Everything was plodding along nicely. Talk of ineptitude and crisis had taken a welcome hiatus, and 4 wins from 4 saw Arsenal rise up the table. The team had taken the shame of a loss to Bradford and used it to improve.
And then yesterday happens…
I’m not going to be super critical as we didn’t actually lose the game. The history books will recall an away draw, and away draws tend not to be catastrophic. However, given our recent burst of good form, I am hugely disappointed to see another performance so bereft of energy and ideas, especially given the regularity they have appeared this season. I had, perhaps rather foolishly, hoped all that was behind us.
The result itself isn’t the real problem. The manner in which we went about the game is. Southampton, for all their brave endeavour and enthusiasm, are a team we should beat.
Sagna looked weary and uninterested, Gervinho and Ramsey are hardly impact substitutes, and Theo was as bad as he was good against Newcastle. No one player can take the blame, however. Doing so is simply a cheap way of venting one’s fury. The collective attitude towards the game is the real issue, and that includes managerial staff. We simply weren’t good enough yesterday, and little can be said or done to disguise that fact. Arsene Wenger himself was less than pleased, and had these uncharacteristically harsh words to say in the press conference:
“It is two points lost if you look at the overall target we had for Christmas. It is frustrating and disappointing as we didn’t create a lot today.
“Our game lacked purpose, penetration and speed, all qualities we have usually but we didn’t see that tonight.
“Maybe we thought we scored seven against Newcastle, we thought we would score again today.
“I felt that we lacked purpose in our game and it was more mental than physical.
In the same interview, Arsene went on to rule out a Thierry Henry return, and express his desire to enter the transfer market.
Investment in the squad is needed. We have a strong first 11 that’s very good on paper. What is lacking is depth, and enough quality in reserve to be able to successfully rotate or replace. 2-3 players of experience and quality would be of a huge benefit to Arsenal.
Ruling out Thierry Henry is a good thing. Not because he isn’t up to the job, or because I want to disrespect a club legend. Because a 35-year-old ex-player who will leave in February isn’t the answer. There are far better permanent options to consider.
With Theo now looking likely to “Sign da Ting“, it would appear our interest in Zaha has fizzled away, which is a shame. Keeping Walcott on the other hand is a good thing and I hope it happens. One option in the forward area looking quite possible is Atlectico Madrid’s Adrian Lopez, although, in typically parsimonious fashion, the Boss is baulking at the £14m releasue clause in his contract – a price that to me sounds very reasonable for a 24-year-old Spanish international.
Elsewhere it’s all just the customary collection of arbitrary names. Speculation is going to be rife in the coming weeks, and all us supporters can do is hope our manager remains true to his word. It appears we have both the desire and the finances to bring new faces into the sqaud, the only obstacle will be finding players suitably “exceptional” and a price that’s considered reasonable. That, dear reader, is where the problems may arise.
That’s all for today, folks. The comments await your views on the game, and your opinions on incoming players. How did you rate yesterday’s performance? Who would your ideal choice of transfer be? Let me know.
I shall return tomorrow. Thanks for reading.