Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Arsenal must strengthen this summer

Here we are again, the end of another season where Arsenal have promised so much and failed yet again to deliver. Last night’s victory for Manchester City means that Arsenal are now looking at 4th place and having to qualify for the Champions League; Arsenal’s quest for silverware continues.

It is now six years since Arsenal lifted any silverware and Wenger appears to me no closer to finding a winning formula. Their performance against Barcelona at the Emirates was magnificent but they have come nowhere near replicating that since. Yes they play pretty football, yes they have some decent players but the attitude and hunger is simply not there. Most football fans are slightly deluded but the majority of their fans are now as oblivious as Wenger to their flaws.

The goalkeeping position is still highly suspect; the new hope Wojciech Szczesny is three or four years away from being a decent keeper. The attitude and confidence is all well and good but the countless errors he has already made suggest they have another dud on their hands. There were reports recently that Wenger did make bids for Pepe Reina of Liverpool last summer but this problem has been there for years and he still has not dealt with it. At Manchester United Ferguson realised the error of his ways relatively quickly and strengthened after Schmeichel’s departure – why hasn’t Wenger?

The defence remains a key issue. They have missed Vermaelen for the majority of the season and welcoming him back will be a huge relief. However, he is not a proven player at the highest level and looked very suspect at the end of last season after initially impressing. Again, simply look at the record Ferdinand and Vidic have at United; this season they have conceded 0.67 goals a game when they have played together against 1.4 when not.

The emergence of Jack Wilshire and the re-introduction of Aaron Ramsey will be a huge boost next season. Whether Cesc Fabregas stays or not they should have enough going forward but they still need a top class defensive midfielder. The stand in at the moment is Alex Song who spends most of his time walking around the pitch rather than breaking up the opposition attacks. He is a decent player and is liked by the fans but this is the problem; if Arsenal are to improve and win things they need good/excellent players rather than mediocre/decent players which they have at the moment.

Yet again van Persie has missed the majority of the season but has still scored enough in the second half of the season to ensure he remains the number one striker. On his day he is an excellent player but they have to add more depth in this position. Their new addition Chamakh simply isn’t good enough; he is Emile Heskey but a little more skilful. He gives them options against a Blackburn or Stoke but lacks the quality to hurt good teams. Although Theo Walcott has improved this season he still has very little to offer besides pace. His final ball is either ok or awful however his link up play with van Persie recently has been much better.

It is getting tedious and tiresome commenting on Arsenal. It must be incredibly frustrating for everyone associated with the club but the only one who can really change things is Wenger. From what I can gather many of the fans are becoming increasingly disillusioned with his stubbornness and willingness to change his ideology. They have demonstrated in patches that they can compete with the very best but they are too inconsistent. If they can bring in four or five players with experience and quality they will do well next season. If they don’t I imagine I will be writing something very similar next season. Over to you Mr Wenger.

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