Do you ever get that feeling when you first wake up that you don’t know what day it is or what happened the day before and then suddenly your stomach sinks and you remember everything instantly? It was the best two seconds I’ve experienced since our horror show at Old Trafford yesterday. All I have is questions for the Arsenal Hierarchy and no answers. Who do I aim them at? Is there any point? I’m blatantly just pissing into the wind.
So where do we start with yesterday? Well the line up is a good place.
Wenger went with inexperience at full back, after the loss of Bacary Sagna to illness!
since Thursday but well enough to find his password for twitter and tweet "hello everyone..sorry for the silence but couldn't remember my password anymore. Glad to be back." and " I'm not playing because of a virus.feel sick since thrusday..I had high temperature until now..woke up to watch and support my team." We also had to deal with the loss of Thomas Vermaelen to a knock picked up in Ill . Now, I’m not one to usual question their absences but could they both have played? It was obvious we’d struggle without them. A lot of people believed Vermaelen should have been skipper and I hope i'm just being overly ciritcial but I'd expect him to play. Them we had the debutant Coquelin in the team to protect the back four. Upfront we had Arshavin, Van Persie and Walcott so we could offer something in attack. Udine
Whilst it was a horrific team display, I thought Djourou was particularly horrendous. That performance is up there with Stepanovs v Dwight Yorke and co. He was so easy to expose. Countless 1-2’s had him like a rabbit in the headlights. Why did he try to shield a ball back to Szczesny, whilst it was bouncing and in our own box? He also got caught ball watching and unable to recover time after time. They just never learn.
If you want to compare that with Thomas Vermaelen v Liverpool, you'll see the difference.
For those that haven't used this great app (FourFourTwo Stats Zone), orange X's and O's are clearances. Purple are failed attamepts and the black triangles are fouls. This doesn't show how many times he was motionless and exposed by United.
In fairness to his centre half partner I didn’t think Koscielny did that bad but neither were dominating and we might as well have had some bollards at the back.
Then we move onto our midfield, the key to this entire formation. Poor debutant Coquelin didn’t have a hope with Ramsey and Rosicky. Rosicky was seen in the warm up trying to pass on some advice ahead of game, which was good to see but as soon as the match kicked off he (Coquelin) was fed to the lions. Neither Rosicky or Ramsey offered much in the way of support and he did quite well considering, especially when you take into account he was substituted when score line was 3-1.
Then we have the non dynamic forward three. I’m not sure whether the departure of Cesc and Nasri has led some players to believe they are more important than the actually think but Walcott stitched his ‘mate’ up at right back and woefully exposed him throughout, which led to an altercation between the pair and Jenkinson told Theo to ‘fuck off’. A lot of fans on twitter made the point it was nice to see passion but you can’t help but feel Theo wouldn’t have done the same to Sagna. Theo, as an experienced team member needs to focus on helping the lad not hindering him. Jenkinson became clumsy and was later sent off. A lot was also made of Van Persie’s poor pen but in truth I don’t think it would have had an impact on the result. We were going to lose yesterday, no matter what. Van Persie has been in sensational form all year but now he is captain he has to stand up and be counted. He does have questions over his big game mentality and yesterday did little in the way of quelling that. He got a goal, yes but it was a token gesture. As for Arshavin, well I’ve always been a fan of his because he creates but it obvious to us all that he is merely a passenger in this side and we can ill afford those at present.
The teams perfromance can be assessed by their influence on the game compliling all of their stats:
The bigger the name the bigger the influence...
Post game Wenger looked for reasons behind the defeat
“You could see that we had not recovered completely from Wednesday night. We were as well weak in some departments and
united has of course, class” Manchester
Even though we had made 5 changes to the starting line up.
Although Wenger declined to apologise for the performance in his initial SlySports interview, he did so in his press conference.
"The fans were great and I feel sorry for them. They do not want to see their team like that. We can only apologise and come back in our strength and desire in the next game."
Nice to see a bit of honesty for a change and that leads us to the highlight of yesterday. Our support, It must have lasted for about 15-20 minutes if not longer but chants of “We love you Arsenal, we do” rang out loud and clear around Old Trafford. Every one of our supporters in attendance is a credit to Arsenal Football Club. We’ve had to put up with a lot at Old Trafford in the way of gloating from the United faithful but in the face of adversity and a pathetic display, the support was phenomenal.
Moving onto overall support for a moment but off the field we are starting to see cracks in The Emirates project. I found this on Arsenal.com last night:
Swansea City at Home, 3pm kick off and it's a general sale. Astonishing,
Add to that approximately 11000 fans were wiped off the waiting list and the club is certainly heading in the wrong direction. I prefer to think supporters just can’t justify the obscene prices and it’s not a case of people turning their backs on the club. You have to take the rough with the smooth. Supporting Arsenal isn’t about winning trophies, it’s about watching/supporting your side play and should always enjoy that. No matter what.
So where do we go from here? Well Wenger, Gazidis and The Board have three days to work miracles because if they don’t there’ll be even more uproar. The Wenger Out brigade is now a majority and whilst it would be catastrophic for him to leave now, the end of the season might be the end for our legendary manager. A poll on Slysports.com asked if Arsenal would finish in the top 4. 85% voted no. Not surprising given the humping we received yesterday but our season could well be decided by our activity (or lack of) in the next 3 days. If we do promising business I will still believe but I’m not expecting anything to be honest.
Wenger said last night
“I know that in
that when you lose a game the signings are always the solution. First we need to get our players back. We had eight players out today and anybody would suffer with eight players out.” England
I agree that signings are not always the solution but they aren’t needed just because we were thrashed off United, there is a much bigger picture to look at. Our squad is awful.
When a manager leaves a side you have to go through a poor run of form, lose your best players and have a lot of discontent through the entire club. We are currently in the midst of that and the next 72 hours will determine whether we can turn this around or if we’ll persist with our current policy. If we do persist this love affair between Arsenal and Arsene will come to a tragic end.
Realistically I think we need approx 8 quality additions to the squad, even with 8 players returning. We need 2 centre halfs to replace Squillaci and Djourou. We need quality cover at right back and possibly a left back, as Gibbs is already showing he is not to be relied upon. We desperately need depth in midfield. Frimpong might have resolved the cover needed at DM but we need at least 2 more centre midfielders. We need depth at striker to cover RVP, which looks like its going to Park Chu-Young and another winger. That is too much to do in an entire transfer window and possibly two windows but we all know it won’t happen, no matter how many windows it takes. The sands of time are fast running out and we need to act now. Over to you Arsenal, we all want to believe but someone isn’t telling the full story or we are just being lied time and time again. Prove us wrong for once.