hleb_1

A season has come....and has just about gone and soon it will be a time to do a 'post-mortem' of the season. Of course regretting how many points was lost along the way and where we could have been if we turned 1-1 draws into wins, going to West Ham, Man.City, Fulham, Bolton, etc and losing though at the end of the day, it’s all a matter of 'WHAT Ifs!'.

Much would be said of the failure to kill off teams when we are in the driving seat or the fact that wasteful finishing has cost us dearly but one problem that sticks out like a sore thumb, is the lack of goals from midfield. Besides Gilberto bagging 9 goals this season in the league, when one looks at the goal return of Cesc (2), Rosicky(3), Diaby(1), Denilson(0), Walcott(0), Flamini(3), Freddie(0) and especially Hleb(2) is just not up to scratch. This is where I truly miss Robert Pires, the way this guy scored goals, it was as if he was a back up striker to Thierry, where it concerns his goals return. Always chipping in with goals:

Season 2000/01- 29 App. 4 Goals

Season 2001/02- 27 App. 9 Goals

Season 2002/03- 21 App. 14 Goals

Season 2003/04- 33 App. 14 Goals

Season 2004/05- 27 App. 14 Goals

Season 2005/06- 23 App. 7 Goals

Another thing about Pires, he could score some wonderful goals but he was always there to bag a few ugly goals along the way, a real opportunist. He didn’t care if he was scrambling the ball over the line, scoring with looping header or an easy tap-in, this guy picked up any scraps in the box. I think one can also add the likes of Reyes, Wiltord and the Freddie Ljungberg of old. (yes, the one who would latch onto those Dennis Bergkamp throughballs)

A player who has left me quite bemused is Alex Hleb and no, I don’t want to make him out as the scapegoat but I need to clarify something. I have been watching Bundesliga football for years now and watched Hleb, when he made his name at VFB Stuttgart, he still has alot to offer to the club, so we haven’t seen him play at his best. In Germany, this guy could unleash vicious piledrivers, you watch the Arsenal version of Hleb and he tends to either drag his shots, too eager to lay the ball off or having a better chance of hitting the corner flag, than the goal. Maybe it is down tactics, at Stuttgart I believe he had a bit more freedom to do his thing, that is why he still manages to get caught with the ball believing he has time on his side. At Arsenal, he is at a team who base their play on laying off passes, quick-short interchanges and lots of off the ball running...so it is up to him, Rosicky and co to start getting amongst the goals on a regular basis.

If the goals can be spread out amongst the guys in the middle of the park, I don’t think we would actually need a midfield signing in the summer. Come next season, if we can get 7+ goals per midfield player, add to that, the firepower of Henry, Van Persie and Adebayor, we could be gunning for the top again. Finally bringing that 'Scoring, Scoring Arsenal' reputation back to the Emirates !