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Is This The Arsenal Side to Redeem Wenger?

van persie
Gooners should be forgiven for indulging in optimism.  With 36 goals in 11 matches, talk of Arsene Wenger’s gun slinging side has done much to impress, and you can sense the Frenchman is a few wins away from making some sort of bold prediction, ala the Invincibles.  To be five points from leaders Chelsea with a game in hand, and especially with such a heavily-populated injury list, the Professor must believe his seemingly eternally-young side has the best shot at a domestic title since the Gunners’ monumental collapse two years ago.

Two years ago, Eduardo’s injury, William Gallas’ tantrum and a successive streak of draws dismantled the North London side, and Arsenal fans were left with an empty, sick feeling in their stomachs, a bit like the minute Jens Lehmann got sent off against Barcelona in the 2006 Champions League Final.  Only, this time, there was the horrific nature of the Croatian’s injury and the realization that Arsenal were a young and callow team that crumbled to pieces.  Now, and the Gunners are playing some of their best football.  Robin van Persie has become more of the striker he was when he first became a first-teamer for Arsene Wenger, Cesc Fabregas is a seasoned 22, and Andrei Arshavin can only be labeled a success, especially considering Wenger sold Kolo Toure for for about 2 million less to Man City.

36 goals in 11 games  is impressive, reminding us of the old Arsenal, just after “1-0 to the Arsenal” became ironic after Wenger’s arrival.  But the Gunners still seem a bit thin on the bench, especially in that back line.  Thomas Vermaelen has been more than excellent, as Gallas seems to maintain his level of play despite all the distractions of having a crap personality and age.  Once one of those two pick up an injury though, and Wenger is left to pick from Phillipe Senderos and Mikael Silvestere.  Perhaps Senderos picked up incredible knowledge and quickness while he warmed the bench at Milan, and perhaps Silvestere will defy age and the two will be able to pick up the slack at times for the rest of a long season.  Either way, the Gunners will have to keep scoring at will to catch Chelsea, who seem to be much tighter defensively, or at least don’t seem to fall asleep on set pieces as much.

It would be nice to see Arsenal regain a little bit of it’s luster, at least to break up the monotony of Manchester United and Chelsea.  With Liverpool their own worst enemy, and struggling with a thin bench, they’re seemingly out of the picture.  There’s very little staking-of-claims on the title going on between the Blues and the Red Devils, and the clash between them last weekend was akin to a pair of battering rams knocking each other senseless in the middle of the park, with a few little handbags thrown in.  A push into the top four by Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur has seemed to have fizzled out, as the former spend their time performing in front of ownership in Qatar, and the latter deal with well, being Spurs.

The Gunners have yet to hold their own against a tough side.  The season’s only a third of the way through, and who knows how durable Fabregas and Arshavin will be all season long.  Perhaps we’ll know a bit more at the end of November, when Chelsea come to North London for a visit.  With Jose Bosingwa, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole out, now’s the Gunners’ best chance to make up a bit of difference and become a threat for the title.

Arsene Wenger likes to talk about being patient, letting his young team develop, all the while holding that belief is the central tenet to winning.  Gooners, do you have belief that your team can win the title this year?  Have they matured enough, and does Wenger have the right pieces to bring some silver back to North London?

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  1. kayonga

    November 16, 2009 at 6:10 am

    To bad for RVP, i hate the so called international friendlies

  2. Arsenal14

    November 16, 2009 at 12:40 am

    I for 1 am shocked at what we have done this year so far..I didnt think Man United would look so weak but its clear they WILL NOT win the title this year..They look horrific at the back and without Christina they have no big game changing player..dont say Rooney the crybaby can only change the game by cursing like a little brat and try to pressure the refs into bad calls and does come through with big clutch plays trailing BY HIMSELF..Liverpool NEED TO GET RID OF the Waiter they call a manager who drove away they’re second best midfielder and sold away all of their Strikers minus Fernando..Chelsea seems to be lead canidates for the title but the great thing is Carlo can not manage in the league and in the Champions League at the same time..he proves this year after year and Chelsea want the Cl more..At the years start I thought we would be in a battle for fourth but I believe now we have a shot at the Title..we ll see though what we do without RVP and if were not getting 4-6 week injurys in practice year after year in a stupid meaningless freindly played infront of 400 people we get this..btw Senderos is horrific..he makes 2-3 big mistakes any time hes in, for years now..He made the mistake against Drogba years ago and I was like well maybe a big 1st time mistake and then every game after he still makes the same mistakes! sometimes we just dont get punished..I d also like to see us get rid of the Goofball we replaced Lehman with bc we thought he was a Special funny..Arsenal for the title..Man U for 5th..Man City for 4th!

  3. Gunner JD

    November 15, 2009 at 6:01 pm

    Yeah really jeez Brian. Nice going. Well, at least you took responsibility. Ah, the power of the media…

    Actually, I don’t think it’s the end of the world. Eduardo has expressed his desire to contribute. Theo could have something to say if he can stay fit (ugh). And then there’s the ridiculous Russian. Maybe some of these attacking midfielder type players can step up and play a more forward role. Nasri, Rosicky, the potential of Ramsey and Wilshere (all predicated on not incurring any more catastrophic injuries). It’s not like most of these players play, you know, defense. A couple guys are going to have to step up and show us what they’re made of.

    All is not lost. I actually think silverware is still a distinct possibility. No seriously. Think about it. We’re not a one man team. The Professor will tell you.

    Oh and hey…the transfer market?

    …Carlos Vela…?

    ah, crap…

  4. Brian

    November 15, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    I knew I should’ve used Eboue for the story pic instead . . . .

  5. Melanie

    November 15, 2009 at 2:05 pm

    A day later and Van Persie is out, which really might change things for Arsenal again.

  6. Richard

    November 15, 2009 at 11:24 am

    Right on the money-until once again the international break cursed the team. Let’s hope Eduardo can be the lone striker–or will this be Walcott’s time to shine?

  7. kevin_Amold

    November 15, 2009 at 12:16 am

    This article cursed Van Persie and Arsenal…..

    Just kidding. But seriously, terrible news for Van Persie and the Gunners. What a shame.

    • HubGunner

      November 15, 2009 at 9:18 am

      …as I was saying back in August it would have been nice to have Ade around for when RVP gets hurt…but what do I know…

  8. Nick

    November 14, 2009 at 12:35 pm

    For all the Professor’s astonishing ability to spot and nurture attacking talent in my opinion he does have a poor track record in his defensive acquisitions. This is particularly evident in the goalkeepers, I would like to see us sign a real top ‘keeper, this with better injury cover for Gallas and Vermaelen would be the key to achieving the consistency needed to win premierships.

  9. Gunner JD

    November 13, 2009 at 3:21 pm

    I’m in agreement with most of the above. Rich has a very good point: Vermaelen hasn’t been here very long, and the chemistry with Gallas should only improve. And it’s not like Arsenal are TERRIBLE at defense, we’re just not a defensive-minded team. If we are to win the PL this year, it will most likely be on the back of our strength: Attack. More and better than anyone else.

    It also stands to reason that if a bunch of optimistic gunner fans on a blog are aware of their defensive depth problems, then Wenger himself certainly is. Which brings up an interesting idea: The January transfer market!

    Yes I know that the preference of the Professor is to build from youth within and all that, but he has dabbled at times with the more established player base in the transfer market. He’s certainly not against adding a key piece or two of the puzzle ON TOP of his established squad. Is he? He went after Vermaelen and before that did anyone really know who he was (Ajax fans excepted)? With all the pennies pinched and good returns on players who have fetched WAY more than he had to pay to get them initially, surely a little spending should be possible?


    One more good defender please, Arsene?

    • Money Spent

      November 16, 2009 at 10:21 am

      Wenger spent a good deal of money on Arshavin and Vermalen. The issue is that Arsenal don’t have the depth to weather injuries to key players (granted, most teams can’t). But when you have the money to spend, and I think Wenger could spend more (how much, I don’t know), and he still refuses to buy cover for key players, then Wenger deserves criticism. Now that Bendter and Van Persie are injured, now what? I mean, you have to assume that Van Persie will be injured for a good chunk of each season and plan accordingly. To not do so is biting your nose off to spite yourself.

      • b

        November 16, 2009 at 12:42 pm

        Just finished reading the book Arsenal: The Making of a Modern Football Club. Because I’m an Arsenal dork.

        Anyway, it gives interesting perspective on the claims that Wenger has money to spend and isn’t spending it. Without saying it in so many words, they basic takeaway is that Wenger had no money from the minute the new stadium was announced, and had to fund all of his transfers by selling. And you even get the feeling that not all of that money was available for transfers as some of it had to go to new contracts for current players.

        Granted, some of his reluctance to buy is that he feels like he has to stay dedicated to developing the younger players he has. But a lot of it sounds like Arsenal really had no money and the headlines about Wenger having money to spend were purely PR.

        • Money Spent

          November 16, 2009 at 1:46 pm

          Maybe, maybe not. He could always sell to buy, like most other clubs (if what you say is true, then that’s what he’s been doing). He has a very, very large stockpile of players to sell. Didn’t he let Gilberto Silva go on a free. Lost the opportunity to cash in on him? Point is, Wenger is stubborn (but a great coach). Up until now, he has not acknowledged his team’s weakness – lack of quality depth. His response has always been to let youth rule. Tough to do in the EPL.

          Arsenal is a legit threat this year because of Arshavin and Vermalen, IMO. Wenger went out and bought a class, experience star and a solid defender (who was not cheap at around 10 million pounds, so stop saying he “found” him, he was obviously known, thus the price tag).

  10. b

    November 13, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    i think djorou was supposed to be the back up plan for defense, but his injury has exposed just how short our bench is.

    i like senderos. but i watched him a couple times in milan colors and he’s still scary to have at the back.

    btw, i don’t think arsenal fall asleep defending set pieces. i think they’re a bunch of 5’7″ offensive minded wingers who don’t play defense well, even when they’re concentrating. i wish it was just falling asleep, because then it could be fixed.

    • HubGunner

      November 14, 2009 at 6:22 am

      You “like” Senderos yet he’s “scary” to have at the back? What does this mean? You like the man personally?

      Senderos is perhaps the worst player in the EPL and when Arsenal finally falls out it of because of their lack of depth Senderos will no doubt be picking the ball out of the back of the net with that stupid look on his face. Senderos has no business getting a game for a side like Arsenal but Wenger “beleeeeeves” in him.

      • b

        November 15, 2009 at 5:05 pm

        “You “like” Senderos yet he’s “scary” to have at the back? What does this mean? You like the man personally?”

        It means I, irrationally, like him. His dopey looks actually make me feel sorry for him. And I appreciate his effort. I remember watching him bleeding profusely after going in strong for a header. He got bandaged up, ran back out, and played like a pro. I like that kind of stuff.

        But yeah, he’s not good. But nowhere near “worst player in the EPL.”

  11. Rich

    November 13, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    I think Arsenal’s defense will only get better as the season progresses. Remember, the Verminator and Gallas have only played together a short time.

  12. football shirt

    November 13, 2009 at 12:03 pm

    Agree with Jonathan, Arsenal are the dark horses but need to lock down their defense more to have any realistic chances of holding off great attacking teams.

  13. Johan

    November 13, 2009 at 4:28 am

    Do not forget Djourou. Could be back before february

  14. jonathan

    November 13, 2009 at 3:17 am

    glad to see a semi-optimistic blog about arsenal fc. I like to think i’m pretty oppjective, but ofcourse i”m going to have some bias towards my club(arsenel, obviously.) regardless, I think arsenal poses a threat to at-the-very-least pose a threat to the epl, i think they could go to the finals of the CL as well, but that is besides the point; the arsenal are definitely title contenders this season, if they could tighten up the back, like you said keep that clean sheets, definetely going to hurt us come march/april. but as long as we out score our opponents (3+/match) we will be doing just fine.

    One-Nil to the Arsenal,

  15. SeminoleGunner

    November 13, 2009 at 3:10 am

    You hit the nail on the head bringing up Silvestre and Senderos. I fear we’ll only go as far as that defensive cover can take us, since with there will be key injuries at some point.

    No matter what, this has the makings of a fun season for Arsenal.

  16. husein

    November 13, 2009 at 3:06 am

    as the former spend their time performing in front of ownership in Qatar???

    • Brian

      November 13, 2009 at 8:39 pm

      Sorry, Abu Dhabi

  17. Don

    November 13, 2009 at 3:02 am

    Redeem Wenger? Did he commit some crime against humanity?

  18. Chamika De Zoysa

    November 13, 2009 at 2:44 am

    What? “Chelsea, who seem to be much tighter defensively, or at least don’t seem to fall asleep on set pieces as much” didn’t you watch the games against, Aston Villa, Wigan… far Set pieces didn’t cost us much as they were to Chelsea………

    • drew

      November 13, 2009 at 3:56 am

      Agreed Chamika. Chelsea’s defending of setpieces during the Villa game were atrocious. Good for us though. Up the Villa.

    • oliver

      November 13, 2009 at 11:27 am

      presumably since the Villa game… Since then it’s been 5 clean sheets out of 6 (the odd one out being the 2-2 in Madrid)

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