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Arsenal FC: Here's To The Off-Days


We all have off-days. If we play sports, we have off-days and occasional injuries. If we’re Arsenal we have off-days, occasional injuries, and the opportunity to win a lot of trophies if we use the transfer window well. If not? Well, it’s not as up in the air as last year felt at this time, but it’s still up in the air… with no one to head it in, lay it off, or tumble in after it with ugly determination.

Which almost brings me to my point: you can hate Arsenal for any number of personal reasons, but if you’re a fan of football, you watch them regardless because they epitomize “The Beautiful Game.” Most of the time. Almost all the time. But what about those off-days? And worse yet, what about when they’re compounded by injuries and a sorely missed Alex Song? Anyone witnessing the arctic display at The Emirates Saturday had to be asking some questions: How many times can you thread one of those gorgeous passes in the final third right to the grateful feet of an Everton defender? How easy was it for anyone wearing blue on the right side- let alone the debutante Donovan- to break down an Arsenal defense sabotaged by Traore’s horrific displays? Yes, of course they had their “Gunners Moments.” They always do. That’s why we watch them. But again; off day.

Which brings me to my point. If they don’t pick up a sizeable, physical presence to solidify the attack, this season is a guess for the Gunners at best. And most would guess Chelsea. However, if they can pick up a largish somebody who’s good with their back to the goal, laying off assists to the ridiculous amount of quality they will be surrounded by, well, the trophies are theirs for the taking. But they need somebody on the front line who has a realistic chance at winning headers. Somebody who is good in the air on those days when the beautiful game isn’t firing on all cylinders. Days when ho-hum crosses and long balls are the only way they can break down a defense. And with Clichy close to fit, we should expect those overlapping runs and crosses to be coming from both sides soon enough. They need a Crouch. They need an Emile Heskey or Kevin Davies to round-out an attack that has been forced to rely on deft movement to pass or walk the ball into the net.

You might say, “Well what do you think Bendtner is? He’s close to fit.” And I’d have to say, meh. Sure. He hasn’t proven much of anything besides inconsistency yet. He very well could be that guy in the future. But bear with me if you’re disagreeing still. Imagine if they did have Crouch. Now. Are they lacking anything else once Clichy and Song are back? Sure the world always misses Fabregas, and we love watching Theo ignite the afterburners, but they have so much quality everywhere on the pitch, that really, all they need is a big attacker.

And the trophies will rain down upon them for years.

Seems I’m not the only one who thinks so.

Here’s to off-days. Without them, necessity might never reveal itself.

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  1. Morgan

    January 12, 2010 at 8:41 pm

    The off days are apparent, but most of them have something in common. Key players out or injured. I felt we sorely missed Fab and Song this past weekend. The midfield showed little cohesion in attack without Fab, and the usual patience was non existant. Coming back to defend, we looked extremely vulnerable, sometimes due to Denilson pushing too far up, around, and at times, into the box (even though it led to a goal, it cost us one as well). In turn, the defense was left vulnerable. Traore’s awful display didn’t help, but in his defense he has played ok in the absence of Clichy and Gibbs.

    Otherwise, they definitely need a big striker, but the work rate must be high, the runs in and around the box intelligent, and the attitude and understanding towards Wenger’s style agreeable. With that, I agree we will be a contender for the next two seasons at least. Which is why I don’t understand why Wenger is going to leave everything up to chance and most likely not sign a sorely needed striker.

  2. geraldinho

    January 12, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    first signing of this window: sol campbell. he’s in the lineup for the reserves tonight against west ham. hopefully he can provide some adequate cover at the back to give a break to gallas and/or vermaelen. moreso the former

  3. mahesh

    January 12, 2010 at 11:18 am

    i’m rather more worried of our goalkeeper..

    • Simon Burke

      January 12, 2010 at 12:12 pm

      Oh yes, thats a good point – we have a big hole there we need to fill. Wenger hasnt got a good record in this dept. Shabaan (remember him?), Fabianski doesnt do it for me, Richard Wright, Jens the nutcase….
      I always liked Manninger and felt he got a raw deal..

  4. mahesh

    January 12, 2010 at 11:17 am

    i think with the return of fabregas, v.persie , clichy, song , walcott, bendtner arsenal will surely do well. i think injuries are holding them back for the past couple of seasons.. but if there is 1 or 2 more injuries arsenal will be in big big trouble.. so i dont mind arsenal buying re-inforcements.

  5. Simon Burke

    January 12, 2010 at 9:54 am

    Nice article – cant argue with too much of it. We had a big man last year though – Adebayor and the trophies hardly rained down on us. We have deficiencies outside the first 11 and injuries have exposed them as they would any team but we seem to be very unlucky on that front.
    Missing Cesc, Song, Van persie, both main left backs, Bendther and Walcott has really restricted the options and killing our style of play. I am amazed we have done as well as we have till now.
    Right now we are sending out tiny sides and we cant keep getting away with it.

    We do need another tall striker – we had 2 but both got hurt at the same time – that’s bad luck as I am not sure we necessarily would have forseen needing 3 at the start of the year. We cant help the ANC – and Diaby and Denilson should be adequate there. Defensively we have some very off days – I am still aghast at Traore’s performance on Saturday but we know we have better on the treatment table. I’d be very happy to finish top 3 – stunned if we finished first but am glad we arent in Liverpool or Spurs current position.

    • robert

      January 12, 2010 at 3:50 pm

      Last year it seemed like this crew was still building toward something, even with Adebayor. This year, they seem to exude that “team-ness” that was missing since the invincibles were dismantled. I see what you mean though. I do think that if they’d have kept Adebayor, and he didn’t infect the locker room with a poor attitude, this year would be much different than last simply due to that cohesiveness that’s come around. Thanks for the read. Good pts.

  6. Jaguar

    January 12, 2010 at 9:28 am

    saturday’s game was absolute CRAP, the migthy stumble now and again. Everton held Chelski 3-3, and are not the team they were when we destroyed them earlier this year. We have been ravaged by injuries, as many teams have been. What I take from the Everton game is the obvious, SONG is the cornerstone, and Almunia continues to worry everyone but the competition. I agree Bendtner is no savior, Cesc and RvP are necessary for success. Eduardo and Vella have been huge and on-going disasters. Hopefully Wenger has more up his sleeve, because the EPL is still (almost) anyone’s game. The next month all will be decided.

  7. Nick

    January 12, 2010 at 9:12 am

    someone like Adebayor?

    • David

      January 12, 2010 at 10:09 am

      What’s not to like exactly? If he was still at the club (playing with care and passion, of course) they would be top of the league I’m sure. Funny how they think they didn’t need to replace their 20 goal scorer.

  8. mike

    January 12, 2010 at 8:13 am

    I’m a huge arsenal fan, Bontella, however I disagree. Although we are highest scorers in the league, many of the goals have been bunched into single games when we were on fire (everton, blackburn, etc). Then there are games when it seems like even with the endless amt of possesion and passing, they will never actually score. I honestly cringe when I see incredible build up play leed to a deadly cross with Arshavin challenging for the header in the box against the towering center halves of the premier league. We need a big, strong, no-nonsense, true center forward if we want to take the premier league. Now if you combine that build up play, that cross, but add Edin Dzeko from Wolfsburg or Ibrahimovic and you have a nearly unstoppable team. I’m not sure Crouch would fit into the mold at the Emirates. Since 05 I have been hoping and praying Arsene would finally wake up and splash the cash on one player. After the European championships I prayed for David Villa. Now all I want is Dzeko, he has proven himself in Germany and the champions league. He is young enough that after some time training at Ashburton Grove, the Professor will mold him into the next Drogba. Get him and we bring home the title this season and the title and champions legaue double next when he is not cup-tied. End of story.

  9. Bontella

    January 12, 2010 at 7:50 am

    I see your point and agree with most but if you look at our record as the highest scorers in the league, I would preer we tighten up at the back to be championships, we conceed roughly a goal a game (one of the leakiest defence of the top 7), we never gonna win anything like that. Guess with our mentality is you score one we score 3, it works against the likes of Hull but fails against the Man-U’s of the world. With our record we could easily just concentrate on the clean sheet and the goal(s) will come.

    • robert

      January 12, 2010 at 3:36 pm

      good pt.

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