So Premier League action has returned and we rely on Arsenal to brighten our weekends. The trouble with football is everyone thinks there are quick fixes and in some cases there are, but usually for very minor issues. If only we had minor issues to deal with, instead we have a team that needs intense therapy to aid it's recovery.
I welcomed the international break but I'm not sure Arsene would have. Very few players remained at London Colney and subsequently we can't expect any radical changes to our performances. I didn't think our display was as bad as some outlets let on in the NLD. Instead I saw a side that reacted to a half time team talk, came out fighting, got it's rewards and subsequently retreated back into it's shell. Our confidence couldn't be any more fragile than it is at present and I don't think it's realistic to fix that before the Chelsea game. Yes, two victories domestically against Sunderland and Stoke would help but there is no belief in this current set of players that we can compete in big games. If Chelsea score first, it'll be very difficult to recover mentally. That's not to say we can't score first and install some belief that we can compete. A victory at The Bridge is just what this side needs. It would be a massive shot in the arm for some and you can prepare all you like for a game of football but if you don't have the belief, it all falls down. If we get a result it would set us up well for November. Yes, the dreaded November. However the automated fixture system couldn't have been kinder to us. If it all goes to plan (nothing ever does), we could be looking at a swift climb up the table. Games vs WBA, Norwich, Fulham, Wigan and Everton await us after our trip to Chelsea.
Confidence aside our other main issue is our defence. Some fans say
Wenger inherited one of the best defences football has ever seen and that cannot be argued with but Wenger did create a back five of Lehmann, Lauren, Campbell, Toure and Cole. So the notion that he can't build a defence can be blown out of the water. What can't be overlooked is the panic buying of Mertesacker and Santos. If we still had Almunia in goal who knows what state we'd be in. In our two victories so far Szczęsny has pulled off crucial saves early on, we could easily be in a relegation place without him between the sticks. Wojciech aside the outfield defending is disgusting. The fact we now have to make do without our best defensive asset for 3 months is a hammer blow! I know fans like Jenkinson because he's a Gooner but the lad is nowhere near ready for first team action and you have to question the sale of Eboue. One of which I was open to but he needed adequately replacing. Sadly, this was a theme throughout all of our sales in the summer! Fans are eagerly awaiting the return of Vermaelen and whilst he is our best centre half, I can't help buy feel his reputation has only been enhanced because he's been injured. Vermaelen is over rated in my opinion. He ball watches a lot and last ditch tackling always looks great but good defenders should never rely upon that. That said, Vermaelen and Mertesacker are our partnership going forward and they could well be up against Drogba and co by the end of the month. They might hit it off together but whilst we persist with the highest line of defending possible, only time will tell. Our defending is also hindered by this ridiculous formation. There is always space to exploit and our midfield couldn't be more lightweight. Due to Jack's injury our midfield three is Song, Arteta and Ramsey. Hardly smacks of tough, disciplined and defensive minded players. Although when Song sticks to his task, there are very few better than him. Unfortunately that happens 1 in 10 games. Will this defence ever be cured? I don't think so. These issues have gone on for too long and we find new ways to concede goals.
Overall, we have two key issues that need addressing and one can be rectified but the Chelsea game is huge, personally I'm not expecting much myself but football has a habit of springing surprises and I didn't think we had any chance of a victory the last time we won there!