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The last two weeks have been sad ones for Gooners everywhere. The three games against Chelsea and Man Utd have been humiliating and hard to take. Contributors to this site seem to generally fall into the 'optimists' camp but those who read the threads will know that I fall into the 'pessimists' camp. There is a tendency amongst both camps to engage in one-upmanship and 'I told you so' comments. I really want to avoid that because we all want the same thing. The Arsenal are a great, proud football club and we all love them.
I do need to ask though the BIG question. How much bigger does the gap need to get before AW acknowledges that something more radical than buying a 'good prospect' or two from abroad will fix things?
There have been comments suggesting that we reached two semi-finals and finished 4th so we are 'pretty close' to Chelsea and Man Utd. Surely the last two weeks have dispelled that notion? For those that believe not, I ask you to consider that we were trounced in all three games. Our central midfield went AWOL throughout and the defence was guilty of comical errors. We lost 2-8 in 270 minutes over the three games and both of our goals came at times where we were already 3-0 down and the match over. That is pretty comprehensive. When you throw in the semi against Chelsea where we were largely outplayed as well, I cannot see what EVIDENCE there is of us being able to offer serious competition to those two sides.
AW's comments today are bordering on the farcical and when even Patrick Barclay who is his staunchest defender suggests that he needs to look at things closely then you know that all is far from well.
I am not the first to say it, and I won't be the last, but Wenger has to stop being stubborn, he has to invest in a strong spine to hang the decorations around. A strong Centre Midfielder (Hargreaves?) a strong centre half able to mark, head the ball and clear his lines as well as organise the defence (Silvestre was not really the answer) and centre forward to replace Adebayor whose attitude is dreadful. No more imports though, they must have proven Premiership experience otherwise they will be three months in before they make an impact and they cannot 'lead' when they don't know the league, the environment (or in some cases the language) Tevez could actually be a fantastic acquisition to add some steel and purpose to our play. He can play up front or in midfield as well.
The great Wenger sides between 98 and 04 were built around a superb combination of 'Old Arsenal' and 'New Arsenal' . Combining the toughness and resilience of the back 5, with new flair players and a Central Midfield of awesome power and dominance. That template was brilliant, exciting to watch and hugely effective in the Premiership. Maybe failure in Europe was the reason behind it, but he has ditched that in favour of a one-dimensional approach, with emphasis on quick passing and rapier like thrusts. Great when it works, but when you play against sides who dominate the middle of the park , contest possesion fiercely (and win more often than not) and also themselves have quick, agile players then it can comer unstuck. Ally this with midfielders like Song and Denilson who like to slow the game down rather than ping it forawrd quickly and we become weak and open to the kind of defeats we have seen recently.
The fans yesterday showed their feelings and I sense that many many fans are frurstrated and tired out with hearing the same things from Wenger. The emperor has no clothes and we know it. We COULD be a top side and that is frustrating but without the spine we can't be. It is totally unfair on the kids to keep saying they will deliver when he refuses to give them the wherewithal to do so. Wenger you have one last chance for me and many other fans. Use it or lose it.