Arsène Acknowledges The Problem, Now For The Solutions
Arsène showed a turn of phrase that Leonard Cohen would have been proud of when he spoke to ATVO about last season. Seen as a change in philosophy by the headline writers hinting a change in playing style, proof that interviews are not read,
…that doesn’t mean we have to change our philosophy or the way the club is run.
The reality is a long-acknowledged that Premier League experience will be high on his list of required qualities in new signings this summer.
We get it 95 per cent right, but we must gain that five per cent because it’s so frustrating to flirt with success like we have done.
Where to begin with Arsène’s comments? The first thing is to recognise is that had the squad not been in the position to throw it all away, the pain of the end of season collapse would have been nowhere near as intense. The burning desire for success felt by supporters, crushed by a lack of character in games when it mattered.
I don’t think that comparing 2003’s team is necessarily the right way to go about it. That said was experienced and to be honest, analogies with the past do a disservice to them and the present. For example, there were only two teams challenging for the title. The gap between the top and the rest was bigger than it is now. And such quotes are prone to be taken too literally.
Wenger acknowledged that and understood why supporters felt the disappointment so acutely,
For our fans the frustration was that we were so close to convincing everybody of how football can be great, but in the end not being able to deliver.
It is a big problem for the manager to solve. The nerves to which he referred in his interview are calmed with experience but this squad is relatively experienced despite the youthful years. Some, we know, want away to obtain more first team action.
But what was disappointing was that when we needed to push on, we could not show the nerves to deal well with some games.
Denilson was lambasted for expressing the same views as Wenger. Fábregas, in making similar observations as the manager, had made it clear he was looking south-westerly to Barcelona. Clichy? He’s off. What of Sagna and Wilshere, who both spoke in similar terms.
Collectively, the disappointment within the squad is tangible. With Wenger aware of the shortcomings, this summer is the time to put things right, on and off the pitch.
Identifying the defence once more as a weak link means nothing if you do not rectify the problem,
We conceded very few goals from open play, most of them were from set pieces in a way you don’t want to concede goals. It’s something that’s easy to correct. We need to improve the size of our squad. We need a bigger variety in the height of our players.
It’s not necessarily that simple. Peter Crouch is one of the tallest players ever but is useless in the air.
Arsenal’s fundamental problem is that being ineffective in attack from set-pieces, training to defend them is even harder. Delivery is wayward, attacking players do not pressure goalkeepers enough. Improving the attack might help them defend at set-pieces. Experienced former players could provide the necessary know-how. Keown in 2005-06 reaped dividends in Europe. There is no need for this to be permanent, the players need to be organised and overcome their naivety.
Key to it all?
People love what we do but they want us to be rewarded so that they can be convinced we do things the right way. They want proof that we do things the right way.
I’ve ended with that quote because it is the crux of the summer. ‘Convinced‘, ‘Proof‘; big words, emotive but that is football to its core. The transfer activity is all about the final changes needed to take the core of a good team to its next level.
Right, that is it. Bar telling you all to go and purchase a copy of Issue 1 of The Blizzard which contains an excellent interview with Dennis Bergkamp which tries to get inside of his head about the beautiful game and very descriptively he does, particularly about his goals at Newcastle and Leicester. As well as the one for Holland v Argentina. You can purchase it here.
Posted on June 2, 2011, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer, Transfer Gossip and tagged Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Soccer, Transfer Gossip. Bookmark the permalink. 278 Comments.