to tell someone how to support a team, but it seems to be the ‘associates’ who feel they have the right to.
On how the season will finish?
Premier League – Manchester City.
Carling Cup – Liverpool.
FA Cup – Tottenham.
Champions League – Bayern Munich (Arsenal semi-finals)
What a season we have left, though.
As always I welcome the debate, so get in touch with me on twitter on leave a comment below;Follow @markbritton7
Over and out.