Written by Mean Lean on Tuesday, 20 December 2011 23:12
Good evening or night, something silly like that. Blog writing hasn't been on the agenda of late due to doing a Darren Bent. Christmas shopping when I should be doing something more important, like thinking about Arsenal.
Usually I would have just skipped the blog but with the game tomorrow I thought I needed to take some thoughts off my mind and make some space for the Villa game tomorrow evening. It is just far too congested in my head to have both right now.
A few newspapers have said that Arsenal are looking to offload Andrey Arshavin in January and are open to offers. Firstly, the fact that a red top has come up with this story doesn't actually mean that it is true. They may well have pulled that story from their arse and just ran with it, especially as Arshavin was on the end of plenty of social media stick, post Manchester City on Sunday.
That being said, you really wouldn't be surprised if Andrey Arshavin was no longer a registered player at the best club in the world at some point in January or certainly by the summer.
It obviously isn't going for him right now and hasn't done so consistently for, well a long time. Personally I was quite surprised that we had a mass shake up of the squad without Arshavin being moved on. Not because I do not rate the player, or even that he has lost form but given his age and his gradual decline you would have thought that Arsene would have cashed in and reinvested the money into a younger model so to speak.
Arshavin ended the season as back up to Walcott and Nasri, now he is back up to Gervinho and Walcott. This situation isn't doing anyone any good. At 30 Arshavin needs to play, he needs to be central to a team that can get the best out of his strengths. I don't mean central in terms of position but in importance to the team.
This newly constructed Arsenal team need wide players with stamina and athleticism. Andrey Arshavin cannot run up and down the flank for 90 minutes every three days. Since he joined in 2008, he was able to get away with misplacing passes and shooting straight at the keeper instead of finding the corners because he was still nudging through diagonal slide rule passes to runners and setting up goals. To be honest, Andrey Arshavin hasn't been much different from the time he joined to the Arshavin we see today.
Ask any Gooner what was Arshavin's greatest performance in an Arsenal shirt and 9 times out of 10 they will point to 'that' night at Anfield. He played amazing that day, an outstanding performance they might scream. Watch the game back and before his goal he was poor. He gave the ball away continuously and was on the periphery of the game. After that pretty much every shot he hit flew in. To this day, I stand by my original view that apart from his outstanding shooting boots, Arshavin didn't have the greatest game which may seem a strange thing to say as all you want from an attacking player is end product. But had each of his efforts marginally flew past the post or crossbar in season 2011/12 he would be lambasted for his lack of defensive input and/or misplaced passes.
I could be wrong and the Andrey Arshavin with super end product is just around the corner but my hunch is that Andrey needs a change of scenery. He needs a new league, a league where the physical demands are far less than what he takes part in on a weekly basis and we need to add new players to our front line. Which type of player that is, I don't know. The manager is in a better place to make that judgement. Arsene may see things in training that we do not and perhaps his best form isn't just a distant memory. Whatever happens, we will need additions to our front line when the window swings open next month.
There are so many options for the type of player who will add end product to our front line. Another false 9 who can attempt to replicate van Persie? Another quick wide forward that is direct, skilful and who can take on players? Or perhaps a creative wide man who is inventive and can make assists. If a player comes in from abroad then we cannot discount the usual adaptation period needed so it may not even be an instant fix.
January will be interesting.
Hearing that Kieran Gibbs has had a set back just left me shaking my head once more. You get your hopes up that the last injury could be the end of the bad luck only for something else to kick you straight in the mouth. While we are here, where is Diaby? Surely the footballing gods have to think about these things a little more. If you are going to strike a midfielder down with injury issues then surely the Karl Henry's of this world would be better suited than super talents like Abou Diaby. Yes I said it, a super talent. What cha gonna do about it?
So we go to Villa who are crap and have been beaten by every Tom, Dick and Redknapp. Everyone expects us to win and I just hate that. In fact I hate the feeling of this whole game. The way I am feeling, I would be absolutely delighted if we came out of Birmingham with three points. To me, this fixture just smells rotten. I hope I am wrong.
This year's crisis is at full back. We seem to have a favourite position every year (behave) and this time round it is both full back positions. It was keepers at the end of last season, strikers season before that. Even players who move out of their normal positions to cover our full backs end up getting crocked. I just pray that van Persie isn't asked to fill in at left back at any point tomorrow.
Anyway, if you are awake in the UK then it is past your bedtime. And to any other time zones, have a great morning or afternoon.
Back tomorrow with Villa pre match nerves.