Being toothless in front of goal has cost us (come end of the season, we will see to what extent)
Watching Monday’s 'pre-season-type' league match between Newcastle and Arsenal, a match where it seems both teams were happy with playing for a point, showed one the lack of urgency in the squad at the moment. Somehow still sensing the players are unable to get out of the psychological rut of being knocked out of all three cups and following three successive defeats.
We don’t seem to have a true leader on the pitch who can help lift up the heads of the players, who still clearly look out of sorts. What also does not help is us still struggling to get a goal from somewhere, anywhere and after watching yesterday, one has to continue wondering where the goals will come from in the final weeks of this torrid season.
Clearly this season, shots have been rained at the opposition goal, though failing to put teams to the sword has proven quite costly, as teams now are sneaking draws or snatching wins, as Arsenal have become very suspect in defence the longer matches stay at 0-0. We have this TOTAL FOOTBALL policy, our passing and movement is the fastest and slickest around, though we are always failing to convert our numerous chances. In the article of MEAN LEAN, in the defeat to West Ham, we had 11 shots on target, failed to score, the Hammers had 4 shots on target, though in the first half they had one chance and took that chance with aplomb. I don’t even want to tally up the points we would have had by now, had we been more clinical up front with our finishing.
In the summer, for one, Wenger will have to stop treating Arsenal’s transfer kitty as if it was his own, on ArsenalTv a while back he said something down the lines of first getting 'SUPER SUPER PLAYERS', a few weeks later he then says that we don’t need new signings, since where will he fit in a new striker having Henry, Van Persie, Adebayor, Walcott, Bendtner, Baptista and Aliadiere. With the latter 2 players(hopefully gone next season), I do believe we have place for some quality strikers, those that truly do have the goal poaching instincts. Arsenal does need to finally get a striker in the Ian Wright mould, a player who will pick off any scraps in and around the box, a player who is there for all those rebounds and tap ins which we always seem to miss.
We clearly need to bolster the squad, especially with manpower, this season we have seen how thin our squad is when hit with injuries to key positions, we just don’t have experienced/quality players on the sidelines, then have to throw the Young Guns in at the deep end. Another point, we need a few players per position, Adebayor has become complacent now that Henry and Van Persie isn’t around, we need players to turn on the heat on certain first team players who have taken their places for granted. Even Eboue, Toure, Gallas, Hleb amongst others, need a kick up the backside to show that, they can be replaced with quality from the bench, this season it won’t be the case and these players will just go through the motions week in and week out until the end of the season.
Don’t get me wrong, Wenger has assembled a squad of the most talented youngsters and experienced players around but now or more precisely next season, they will have to show their true potential and move on to the next level. To start gunning for the title again, with a very strong challenge, though lacking the required firepower and manpower will leave us still in the doldrums, should nothing change by next season.
Arsenal needs that title form of 2003/04, where be it home or away, we destroyed teams in the first 10-20 minutes of a game, the finishing was no-nonsense and the opposition were just left stunned. Heaven forbid, if teams decided to play for a draw, those Gunners would do a demolition job on them.
With 6 games to go, lets hope our players can get us the goals and results to get into 4th place. I find it just a pity, that with the rut we are in, it has made the 4th league spot, for the second successive season, a hot commodity, with Bolton just breathing down our necks.