Whilst not wishing to be too negative after what, after all, has been a pleasant and generally unexpectedly fine start to the season, the anticipated wobble – at least anticipated by a lot of the gooners I know – seems to have suddenly arrived.
Losing two league games back-to-back is hardly a disaster, but, along with the loss at City, it does set alarm bells tinkling if not yet actually ringing.
It’s all very well racing off the blocks in August winning games and scoring goals for fun, but as winter approaches and a lot of teams start to get stronger, you have to wonder if such a youthful and technically gifted side has enough depth, strength and strategy to compensate for other clubs getting wise to our game plan.
Despite some great score lines, there have been cracks appearing at times and, let’s face it, the games we have won to date have been against some fairly week opposition (the Totters aside) and as soon as we came up against better teams, we have been left wanting. Lest we should forget, when we beat the Totters they were without Defoe, Lennon andModric – arguably their three most influential players – and if you think about it, how would we have fared had we similarly been withoutCesc and RVP? The result may well have been different, especially as it was these two who got the goals.
It was the Carling cup game however, that highlighted for me just how lightweight the squad actually is.
I think a lot of gooners feel that Arsene did them a bit of injustice when he failed to have a stronger bench the other night. By all means we want to see the youngsters have a go, and love it when they wallop other Premiership teams, but just like Manure and theChavs do, it might be sensible to have some first teamers ready to come on and try to save the game if needed. It might be OK to have a bench of reserves in the early stages of the competition, but surely not when the next round is a two legged semi-final. Indeed, a lot of us felt that this could well have been our best chance of a trophy this season.
But when you think about it, even if we had put the whole first team squad on the bench, who actually could have come on to save that particular game other than perhapsCesc? Eduardo? Nasri? Denilson? Almunia ? Its only when you realise that we probably could not have altered things much, that you begin to see just how thin the squad really is. Yes we have certainly been hit hard with injuries, but we are not the only ones andArsene more than anyone knows that injuries will happen.
Yes, I have to admit to being a bit of a pessimist right now, but I feel that the visit to Anfield next week is going to be another big test for this team.
I just hope we can pass it with flying colours.
Meanwhile there is the small matter of three points tomorrow against Stoke.
Failure is not an option if we are to keep the bells quiet.