The result against Norwich is the type that feels like someone has thrown a huge bucket of cold water over you, whilst you were daydreaming about what you wanted or what you thought you had. Of course this is the typical reaction following a loss of this nature – after clinching a draw with the reigning champions (who in hindsight aren’t really all that and we should have won), there is a sense of optimism, renewed hope, genuinely something to be happy about and take positives from. However when you go on to lose against a team who haven’t picked up a point all season (why is it teams always get their ‘firsts’ against us? First goal of the season, first win, first penalty for seven years, first goal from X in 1099043 billion minutes of football, first clean sheet since 2003 etc etc) it really hammers home some of the truths you perhaps wanted to hide from.
Firstly the goalkeeping situation. A few weeks ago I talked about the worry I had over this position and the fact it may become a problem after finally seeming to get it sorted. And after finally having the other 10 positions pretty sorted, the goalkeeping one becomes an issue once more. Bad luck undoubtedly plays a part, why we are cursed with such unfortunate chance is really beyond me but as they often say, you make your own luck. The reason our luck probably looks so bad is the fact we don’t prepare for it. So when your first choice goalkeeper gets injured for 2-3 Jack Wilshere weeks, there should be provisions in place, i.e. an experienced back up goalkeeper. Now I know Fabianski is out injured as well and a small part of me thinks he may have been good given a run in the team, the chances are he would have been just as kack as Mannone anyway. Heck even Szcz hasn’t filled me with the greatest of confidence lately. So anyway, we are down to our 3rd choice keeper. Someone who was going to be allowed to leave in the summer now is the last line of defence. I’m all for giving players a chance, he may well have been good enough (although after spending so long at the club surely the coaches can’t be surprised) but I think that’s his Arsenal career over, in the Almunia sense anyways. You know what I mean, poor goalkeeper still plays even though we know he will break our heart then eventually gets replaced a bit too late, and falls off into obscurity. Personally I think we should give Damian Martinez a run out. By all accounts he is held in quite high regard and the mistakes Mannone makes are elementary. Basic goalkeeping skills that if you don’t have now I can’t quite imagine you ever having – so it can’t be much worse. Hopefully in January Wenger will move for an experienced goalkeeper, not only for cover but to also help out the future of this position. I’d like us to go for Sebastian Frey, simply because we’ve been linked with him since 1997 and I think it would be nice to finally end the longest running transfer saga in the history of football.
The second awakening is the annoyance of constantly becoming a one man team. Every year a big player leaves and we buy into the ‘the whole team is responsible now’ bla bla bla. I wanted to believe it this season, but I knew the same old would happen. Now it seems as soon as Cazorla is marked out of the game that’s it, over for us. You could argue the same about Arteta and I suppose call us a two man team, but it doesn’t really count when Arteta is so far back and unable to have that much of a direct influence anyway. In my opinion Podolski hasn’t done what I hoped he would and failing to play 90minutes this season is a real concern for me. He was the man supposed to replace RVP and give us some hope, and he has done his part to an extent but I still wanted so much more from him. Maybe he is the victim of playing the system too well, he is a workhorse down the left hand side and has a good partnership with Gibbs. But I would much rather see him given more of a free-role with license to express himself. Then there is Gervinho. Now, has he improved since last year, or are we a poorer side and he just looks better/stands out more? He is the best rubbish player I think I have ever seen. Amazingly frustrating. So often it looks like he is a world beater before you realise he isn’t. It’s almost that feeling you get when you have been waiting ages for a bus, then when one arrives it’s the wrong number. But to be frank, we shouldn’t be in a position where we are waiting to discover if this player is any good or not, we shouldn’t have to hope the Brazilian Gervinho is going to turn up on match day, we shouldn’t be relying on such an erratic player. And we are relying on him to an extent. Again, hopefully in January Wenger will act and sign a clinical striker. I’d love Falcao and it’s the type of signing we have been waiting for and in all fairness deserve. But we are Arsenal. And instead, we will probably target the best striker in the worlds… partner, Adrian Lopez. Oh to be a Gooner.
We also have this habit of becoming so easy to read it really is ridiculous. In all honesty we haven’t really played the exciting brand of pure football that has been ascribed to us for quite some time. Some may say the Hleb-Cesc-Flamini (who I might add is the biggest cunt ever for leaving and I really think we missed him)-Rosicky midfield, others may argue the Jack-Cesc-Nasri midfield, but anyway it’s not as good as it used to be. Last season we probably looked better and more attractive because that Dutch asshole used to create most of his goals himself from half chances. I’m in no position to criticise Wengers tactics and offer an alternative that I think would be better, but it is clear that we don’t seem to have *it* any more. And here’s another thought, one of our best players wouldn’t be here now if he didn’t take a pay cut to join us. From the oil funded super rich powerhouses Everton.
10 points of the lead says it all really. 2 points better off than last season at this stage. 2 points better than a team that was responsible for one of the worst starts in recent memory.
We need to string together one of them impressive runs, 10 games in a row on the bounce. The Premier league this season really is poor and it would be a travesty if we were not challenging for it come March.