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By Richard Popple
Without doubt we played some magnificent football yesterday and indeed throughout the season. There have been so many memorable performances this year, which make it doubly hard to digest that we are currently on a run of 2 wins in 13 games.
I have to be honest and say that it is difficult to see where the next win is coming from. The players are out on their feet and if Wenger can galvanise them to win the last four games it will be a great achievement. Well, at least it would restore some pride and confidence.
That said, the essential part of the year is that Wenger has to get right is the summer sales. I’m not going to speculate about who we will bring in (an educated guess is that he will be an 18 year old poached from somewhere Europe). But I look at our squad compared to our rivals and we are nowhere near as strong.
I feel very sorry for Gilberto. He actually played very well against United yesterday and showed a greater passion, when trying to raise spirits, unlike a certain Captain Gallas. Gallas for me, along with Kolo Toure have been appalling in recent weeks. Earlier in the season they looked absolutely fantastic, strong, quick, confident, and even skilful and then bang, a lack on concentration and we concede. People are quick to blame Poor Philippe, but these two have committed howlers at an alarming rate over the last two months. It has to be a lack of concentration as they are both exceptionally talented defenders.
Gilberto however, will go in the summer. As will Lehmann and in my mind Eboue should follow, or be demoted to Sagna’s back-up. Everybody knows Eboue is not a midfielder and we could get a good price for him. These possibilities have been widely speculated. Now for some harsher truths. In my opinion, despite his talent, Rosicky should be forgotten. He has not retained fitness for anything longer than an 8-10 game spurt. It’s harsh and I feel sorry for him, but the guy is just another Harry Kewell. Van Persie, another with an awful injury record, is one of the best players at the club and has proved when fit, that he is a quality player, unlike Rosicky who has only shown flashes of his international form.
Hleb and Flamini must to be retained along with Fabregas, who desperately needs Wenger to bring in someone who can create as much as he can. Fabregas has been overworked this season, but it is imperative that he stays. Barcelona and Real Madrid will try harder than ever to convince him to return to Spain in the summer. Wenger will have his work cut out to keep these three players at the club. They have all spoken out in some frustration about our demise this season.
Then we come to the strikers. Yes, Ade has had a good season and boy has he improved, buy imagine if we had signed someone like Fernando Torres – a man who has scored 30 goals in his first season in English football. Hleb and Fabregas create so many chances and Ade continues to waste so many. He is not the finished article and he is trying to fill some mighty big shoes, but he has to improve his finishing and distribution. Eduardo, we hope will come back and be an excellent player for us, but what of Walcott and Bendtner? Well, I think Wenger should at least give them the last four games this season in place of Eboue and Adebayor/Van Persie. They both need games and goals and will maybe find one or two in the closing stages of the season.
Wenger spoke after the united defeat about the importance of keeping this squad together. I agree with him, they are a really good group of players (with a couple of rotten tomatoes). If the squad stays together and a couple of really quality players are brought in, we will be better equipped to challenge for trophies next year. But no more kids Arsene, I don’t think many Arsenal fans can stand waiting whilst we have the resources and talent to win major honours.