A guest post from our very own Hunter13
The last piece of the jigsaw ..?
We have a beautiful football club. The set up, the organisation and the ethos. All wonderful.
We also have a very good team, nice lads generally speaking, willing and committed.
We started the season in very difficult circumstances. Crowd booing plus a highly important 180 minutes which was worth £30 million +.
However, this team had already shown significant progress since last Feb-Mar. The word in the summer was about strengthening with top-top quality. The positions were identified as striker and defensive midfielder. That’s exactly what Arsene went for – Luis, Higuain, Cabaye, Flamini. He also knows what is needed, strangely enough ….
When our midfield flows we are devastating. Without a 30-goal hitman it’s natural to seek your goals from midfielders. But when they press us and the midfield don’t have the ‘flow’, that is where you either need a Suarez to clinically kill the opposition, or mean wingers with pace and dribbling ability who can go directly and diagonally inside the opponent’s box. In the past we had Overmars, Ljunberg, Reyes and Pires to do just that.
We had a tough period with many key players out including Theo, Poldi, and Ox, (even Ryo was unavailable), so we played with three and four CAMs all interchanging behind the target-man, but usually without width and mostly playing through the middle or beating high-line offside traps (Napoli, Marseile) usually from Sagna’s side of the pitch.
And it’s worth saying that Sagna has been a monster of a right-back this season.
Besides losing so many key players for half a season, we also had dear Santi recovering from ankle injury and it took him a while to re-settle into the side with the pace and the physicality of the English game.
So we went on with heroic Ramsey and Giroud plus flashes of brilliance from Ozil and, throughout, ‘imPERious’ defensive stability. And the system worked.
Lately though, and taking into account fatigue, the system couldn’t produce goals. Our midfield was pressured and kicked to death and we’d either not score or score from a player’s solo effort – against Chelsea, City, and our first against West Ham, for example.
There has also been a slight confusion in terms of which games we play Arteta and in which we play Flamini. In games were we need to dominate and kick a few backsides, as well as suffocate opponents, I think the services of Flamini Rosicky and Jack are required. In games were we need a more sophisticated, composed approach we need Arteta. Against Everton for instance, we needed Flamini and Rosicky from the start, but they had played against Napoli. Same goes for the Chelsea home game. Flamini should have been in there to kick Ramires and Obi. Arteta is a very delicate technical artist, not ideal to be a bully or a Gatusso. His talents are more suited for Europe provided he remembers that in Europe you have to be careful with your fouls, unlike the EPL.
I’m of the opinion that Wenger can see his team struggling to score when midfield isn’t firing and that he will go for a clinical finisher now that his wingers are back. I love Giroud to bits and his goal at Newcastle was both important and very difficult to score, but the way he plays (chasing every ball) he will inevitably suffer fatigue and potentially a lack of confidence.
Manager and club need to assist Giroud in this department. Giroud is a great target-man. A lad who can get you 15 goals a season and when in form has good finishing ability, too. And whether the ball is low or high (feet or head) his abilities are unquestionable but he is no Thierry Henry to take the ball, go past two and slide it past the keeper. There will be games when our negated midfield will need such a striker. Wenger might think that since he got 30 goals out of Adebayor anyone can play up top since we create so many scoring opportunities for our striker. But to win the big ones you need something else – va-va-voom.
Philosophically, perhaps, he is aiming for this group to do it as it currently is. But realistically, for that to happen we need things to go our way. If the board view this season as an opportunity to stake a claim of dominance, then they must authorise Wenger to spend what he wants, on whoever he wants.
2013-2014 is for ARSENAL