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Will This Be Another Season Where Arsenal Come Up Short?

A Dejected Arsene Wenger Manager after Birmingham City injury time goal Arsenal 2009/10 Birmingham City V Arsenal (1-1) 27/03/10 The Premier League Photo Robin Parker Fotosports International Photo via Newscom
While their young stars will go globetrotting with their national sides this weekend, there will still be a sense of disappointment in the Arsenal squad. Sunday’s defeat at Chelsea was a familiar story for the Gunners, as once again they failed to get a result against their London rivals. Will this result be the story of another disappointing season for Arsene Wenger’s men?

For the last few seasons pundits have been claiming that Wenger’s side needed time to develop in to a force. Always threatening to challenge for honours but just coming up short became a regular disappointment for Arsenal fans.

The same can be said for the game against Chelsea. The Gunners dominated possession for long periods but were not able to convert their dominance in to goals. Laurent Koscielny and Marouane Chamakh both missed excellent chances and Arsenal were cruelly punished for those misses.

I can’t help but feel that Arsenal’s season will play out a similar story. While their quality and class is undoubted, big questions remain over their substance. The Arsenal side that went unbeaten in the 2003-2004 season was able to convert dominance in to goals, as well as making sure they didn’t throw games away. Unfortunately that side seems like a light-year away from this current Arsenal team.

It must be said that Wenger has had some real bad luck with injuries. Missing out on Sunday’s clash were key men Cesc Fabregas,  Robin van Persie and Theo Walcott, and for a side that doesn’t go and splash out on big signings missing players of this quality always causes problems.

What has made things worse for Wenger is that the trio have all had regular injury problems over the last few seasons and have never really been able to show their qualities on a consistent basis without injury striking.

So yes Wenger does deserve more luck, but as I have mentioned in previous articles I really think he may need to realise that this squad just doesn’t have the winning quality and maybe the mentality that is needed for a challenge on success. If he doesn’t the wait for a trophy may continue for the foreseeable future.

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  1. Sir Guy

    October 6, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    “But look what happened to Arshavin. He is noticeably worse player compared to when he just joined Arsenal.”

    What did you expect? He cut his hair. I wonder if it was at Arsene’s “suggestion”.

  2. mosdef

    October 6, 2010 at 3:45 am

    I don’t expect Arsenal to win anything , in the big games we lack the speed upfront to open teams up, but this has been a problem since Reyes,left. I can’t even complain that Van persie was missing, he is never there, can’t complain about Cesc, he is technically on loan from Barca this year and or the next, so where does that leave us, as far as the big games go, well we can handle the small teams without the speed, so the only logical answer lies in Walcott and Vela, if Walcott plays well then Vela gets more playing time, plus they are both the first and 2nd fastest in the squad anyway@Andrei, I thought Barca were a one dimensional team, so were Chelsea at one point, I’Ve always thought thats the main building block of having a good team, it has an identity@Pacifif devil, you want Song to Bulk up, the Kid is built like a block of ice @Tazdevil, look at all the most succefull people around , Sir , Jose, Pep,Clough they are all stubborn, on your 2nd point about recruitment, Arsenal does have Saed Harjrovic from Zurich but Born in Bosnia, could not agree a fee for the other trialist from Montenegro earlier on in the year. A better look at Arsene’s recruitment policy will be to look at his past 2 year signings Iqnasi (6′ 5″ at age 15)Angha, Monteiro and Saed all over 6′ 2″. Galindo at 17 is well over 6′ 2″On your 4th point in regards to shooting , Last years stats show Chelsea were the 2nd most prolic team in scoring Long range goals with 10 goals , Arsenal were ahead of them with twice as many goals with 20. We will not win the League but I’m happy with the direction the club is taking and as much as I was underwhelmed with the Koscielny signing at the begining of the season, I’ve not been excited about an Arsenal defender in a long time as I am about Koscielny he is a defender who loves to defend, his heading and especially distribution when heading has meant that Clichy and co are learning that we have somebody who does just not head the ball away but always is looking for a team mate.

    • Andrei

      October 6, 2010 at 10:39 am

      “I’Ve always thought thats the main building block of having a good team, it has an identity”

      Having an identity doesn’t mean to be a one trick pony show Arsenal has become. Arsenal lacks speed upfront? But look what happened to Arshavin. He is noticeably worse player compared to when he just joined Arsenal. His work rate didn’t improve and he rarely shows his strong side – explosiveness, speed and direct style of play. I had hoped that Arshavin’s contrasting style would add a new dimension to Arsenal’s attack but it didn’t turn quite that. He got conditioned by AW to fit Arsenal passing game and now looks lost and dejected in almost every game. Any time he tries a more direct approach he seems out of sync with other Arsenal players. I doubt that he ever repeats his Anfield goal feat – all of them were scored in distinctly non-Arsenal way.

      Walcott got speed too? Let’s wait until he turns into another across-the-field-passer…

  3. Philip gunner

    October 6, 2010 at 3:36 am

    I know these are early days but the warning signs are there.To claw back a 7 point gap at this stage is not insurmountabel.When Chelsea lose/draw the gunners have to win ,repeat win. A draw aint good enough.Failure to do so and then I can safely say the gunners are out of the title race.
    Every match in the epl is tough. That’s why Mu have not won away as yet.
    They will find it tough to win the title because all teams have improved.
    As for the gunners their one dimensional style of pass here,pass there and pass everywhere aint goint going to get them goals.
    Of course Wenger will disagree but hacknhave the gunners been winning matches against the big boys.They found it hard to beat WBA. There are many WBAs around.The thing is Arsenal’s style is easy to counter though the
    fm may not agree.
    Then prove it on the pitch. No ifs and buts.The passing game has been here since 2004. It’s a beautiful spectacl but unless you win,you may as well scrap it

  4. IanCransonsKnees

    October 5, 2010 at 10:27 pm

    Given that the average squad member height and weight of the BPDs is 5 feet 3 inches and 8 stone wet through my answer to your question would be a tongue in cheek, yes with knobs on.

  5. Stacy Richardson

    October 5, 2010 at 9:46 pm

    Arsenal: too many thoroughbreds, not enough workhorses.

    • Duke

      October 5, 2010 at 11:57 pm

      Well put. Can you imagine Alex or Essien on Arsenal? Kocielny (sp?) got utterly destroyed more than once on Sunday. The Gunners were very pretty to watch, but never much of a threat to score, much less win.

  6. Mjamma wa Kenya

    October 5, 2010 at 9:27 pm

    This Arsenal team doesn’t command results. Its the same team overall for the past five years and though their quality is undoubtable, the just don’t have the winning mentality. Arsene said it himself, they need to beat the big teams namely Man U and Chelsea, and already one test they have failed.What has been said over and over again now seems to actually be dawning on the die hard supporters and perhaps even a little on Arsene himself. I am an Arsenal fan, and though I like them, I mist admit, I accepted a long time ago that this squad just isn’t going to do anything except play beautiful football which I think people are beginning to get tired of because its like having skills but not using them in the game. I think he should get rid of the injury prone guys because they are not doing anything. The peopleI think he should sell are RVP, Cesc(who we know is only a matter of time before destiny takes him to Barca) and Bendtner. The midfield needs cleaning up as well because they just haven’t done anything despite accuumulating gametime and experience and even failing to convert the experience into goals. We need new names, both in midfield and striking positions. Guys who are steel and are not injury prone and will get goals throughout the season.

  7. tazdevil

    October 5, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    Arsenal’s weaknesses have been objectively and emotionally analyzed to death, a million times or more.
    The saddest thing is the Manager / Head Coach is a stubborn nutter who will continue his idiosyncratic ways regardless of glaring evidences of the club’s flaws in the past 6 years (the last FA Cup win was a joke and embarrassment where the bus was parked uncharacteristically in front of the goal so it does not count!!!).
    Nothing will change for the better until and unless we have a new manager who can and will look at the club objectively and ruthlessly re-assemble the squad more in the mold of Chelsea and Man U.
    Very simply, that means ;
    1. restore the British bulldog tenacity with a British spine of strong,
    never-say-die players a la Roy Keane (perfectly OK to be LESS
    SKILLFUL than the Europeans as the HEART is what that matters, much
    more than the head or the feet),
    2. find at least for half the squad strong, tall, tough AND ADULT (mid-20’s
    to late-20’s) players a la Vidic (mainly Eastern Europe, esp those from
    the former Yugoslavia where one does not need to break the bank –
    strange that we have a first team coach from there but not a single
    player from that wonderful place ???),
    3. for the fans, we want to watch and support a wining team (if we
    want pure show biz entertainment we can always watch movies or tv),
    4. add shooting and hitting the target from 30 yards in training a la Gerrad
    and Lampard.
    As much as I loath Chelsea for distorting the financial fairness in EPL, they
    played better and pass better than the so-called passing-team last Saturday. Lastly, they were clinical.

    • Mjamma wa Kenya

      October 5, 2010 at 9:29 pm

      Fully agree. But as I know Arsene he will be stubborn and so are the heads of the Management Area(Wenger’s bosses).

  8. pacificStyle

    October 5, 2010 at 7:34 pm

    – Tweak the formation for different games like one astute reader put it above. Heck, even strategy.
    – Get the CBs on a serious weight-training regimen. Likewise for Song, who’s a good CDM.
    – Begin considering getting a reliable forward if RVP can’t keep fitness and performance consistency.
    – And yes, we’re going to have to look at a backup, or even a replacement for C-Fab because he ain’t staying long, given the way things are. VDV was a steal that we missed!!
    – Consider selling Rosicky if his possession continues to be slack. He’s technically good, but what’s the point if he can’t keep the ball? The guy’s wrestled out of it too easy and doesn’t exactly exude confidence. Same for Diaby. Put these guys on ultimatums.
    – Get Nasri into more attacking positions, if he gets busy tracking back he loses focus.
    – Get Wilshere into more attacking positions: Kid’s a hard talent.
    – Lastly, the keeper situation: Put WS in charge if either of the front 2 mess up one more time. Let Scezceny put his money where his mouth is. If that don’t work, then splash the cash. I still hope Fabianski can come around, he’s been doing well so far.
    – Give me a pair of VIP season tickets for this awesome advise.

  9. Geoffrey Brackett

    October 5, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    This short comings are: not having a world class keeper…..a clinical striker and a back up for Fabregas when he is injured ….this is really pointless creating so many chances and no finish….it is just seven games…the league is tight….a very long way to go….all is required now,is to get back on track by the end of December….50 million would be good enough January to steer us to the title this season….

  10. emdoubleu

    October 5, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    The gunners, seem to fire blanks for the big games. I think that Wenger could shuffle his lineup more and be more tectical based on the mhand that has been delt”. Maybe a formation chan to a 41212 would give cover for the back 4. Then when the other come back from injury switch back to the 433 that favors fabregas playing in an attacking role. The youth isn’t the problem because they are seasoned, its a arrogant attitude from wenger thinking he can play the same style without his key players. Wenger never has a backup plan or is too arrogrant to change his game plan!

  11. Simon Burke

    October 5, 2010 at 6:46 pm

    I think Arsenal have far too many injuries – any Arsenal fan wants the following 4 on the pitch for as many games as possible.
    1) Cesc
    2) Van persie
    3) Vermaelen
    4) A goalkeeper we dont presently own.

    We had none of those 4 against Chelsea and even with them we may have lost. Chelsea away is the toughest fixture in Europe right now. There will be 19 teams coming up short this year and we’ll be one of them. No disrespect to Wenger for anything other than the goalkeeper. Truth is Chelsea’s players cost more and are paid more. Economics wins out unfortunately. City in second too thanks to the cash.

    • Bob

      October 5, 2010 at 7:22 pm

      You are exactly right. A completely different team without Cesc. Night and day. They will be hurting next year as I see him heading to Barca. As for the goalkeeper, again, you are exactly right. All of the early season speculation concerned Schwarzer, who is a shade better than Almunia but not much. Shay Given gets my vote for keeper.

      • GunnerYank

        October 6, 2010 at 12:14 am

        Make it 2 votes then, Bob. I say Given too – anyhow, anyway we can get ’em come January, and then maybe…just maybe…

    • Andrei

      October 5, 2010 at 8:33 pm

      In all honesty I don’t think it is as simple as too many injuries. For starters, with Fabregas and RVP it feels like Arsenal have to get used to play and more importantly win big games without them. With their injury history especially RVP they are almost never there for the team on a big occasion. On the same note they were that much of a difference last year against MU (RVP) and Chelsea (Fabregas). In my mind it came to the point that Fabregas and RVP (him in particular) have become a luxury Arsenal can no longer afford. Lets face it: it is not a sustainable situation your two best players struggle to stay fit for more than 50-60% of the season on average.

      More importantly, the game with Chelsea showed that Arsenal were clearly out of their depth and I don’t see how they can realistically close the gap. They lack a player of Drogba caliber. For any team be a real EPL title contender they need at least one player in worlds top 5. Like MU had in Ronaldo, like Chelsea have in Drogba or for that matter Arsenal had in Henry in the time of invincibles. Arsenal have plenty of talent but nobody in this category. Fabregas has a potential if he manages to stay fit and at the same time remains at Arsenal. Not to mention that Chelsea’s squad is simply stronger player by player in almost every position.

      Finally, it seems that Arsenal have become one dimensional team. They simply cannot change the way they play depending on situation or make adjustments to exploit opposition weaknesses. Honestly, can you imagine Arsenal parking the bus to get a 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge (which would be not a bad result for them) or even catch Chelsea on a counter?

  12. Goal Addict

    October 5, 2010 at 6:39 pm

    I think this season will be the same as last. It seems as if Wenger is still building a team when he doesn’t need to. Arsenal have far too many youngsters and they aren’t all going to get to play. There is a lot of great potential in the squad and I think most of the players will become top players but i think, as well as a lack of depth, that there is a lack of balance in the team.

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