True Arsenal fans are angry with what the board of directors have turned the club into and for the right reasons; 7 years protracted trophy drought, sale of super quality players, no replacement or under-replacement of them, poor players, horrible tactics, indifferent board and recent loss of form.
I am speaking for the real Arsenal fans across the globe because I strongly believe am qualified to do so. I epitomize the spirit of a true gunner. I might not be ‘Metusellah’ but I am old enough to have witnessed the years of plenty, seen stars and celebrated trophies. All those have been replaced by a lean period, clowns masquarading as players and protracted trophy drought. Now trophies only exist in ‘our’ dreams. But the good and interesting thing is I have not given up and I won’t. If I stop supporting Arsenal, I would stop watching football. Is that possible? I doubt it. While I love the club and believe in the potentials, I am not going to shy away from the truth which the time has come for and it must be told.
Our trophy drought and sudden losses are no fluke, it’s self-inflicted. Not that Wenger wished it but his decisions on and off the field called for it. Season in, season out, the club is gradually slipping into mediocrity with the players paraded. Selling Fabregas and replacing him with Ramsey, Gervinho replacing Nasri, Giroud for Van Persie, just to mention a few. While these players ain’t utterly bad, the boots they are called to fill are too humongous for their feet and the weight too heavy for their bodies. They would have thrived well playing alongside the stars, learning from them before been asked to take their place.
Some players have particularly distinguished themselves as poor players that are not Arsenal class. Gervinho, Santos and Ramsey lead the pack. While I can excuse the Welshman because he is the youngest of the trio and still recovering from a broken leg. While am not against Wenger nursing him back to form, it shouldn’t be done at the detriment of the club. Ramsey’s place is as a squad player and not a regular
starter. Too playful on the pitch, no sign of seriousness, too many misplaced passes and over-dribble are some of his major problems.
Santos and Gervinho are awful. Didn’t Wenger tell Santos that he was coming in to play left full back? Each time the Brazilian was on the pitch, he abandoned his primary constituency and chased shadows in the opponents area leaving the other back three with extra-luggage. Against Norwich, he was the weakes link and against Schalke, he gifted the Germans their 2 goals. For the first, he was so lost in thoughts that he played Huntelaar onside while Farfan ghosted past him to set-up Afellay for a tap in. As far as am concerned, he does not have the discipline of a full back and the fitness of a footballer. After 25 minutes against Schalke, he was out of breath. Brazilian full backs are attack minded but also know their defensive onions. Marcelo that has kept him out of the Selecao squad is very dangerous when attacking and also dependable when defending. The most annoying thing about Santos against Schalke was despite his stay upfront, he couldn’t deliver a single cross, shot or key pass in 90 minutes. So tell me, what was he doing forward? He was better off staying put at the back. In the absence of Gibbs, Santos isn’t our best left back. We have options in Vermaelen, Miguel and Jenkinson.
As for Gervinho, can’t say too much. Keen on dribbling rather than a simple pass. His finishing is as wayward as Jeffers’. Besides the ineptitude of some players, Wenger’s over-loving attitude and tactical deficiency is also a problem. Players like Gervinho, Ramsey, Mannone and Santos keep making the same blunders and he can’t bench them. It’s high time he introduced the air-dryer approach. It’s good to love your players but Wenger’s excessive love is costing us points and trophies.
Also, his substitutions are dismal atimes and the timing very wrong. Le Prof has a penchant for waiting until the 75th minute before introducing fresh legs. I wonder if there’s any law that states that. Against Norwich and Schalke, delayed substitutions partly cost us the game. If Gnabry and Giroud were introduced early enough, we could have salvaged a draw from the games. Our only shot on goal against Schalke came from the puerile boots of the German youngster. Maybe he would have had more shots if he played more than 15 mins, perhaps 45 mins. The fact that Steve Bould confirmed his substitutes were pre-planned shows exactly what I am saying. The subs were pre-planned not affected by the match situation = pathetic.
Wenger also rarely exhausts his substitutions. He is always happy using just one or two and this principle had cost us points in the past. Notably, against Aston -Villa when Bent scored at the death. There are some probable solutions for the highlighted problems. Gervinho, Ramsey and Santos should be limited to bench roles until they improve their play in training. Infact, Santos shouldn’t be played as a full -back but as a winger. If he can’t thrive as a winger, he should be shipped back to Turkey. Miguel to me is a better option as a Left back, Coquelin also did well down that route. Nico Yennaris can’t be worse than Santos. Jenkinson can also play as a left back now that we have Sagna. I have got nothing against Santos but even a blind man knows he is not good enough ( at least when it comes to doing his primary duties )
Some quality additions should be made in January to the Striking, wing and defensive midfield roles. We lack depth in these positions. Injuries to Walcott and Chamberlain have left us without width for 2 games and also losses. Injuries to Podolski and Arteta would leave us without goals and lots of deficit.
Tactically, Wenger should experiment with 4-4-2 sometimes. Seems the formation that Giroud and Walcott would thrive in. Giroud’s abilities to hold the ball well will give Walcott the chance to run into space and his finishing ability will definitely be of use to us. All we need is Wenger to stop been rigid. Change is only thing that is constant and it is high time our manager accepted that fact. 4-3-3 is good for some games and players but inadequate for some. Ditto for 4-4-2. A flexibility of the two would be just fine for Arsenal.
Like I said ab initio, am a lifelong fan of the club, I would swim with them when the tides are good and in turbulent times, I am ready to sink with them.
Written by Kolade Omotosho