It’s been a familiar season at the Grove in 2010/2011, with polished, mature performances against Barcelona and Chelsea, along with unforgettably poor and pathetic one’s against Birmingham, Tottenham, and who can forget Newcastle.
You could say we’ve made progress in some areas this season. For instance, beating the so called ‘big teams’ in the League, getting to a Final, finding a Goalkeeper we can rely on and a young, English Superstar. They are positives, but for a Club of our stature, is that really good enough? I don’t think it is.
Now for the negatives, and there are a alot: the horrendous home record this season, defensive incapabilities not being addressed and costing us, not adapting to the way other teams play against us, like it’s either ‘our way’ or no way at all. Not strengthening in areas that everybody who knows football, know we need strenghtened.
I have came to the conclusion that we haven’t really improved on season’s past because the negatives outway the positives, for me anyway. It’s a simplistic way to look at it -but when you’ve seen our season plummet in the way it has – it’s blatantly obvious to see what needs fixing, and what we need to take us to THAT next level. Do I need to spell it out for you Arsene? In my opinion, and a lot of other Journalists’, fans’ and pundits’, Arsenal need a Defender who’s purpose is actually to defend, not know how to caress a ball and bring it out from the back, a Defensive Midfielder for cover/competition for Alex Song, who will be off to the African Nations Cup in January. I do believe we need a typical number 9, like Eduardo pre-injury. I believe and so do many with those positions filled with been there, done that, proven players, then we can finally push on from March – May where we’ve floundered in the last few years.
We call ourselves a ‘big club’ and it’s about time we started acting like one. Do you think Man United would call this a successful season? And before you tell me ‘well compare our net spend, blah de blah’, show me one team who have spent as little as we have and dominated their League or won trophies? You won’t find one.
Chelsea, United, and City have spent big over the years and you can say they’ve bought success, but who hasn’t? Every side spends money, maybe not to the extent of those Clubs, but what ends up in their’s or our trophy cabinet(s)? Another thing we haven’t done which they have is strenghten when we’re at our strongest. When we let most of the invincibles leave, we relied on youth, and I know that was Arsene’s ‘plan’ all along, but it’s failed miserably. At that time, we should have kept the Pires’, the Campbell’s of this world to show the Diaby’s and Song’s how to grind out results and get over the finishing line. But there was a clear-out and they were left to figure out for themselves, mostly. Our Captain Cesc made a fantastic point in his controversial interview with Don Balon, where he said:
“I Felt that if you made a bad game it was okay because your partner solved it. Those players made you better.”
And there lies my point, who was there to correct Diaby or Denilson’s mistakes when they were thrusted into the limelight, and onto the big stage? No one is the answer.
I know now those days are gone, and we cannot change that, but now we have to start buying experienced, proven quality because despite what Arsene says about our young side ‘improving’ and ‘growing’ year on year, when it comes to the crunch, they will never go that one step further, because they don’t know how to.
I think, I hope Arsene has started to see what we’ve all been seeing for a few years now, and will now make the necessary changes to improve the ‘mentality’ of the team, Arsene’s favourite word. This is the summer where ‘le professeur’ either buys experience and we start seeing evolution, or where he buys a couple of unknown Ivorians and a couple of Barcelona kids (he has already), which isn’t the best sign. Everyone is on their holidays and there is going to be a lot of speculation, a lot of ‘supposed’ targets, but we need to give Arsene the chance to make these changes, and not just bash him from pillar to post when the season has just ended.
Shall I end this piece positively or negativley? Hmm, tough decision. I think I’ll end it like our season ended, sorry. If Arsene does continue to buy the way he has done, then I’m afraid it’s the end for the greatest Manager in our history. But I shall say no more until the end of August.
It’s time to look FORWARD to next season now (I did end it positively, SEE!)
Enjoy your summer’s!