Monday 12 August 2013

Momentum means optimism for Arsenal

There's something to be said for stability. Arsenal have that in abundance. And unspent millions. Earmarked for transfers, this treasure chest remains firmly locked.

Although we continue to complain about it, let's not forget the phrase: 'If it ain't broke, don't try to fix it'. The question is what do we define as 'broke'. Arsenal are not 'broke' financially, but surely fourth place is something to celebrate for a club our size.

However, our late run to finish fourth gives some cause for optimism. Not much, but some. We finished more or less as I predicted we would. Yet we still had to beat what was in front of us. Considering our personnel, that was a real achievement.

I agree with Wenger that what's left of this squad will be improved. Age and experience will do that. But will 'what's left' offer sufficient strength in depth. My
answer would be 'no'.

Each season our hold on a Champions League place has become more and more tenuous. I predict an even tougher struggle if we don't add to the squad.

Most fans I know are fed up with us failing to sign our transfer target. Not getting Higuain is embarrassing for a club our size. Prolonging the Suarez saga is equally so.

I'm quite happy with Giroud, but I'd like a plan B (and no, I'm not talking about a musical interlude provided by the British rapper-cum-singer). Suarez would be my choice as he would hit the ground running...or should I say 'hit the arm biting!' Sorry, corny joke! Actually, we'd have to wait for his suspension to end, but it would put pressure on Giroud and Podolski to perform.

I reckon Giroud will score more than 20 goals this season. His 8 goals in pre-season and all-round confidence tell me that. I'm not so sure Poldi will do that well. I just hope I'm wrong. Anyway, if Suarez does join it will be curtains for Poldi as a striker.

It looks like Theo Walcott won't get a chance as a striker at Arsenal in the near future. Maybe he's not worried anymore as he's scoring enough from the wing, as well as setting plenty up. The Man City friendly told us that.

That game also reminded us that our first-choice keepers are not good enough yet. Szczesny didn't concede, but made a pig's ear of a right wing cross. Fabianski did better, generally, but still allowed Negredo to strike the ball straight through him for City's consolation goal. The goalkeeping situation needs addressing, but clearly nothing will happen on the transfer front when it comes to fixing that area of the team.

What else did we learn? Sebastian Perez looks like Robert Pires. That's indisputable. I'm not sure how good he is though. If he's cheap enough, I'd take a chance on him. He looked more ready than Zelalem, who may be a future Arsenal great but needs another season out of the limelight.

I'm not sure why Arsenal Player summariser Martin Hayes thinks we've got enough in midfield already. I don't think so. All our midfielders have attacking instincts. Maybe that's why we need a defensive midfielder. Like Perez? It's too early to say. Like Luiz Gustavo? Again, I'm not sure.

I'd prefer Fellaini, who could transform our fortunes the way Patrick Vieira did. I'm not sure why we didn't get Cabaye. He would have done nicely. Instead, we have to make do. It's unacceptable for a club the size of Arsenal to shoehorn so many players into positions that don't suit them. See Arshavin. Or don't see Arshavin, as he's history now.

As is Gervinho. Another failed experiment. A prolonged failed experiment. Never a striker, barely a winger, I'm not sad to see him leave.

One note of caution though. Didn't Gervinho have a good first pre-season. So let's not get too excited about beating City, no matter how good that felt!

Sent from my iPhone

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