Looking Forward (A Bit)

By Renoogami

As expected, there has been an avalanche of blogs posted yesterday regarding our match and of our failure again this season to win any silverware. Most have been along similar lines – a good performance from the team but with the inevitable (and anticipated) result.

Whilst we are all suffering from depression today, it is encouraging that so many gooners are still strongly behind the lads and our manager who, after all, have given us so much pleasure throughout the season – other than since the middle of February of course.

The way we play football is often a joy to watch and surely will – given a reasonable amount of luck and favourable refereeing decisions – lead to a trophy of some kind next season.

But here’s the rub – we need to win nothing less than the Premier League title next season. Only then will be earn the respect and accolades the style of our football so badly merits. Either the league title, or the Champions League – or preferably both!

With this in mind I feel I need to add my two-penneth regarding the performances of some of our players this season. Maybe this is still not yet the time, but considering the relatively weak opposition we will be facing in our last four games (Everton apart perhaps), we aren’t going to learn an awful lot more than we already know.

Manuel Almunia has been our number one for most of the season and, whilst he has been solid throughout, he has never really put in a performance to talk about. Other than the home game against the Spuds, I can’t remember him doing anything to actually win us a game and perhaps he is still a little suspect with his positional sense. For some reason I just can’t see us winning the title next season with him as number one. Premiership winning teams have always had outstanding keepers and I don’t think he quite comes into that category – at least not yet.

Sagna has been a revelation and Clichy (together with Flamini of course) is my choice for player of the season. But are Justin Hoyte and Armand Traore able deputies???

There’s something not quite right about central defence though. I must say I am still unsure about Gallas as captain, and I sometimes worry about his organisational skills at the back. We must forgive Kolo for having a poor season by his standards as I think he is knackered and a bit footballed out. As much as I love big Phil, I fear he is just too slow to be part of a Premiership winning central pairing, and who can say whether or not Johan Djourou will eventually make it?

Midfield is OK apart from the urgent need for a wide goalscoring winger – Pires style – but we will need to replace Gilberto, if he goes as expected, with a tough tackling workhorse-style defensive midfielder and the same of course applies to Flamini if (heaven forbid) he moves on in the summer. Need I say anything about Eboue that has not already been said?

If Eduardo was fit and RVP were to stay fit – and if Adey recovers his earlier goalscoring form – it may be that we will have enough firepower up front to win the league. But there are just too many ‘ifs’ here and it may be essential to add a recognised and proven goalscorer.

So that’s my very brief viewpoint as we stand at the moment, but I look forward to putting together an in-depth analysis of the season later.

Meanwhile let’s all look forward to the last few games and hopefully Arsene will give Theo and even Nicky Bentner a decent run in the team – and lets see another outing for Song at centre back as well.

  • Anonymous

    I hope that Theo is a patient young man because if I was sitting on the bench virtually all season watching Eboue never score a goal and behave like an idiot I would be very puzzled indeed. Some Arsenal supporters are still unaware of Bendtner’s massive potential. They are probably the same people who haven’t noticed that our Togolese club spokesman plays for himself. I (Ramgun) am worried as much as optimistic.

  • Anonymous

    A big part of the centre-back problem is Kolo. I love the bloke for his enthusiasm and commitment and the enormous amount of hard work he gets through.

    But he just does not have the instincts of a defender. Charging around like a headless chicken is not the stuff of great defenders. Take 3 penalties conceded and those ballet-dancing monouvres he was doing when Chelsea popped in their goals are bound to cost us dearly. His speed of recovery is good, so when he makes a cock-up up field, he can often pull the situation back but when you make cock-ups in the middle of the penalty area, you don’t usually get the opportunity.

    I normally rate Gallas’s defending very highly but he too has not looked good of late.

    Sorting out the defence is a pre-requisite of Arsenal mounting a serious title challenge next season.