Saturday, August 20, 2011

Curious Case of Unlucky Arsenal

The misery at the Emirates has reached such levels that even my non-football watching friends know that something is wrong with Arsenal. Media has tried really hard to portray that among the big clubs in Premier League, we're the worst. During the game yesterday, some bloody commentator even said that Arsene's last big signing was Jose Antonio Reyes, fricking looney forgetting our Russian. But if we look at the football which was played against Liverpool for the first 70 minutes, Arsenal didn't do bad at all. Liverpool had Carroll, Henderson and Charlie Adam, their latest stellar signings, starting for them. But throughout the ponytailed gobshite's stay on the pitch Vermaelen had him in his pocket . Our vice-captain didn't allow him a single header and won every tackle. Pool's other two starlets in the midfield looked totally out of their depth and didn't have much impact on the game. It was pretty obvious that Charlie Adam is slower than an obese midget, that potato, I just hate him.

Coming back to Arsenal, it was surprising to see Nasri start for us. Only Arsene knows how he has allowed things to come to this. Even though Nasri was rattled after the chants against him at Newcastle, he put in a good shift. He made few good runs and was one of our better players in the midfield, sadly the other one couldn't complete the game. I missed Frimpong's first yellow as I was shifting myself from a dodgy stream to the telly but I know that it was needless. Until his second yellow, he had a good game, won the ball many times only to be squandered later by his teammates. He's a physical player who likes to make tackles and if he wants to finish games in the future, he will have to control his reckless aggression. I think Theo has his heart set on the role once performed by the former No. 14. But he looked short of ideas yesterday and his crosses were baffling. I'm sure Arsene will have a word or two with him after his performance. Adding to our midfield woes, Arshavin had a game to forget. Although he had had many such games last season but an improved performance was expected of him this time. He couldn't thread a single pass and continuously lost possession. Only one time when he managed to pass the ball, Robin shot tamely at it. With Ramsey struggling in the role of our midfield conductor, it was ensured that there's no supply to Robin who wandered all over the pitch just to get the ball to his feet.

After the game, I was not worried about the result. It could have been much worse if SZCZ was not in the goal. He made some amazing saves and in one-on-one situations, I think he's among the best in the league. Although, one could argue that he played a part in Liverpool's second goal by coming off his line too early but in a game already lost due to bad decisions, an error in judgement will only become a part of his learning. In the heavy downpour, Arsene cut a worrisome figure. He has had a difficult summer and if he stalls on further action, it will be a very long season for him and everyone attached to the club. One thing that struck me the most is the number of injuries we have had for past two seasons and this season doesn't seem to be any different. There has to be something fundamentally wrong because this situation couldn't be all due to bad luck. Our already thin squad is made to look thinner because of regular injuries. We should reanalyze our training approach, players' physical regimes and their diet because the continuous flow of crocked players to our infirmary is getting completely out of hand.

Defeat against Liverpool can become a stepping stone for the new season. There were positive takeaways like Vermaelen's supremacy in air and his marshaling skills during set-pieces, Frimpong's hunger for ball-winning tackles in the midfield, Chesney's growing aura between the poles. But the lack of quality and creativity in our midfield was apparent. Cesc's departure has created a void in that department which will not be helped by Nasri's acrimonious adieu. Arsene need to plug that hole or we will continue to struggle to score goals. Also required are a genuinely fit leftback and a good back-up for centerback position. As Le Boss mentioned, that we will have to trust his judgement and we do trust him, but it will be interesting to see if he trusts our demands or not.

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