Posted by Sonuvagun
So no prizes for guessing why we at COTA have been a bit slack of late. In case you hadn’t noticed the Arsenal world is so depressing it’s hard to summon up the required amount of calories to pen even a piffling post about how deep into the abyss our hopes have sunk. Captain Fab has gone, Nasri is 99.9% out as we speak, our usual injury crisis has set in right from the offset of the season (compounded by a three stupid and unnecessary suspensions) and Wenger is wheeling out the same old trite cliches regarding his lack of spending… it’s undeniably gloomy, and even the most optimistic fan is facing this season with a heart of dread. Put your hands up if you wouldn’t take 4th place in the League right now if it was offered? And group qualification in the CL and maybe an FA Cup semi-final. If these are our targets/hopes it’s sad to see how far we’ve slipped…
Naturally the Le Boss has come under a lot of stick, and whilst I am still of the opinion he is by far the best man in the job, at some point (he’s got about 7 days) he is going to have to pull his head of the sand and deliver an honest appraisal of the players he has at his disposal. And he’s got to start counting the cost of blooding youngsters in in the first team, where experience is needed in every position if you want to be in with a shout at a title. For a long time we (the fans) were maybe happy to pitch up in second or third position on the basis that this was a team growing up together… a crack group of youth players about to peak and dominate the footballing universe. But the selling of Fabregas at 24 and Nasri at 23 has just blown that ideology out of the water. A big team needs to be competitive every year if it is to retain its star players, and – much as it pains me to say it – you only have to look at Manchester United to see how much better they are at blooding in talented youngsters with seen-it-all-before-veterans, whilst winning a heap of trophies along the way.
How much is Wenger to blame? Who knows. How many deals has he tried to strike that have been hijacked? What limitations has the board set? To what extent has player/agent greed forced his hand? His refusal to acknowledge his mistakes, or change his line (at least publicly) hardly bodes well though. Nor does it keep the fans on his side.
So what about Fabregas? Well my view is he gave everything for 8 years and that’s enough. We all knew he wanted to go back to Barca. In some ways its surprising he stayed as long as he did. There’s nothing much to do but wish him well. As for Nasri… he’s deservedly come in for some abuse. But he’s hardly the devil. He was ready to honour his contract. He never sulked or demanded a move, and if you compare his demeanour to say Luka Modric right now, you have to say he hasn’t been that bad. Modric with 5 years left to run on his contract is all but refusing to play for Spurs in order to force a move, Nasri with one year left kept a low profile and we’ve at least managed to get a huge fee for him. Personally I feel we should have just given him the wages he asked for when he asked for them. Even if you can’t compete on transfer fees you have to compete on wages if you want to get/keep the top players… whether that was down to the board or AW drawing the line I don’t know. We’ll survive without him, and he’s an arrogant little shite for sure, but he was an exciting player and losing him in the same year as Fab is going to hurt us technically and psychologically.
What now? Is there any light at the end of the tunnel? It all depends on who we can bring in. Our defense may be creaky, but with TV back in the squad and Koscielny fully blooded in it should be stronger than last year, even if AW doesn’t buy. What we’re really desperately missing now is one or two star quality play makers. Fabregas and Nasri were both key to our high possession style of play and creativity/goals. The likes of Walcott and Arshavin, whilst dangerous, simply give the ball away too cheaply too often. (and I get the impression, from what we’ve seen so far, that Gervinho is of the same mold). They’re danger men held together by the passing prowess of our midfield maestros. Who have we got who can dictate the game in the middle of the park and keep us ticking… Rosicky – too crap. Diaby – too injured/sloppy. Song – limited passing range. Wilshere or Ramsey – maybe, but they are both unfinished products. We’ve just lost arguably the best passer of the ball in football, and one of the most dangerous on the ball players, both of whom hardly ever gave away possession. Wenger is going to have to pull something special out of the bag to replace them and I for one am very worried it’s not even possible… Nonetheless, and whilst we rightly acknowledge it’s partly his fault that he’s left it to the 11th hour (although Barca, Man City and Chelsea – for hijacking the Mata deal – are all also to blame), if you were to charge one man with bringing an outrageously good signing to the Emirates with 7 days before the transfer window closed, who would it be?
Dear Mr. Wenger this is your chance for redemption. And if he comes in the form of Bastian Schweinsteiger so much the better… With him and Song in midfield our defence could be Squillaci, Silvestre, a blindfolded Gael Clichy and me, with David de Gea in goal, and we’d still keep a clean sheet every game.