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An important summer ahead for Wenger and Arsenal

Mr Wenger has some thinking to do

Mr Wenger has some thinking to do

After another defeat against a fellow top four side, it is clear that Arsenal have a fair amount of work to do that will enable them to challenge for the end of season silverware once more. Defeats from Manchester United and Chelsea have shown that the Gunners are a long way from being a championship winning side once more, but the manner of the losses were far more telling.

Going into the Champions League semi-final tie, Arsenal were in great form and most people thought, coming up against a Manchester United side that were in the middle of a blip, the Gunners would provide a very stern test and possibly even cause a shock. This was not to be as they were out fought, out shot and out gunned by a far superior Manchester United side.

Serious failings in the backline were exposed by a United side lead by Ronaldo, who was at his imperious best. Manuel Almunia was a shadow of the goalkeeper that performed heroics a week prior. Kieran Gibbs let his mistake, which led to the opening United goal, affect his game, and from that point he looked fragile. Fabregas, Van Persie and Adebayor were all overran and handled with ease by Vidic, Evra and an imperious Darren Fletcher, my man of the match despite his red card.

Another devastating home defeat against Chelsea highlights the defensive frailties in the Arsenal line up. Going forward you may not see a better example of passing and movement from an attacking unit in England. Contrast this with a defence that cannot deal with the pace and power Chelsea showed when attacking the frail Arsenal defence. Mikael Silvestre is clearly not up to the job and cannot perform at the highest level, Fabianski does not inspire confidence and the midfield are reluctant to help their defenders out.

The age of Arsene Wenger’s team has often been used as an excuse of kind, but I advocate that most of them are established international players and almost all have plenty of first team experience. A sentiment shared by Manuel Almunia, “The young players are internationals and have been playing for Arsenal for a long time, they have played many games. They should have the experience now. We need to be criticised,” he told the Sunday Express.

My problem with Arsenal is the extremely visible ‘soft centre’ they accommodate. Fabregas, Nasri, Song and Diaby are all reluctant to track back and help their fragile defence, they are far more interested in how they can next attempt to score the perfect goal, Song is probably the most defensive minded of the four but he cannot be commended for his tackling. He reads the game well, but has only just broke into the first team and cannot be relied upon to nullify top quality attacking players such as Frank Lampard every week. A world class proven defensive midfield player should be top of Arsene’s wish list, Denilson is not the answer.

Along with a midfielder, a top quality centre back should be a priority as well. Djourou and Silvestre are not up to the task of replacing Gallas and Toure in the big games. Experience players of quality are essential if Arsenal are to progress from the stagnant state they find themselves in. It seems Arsene is already on the look out for two such players, “We will try, of course, to bring in one or two players to strengthen the squad but we have plenty of strikers. And if we buy, it certainly won’t be players who lack experience. We have enough of those.”

A make or break summer is in the offing for the North London club. Will players like Fabregas and Adebayor stick around to see if Arsene’s plan will come to fruition or will they move on to pastures new, where the chance of silverware may well be higher.

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  1. Jaime

    May 12, 2009 at 5:25 pm

    True Gunner –

    Mate we have some of the best strikers in the league. RVP and Eduardo are both brilliant and when they are on their game they are among the best. And Vela and Bendnter are both young and while Bendnter may lack something he still shows some promise and Vela is brilliant as well. Adebayor is hit and miss. So yes we do have plenty of strikers its just a matter of getting them to form.

    And Drogba is hardly a clinical striker… I note the games against Barca as proof.

  2. Jaime

    May 12, 2009 at 4:48 pm

    Why would we want Altidore? He was loaned out to some 2nd division club. He isnt good enough to make it in the EPL.

  3. RaiderRich

    May 12, 2009 at 4:23 pm

    Pssst. Hey Arsene… Get Jozy Altidore from Villareal.

  4. Morgan

    May 12, 2009 at 10:14 am

    Yea, they can’t spell finish.

    Bring in TEVEZ!!

  5. True gunner

    May 12, 2009 at 2:00 am

    “We will try, of course, to bring in one or two players to strengthen the squad but we have plenty of strikers. And if we buy, it certainly won’t be players who lack experience. We have enough of those.”
    This statement above is bullllll-shiiiiiiiittt Wenger. plenty of strikers who are not clinical and neeeed to miss 5 chances before scoring a goal. Bendtner, Ade, Diaby is all a big joke. Did you see Alex’s header for the first goal? He doesn’t do that week in week out but he gets one chance does it even better than a bunch of our (Wenger’s) ‘strikers’. guys missing chances even at the edge of the 6 yard box and the damn wenger says he has ‘strikers’. Do you know what clinical strikers like Torres, Drogba and Raul would do with such balls? They’d put the damn piece of leather in the f**kin right place. That is what we call a striker NOT a ‘striker’ for your info wenger. U have a bunch of guys who just wait for the weeks wages after doing nothing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Stan

    May 11, 2009 at 8:55 pm

    November 8th Arsenal 2 ManU 1
    November 30th Chelsea 1 Arsenal 2
    March 14th Man U 1 Liverpool 4
    It is easy to be swayed hysterical language used in the media. Words like “gulf” prey on emotion not reason. There is alot of crap out there about how bad Arsenal are. They can beat any team on their day and their future is not bleak.

  7. tyduffy

    May 11, 2009 at 8:44 pm

    I think the issue is depth more than quality. The injuries to Clichy and Gallas just killed them.

    You’re right about central defense and defensive midfield being the priority, though I don’t think they need to break the bank for an elite player.

    The only clubs with a tremendous amount of money to spend will be Man City and Man U. I think there will be a lot of clubs trying to sell to make it a buyers market. Arsenal could conceivably add three of four solid squad players for cheap.

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