Sunday, 22 January 2012

Wenger's running out of time

No danger of Arsenal running out of money with Wenger is charge, but there's a chance he'll push the fans' patience to the maximum. That's if he hasn't already.

As much as I rate Andrey 'The Meerkat' Arshavin (who doesn't produce his best for Arsenal because he's played out of position), there was no point in bringing him on for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain against Manchester United. The timing defied belief. The Ox had just been involved in the equaliser. Why take off a player running on adrenalin? I'll leave Arsene to explain that one.

Soon he'll need to explain our lack of action on the transfer front. Why not strengthen an ailing squad when fourth was still up for grabs. Well, it won't be much longer, so does that make financial sense? Not to me!

Meanwhile, the media's witch-hunt of Arshavin seems to be paying off. Even our fans booed his arrival, not surprising given the removal of the Ox! Even skipper Robin van Persie mouthed the word 'no'! The TV cameras picked it up. It doesn't inspire confidence in the manager at all and 'confidence' is the operative word here.

Arsenal lacked the confidence to beat Manchester United. Yennaris put in a good shift at right back after replacing the largely disappointing Djourou (like Arshavin, playing out of position). I think it's really harsh to put players in roles they're not suited to. Djourou's a decent player, but we won't see that if he continues at right back.

Talking of players in the wrong position, why not bring Lansbury back from West Ham and use him as a sub keeper? He's got to be better than Almunia and Fabianski!

I'm almost at the end of my tether with Wenger now. He doesn't seem to realise we're 1-2 players short of a top 4 finish. He needs an assistant that will tell him some home truths, but he seems too stubborn to listen to anyone nowadays.

Please Arsene, have a re-think! We're a couple of tweaks away from that lucrative fourth spot. Do your maths! You're an economist, right?

Friday, 20 January 2012

Costa Concordia - a warning to Arsenal?

It's taken me this long to semi-get-over the Swansea defeat. In a sense, it was worse than Blackburn away! This time, we deserved to lose. Yes, there were 'iffy' refereeing decisions, but basically we were woeful.

However, I didn't agree with some of the post-match analysis by the media, who blame the normal culprits or usual suspects regardless of the facts. For instance, was Andrey Arshavin so guilty of a stray pass leading to Aaron Ramsey being robbed? Watching at the time, I didn't think so. Stuart James of the Guardian thought so, but it's too painful for me to revisit the video footage right now. I just can't face looking at it.

It seemed to me that Rambo had a bit of 'mare', as Ian Wright used to say. So chances are, he was to blame. He was unlucky with the penalty and I could completely understand Arsene Wenger complaining about that. Even in real-time, it didn't look like a foul.

Not sure why Wenger complains about our bad luck with injuries though. Yes, we had got a lot of players out: Thomas Vermaelen, Mikael Arteta (maybe more sorely missed than we realised possible), Jack Wilshere, Gervinho and and 'two complete sets of full backs'. Not sure the replacements, Djourou and Miquel did as badly as Gary Neville made out on Sky TV's 'Monday Night Football'. In fact, I thought they both did okay, despite some shaky moments.

Mentioning to the above injury-list as a valid excuse, Richard Williams of the Guardian thought the defeat was 'hardly a disgrace'. Not sure about that. The Swans are decent but not world beaters. This game exposed our lack of investment on the transfer front. Benayoun is not quite good enough. Sad but true. Arshavin is not playing well enough. The boss needs to ask himself why the captain of Russia can only do it for country and not club. The two stand-in full backs did well, I thought, but Kos and the Sackboy had off-days. The subs were made too late, as usual, although Henry came on before the obligatory time for subs (i.e. the holy 70th minute) so we should be grateful for that level of flexibility from Le Boss. The Ox showed some promise as a late sub, but not enough to unlock a solid Swans defence.

I just want the club to unlock the safe where all our transfer funds are kept. Even without doing that, we can beat Manchester United at the Emirates. I feel sure of that. It's finishing in the top four I'm worried about. Without more investment in the squad we're not going to make it. Sorry.

Even if we beat United, it doesn't mean we'll finish above Chelsea in the race for fourth. The annoying thing is with one or two additions, we really could win something this year. My guess is we'll let this opportunity to spend in the January transfer window pass. I hope I'm wrong. If that happens some jokers might say our motto is 'Costa Concordia' after that cruise ship that came to a sticky end in Italy. Wenger needs to smell the Costa coffee before he runs the good ship Arsenal aground.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Arsenal: Ask uncle T!

I'm really sick of Wenger whingeing. He moans about refs a little too much and now he's on about the fixture list. I wish he'd just get on with his job and sign some players to strengthen our push for a place in the top 4, as you might not believe it but the transfer window of opportunities is open!

Like our finishing of late, it's often a window of missed opportunities. We got so close to signing Chris Samba last January but it inexplicably fell through.

At least Thierry Henry did not slip through our net, which is just as well given his heroic cameo performance against Leeds. When our other stars were fluffing their lines, Henry kept his cool when all about were losing theirs and passed Song's through ball into the net. He made it look easy. A lesson for our strikers.

Henry may have lost his pace but he's perhaps more of a team player now. He was humble enough to call his man-of-the-match award a 'joke'. The guy is a living legend and we're lucky to have him back.

When he left to join Barcelona I thought it was the right time. His teammates seemed intimidated. He wasn't the encouraging 'uncle T' we see now. He was an ego that needed feeding good passes that we were less and less able to supply after the departures of Vieira and Petit amongst others. Henry felt understandably frustrated.

Now he's back and has added patience to his many attributes. I'm not sure how much difference he'll make in league games but I'm glad he's back. I just wish it were for longer.

If this is our only January signing then the club should hang their heads in shame. Hopefully we'll get a decent left back on loan and maybe another striker. If we're serious about doing well this season that's the minimum we need. Ask uncle T!

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Fulham fallout - profits before points again

We should really look no further than the club itself if we want to recruit a successor to David Dein. You know, somebody who could actually make deals happen. Not sure the club want that. Why? It might eat into their profits. Better to lose points than allow that to happen. But some bright spark at the club knows we need to reinforce and that same person posted pics of Henry up before a deal was done. Good on yer mate! You're in the wrong department though. You should be bringing players in for us instead of just posting pics and whatever else you do.

The relevant department would rather drag transfers out. Seems pointless given we'll only have Henry for a short time even if it does go through. Please number crunchers explain why it couldn't be done 1st Jan when the transfer window opened? Seems a pointless saving delaying transfers as we found out literally against Fulham, that's if Henry could have made a difference. But if not, why sign him?

Fulham were our banana skin waiting to happen and now it's happened. A defeat we could ill afford. A dot on the cards, of course, with a makeshift defence. We might get by with one player filling in, but two! Coquelin, at left back, failing to track back for Fulham's winner, like Rosicky, who should know better. Poor marking like that makes me feel there's a serious malaise at the club. I hope I'm wrong. Wenger seems in denial, blaming ref Lee Probert. I'm not so sure many refs would have awarded a penalty when Gervinho went down in the area under a clumsy Senderos challenge. And Djourou getting his marching orders for 2 yellow card offences. Well, some pundits say they saw it coming. The only thing Wenger could have done to pre-empt going down to 10 men would have been to replace Djourou with Miquel, but that would mean 50 per cent of the back four would be woefully short of experience so I can see why he persevered with Johan. But really, once again we're counting the cost of a lack of transfer activity.

We're in January and the only player joining us is Henry. I welcome his return though we shouldn't expect too much from the living legend. If only Wenger could bring back the solid full backs of yesteryear. Dixon and Winterburn should be wheeled out of retirement perhaps or if not that, at least bring in someone who really cares for the cause. Coq didn't show that enough yesterday but we'll put that down to experience.

Someone who does care is Frimpong and now he's at Wolves. Well he needs game time so I wish him well. I think Coq has the edge technically and is more versatile so it made sense to let ef go out on loan. Let's hope he returns as an even better player.

We can't expect the same of Henry so I hope the crowd and teammates don't heap too much pressure on his shoulders...although if anyone can handle it, it's Le God or should I say mon dieu. I was startled to read that Henry laid into Song verbally after a poor showing at Craven cottage back in the day. A lot of the fans did the same. I can't understand that although if someone continually screws up I do tend to stick the boot in! Ask Flapianski!
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