Friday, 24 August 2012

Fail to Prepare

So a week has proven to be a long time once again The Arsenal. We've gone from the pre-match over excitement to realistation in the space of ninety minutes last Saturday. We've had an exciting new striker feel the need to explain himself and ask for patience because he dared to miss a vey respectable opportunity, then there was the sale of Alex Song and the saga that was Nuri Sahin.

Cazorla pulling the strings
Having allowed some time to digest what was a frustrating afternoon last Saturda against a side that would have made George Graham proud. Was it actually that much of a surprise when you look at the sides preperation in pre-seasont? There was quality in abundance but this side lack sharpness and a purpose. We saw the introduction of two new signings, Arteta playing the deeper role, Diaby returning, Walcott lacking fitness & Jenkinson at full back. Whilst we expected to win it hardly comes as a shock but I think the club could have averted this. Due to postponing of The Emiates Cup we played one fixture between 29th July to 18th August. That really is pathetic, everyone knows sharpness comes from playing games not training camps. That meant Cazorla & Giroud managed a half each and Podolski managed seventy minutes and that's all they have to show for their pre-seasons with us and I know some went off to play for their countries but that doesn't really benefit us does it? Then you look back at our opening fixtures of recent times and in the last three season we've drawn our opener on each occasion, admittedly trips to Newcastle and Liverpool are difficult but we were poor by our own standards in each fixture. We can't be naive and think we can just turn up, flick the switch and go into overdrive. Our game is built on relationships and understanding, so were we going to achieve a satisfactory level of performance without serious match practice. Arteta & Diaby have never started a Premier League game together but thanks to Cazorla's guile we looked easier on the eye than we actually were.

Olivier meet Robert and Ryan
Now we embark on another adventure to Stoke, where I fully expect their wind turnbines to be pumping out a force ten gale but I think it's an ideal time to play them. Whilst they may point to our lack of fluency (which is a valid point) they have to deal with a lack of competitive action.That of course is their main strength (exc throw ins), they like to pressurise us, force mistakes and feed off the scraps (a bit like their fans). If we can retain possession our football should do the talking but we will still have to contend with the numerous physcial elements. Can Cazorla get a look in? He did get pushed off the ball quite easily at times last weekend and you can only begin to imagine the sort of plans Stoke have for him. Will Wenger go for a front three of Podolski, Giroud & Walcott? I'd like to see this at some point and Stoke's defence is vulnerable but I feel Shawcross & Huth realish the opoortunity of playing against a lone man. Moving Podolski to left wing means back up isn't far behind as he works within the width of the box, something Gervinho doesn't offer as much of. A point wouldn't be the end of the world but it would be nice to get a win under our belt and provide a much needed shot in the arm ahead of our trip to Anfield. However, if you thought this week was long just wait for next week. Stoke on Sunday, transfer deadline day on Friday & Liverpool next Sunday. It could shape our season.

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