Archive for May, 2013

Monaco are taking the meme of “Buy ALL the players” to heart as they look to dethrone PSG as this summer’s Man Citeh. Whilst they buy and continue to be linked with attacking players, they are taking making some Gooners nervous and demoralizing others, who are all saying in unison “Why is that not us?!”.

Arsenal are not Monaco, PSG or Man Citeh; the club was never likely to splash large for 1 player, but for a collective that will improve the good base of players in the squad. This is going to be a long summer but one with departing players that actually benefits us(bye-bye deadwood and malcontents or both!) and some reinforcements coming in to meld with the team that finished the season with 26/30 points.

For me that’s the key, the lads showed that they are capable of stingy defense and assurance(be it nail-biting) to reel off wins at a clip. What needs to be strengthened are a few key positions and the squad can begin the league next year how they ended this one. We all know where reinforcements are needed, so there is no point in continuing to mention it, but I wouldn’t expect any more than one, maybe two “well-known” name to come in whilst those positions are filled, but for me that’s okay. I’d much rather have a TEAM than a group led by a couple of players. We all saw how under-achieving was prevalent over the last few years with the likes of Cesc, Nasri, Judas, Song, etc. “leading” the squad. The result of off-loading those players and opting to start anew? More goals scored, less goals conceded, and more league points 2 straight years. And they said those players were “irreplaceable”. Ha.

For all the flash that Arsenal brought to the field from 2006-2012, there was little substance, always folding when it mattered most, early on it was due to departures of key figures while later on it was down to players considered by a naive few as “new legends” that weren’t ready for that title. The squad this year once more had to endure an influx of players, which led to a slow start, in my opinion it’ll be different this summer. That will lead to a better start with key additions, very few departures and a team that has started to believe in itself.

Let’s have more players that will add to this “us vs the world” mentality that the current squad has and I can see us lifting a trophy this year. It was shown that when clicking this team can compete with anyone, a few more key additions and little subtraction will them clicking more often than not. It’s not like the United squad this year was all-world but they were efficient, that’s what Arsenal need to be, efficient as they were to end the season.  So don’t fret Gooners, we have good times ahead.

UTA, COYG!

Well, it’s not where we wanted AFC to end up, it’s not even where most of you thought the Gunners would.

Let’s be very blunt, most of you thought Arsenal would end up outside the top 4 and with fewer points than last year and dreading the day Judas left the club. I said last June, before he left that AFC would do top 4 and finish with more points, and that’s just what happened, although I thought we’d pip a Carling or FA Cup this year. I am not one that is happy with a top 4 finish, given the state of our turnover in personnel though and the lack of spending, it is something that has become a sort of “will we or won’t we” compensation, and indeed, against the grain this year, AFC did.

Most forgot, this is a TEAM, and as such, whilst an individual player can save one’s collective arse, he was very unlikely to make a difference when replaced so thoroughly with several players.

Arsenal didn’t replace Judas like for like, they replaced him with several players. Goals from Gerv, Santi, Poldi, Theo, Giroud all made up the offensive and the lack of dependence on one player made Arsenal a team. Of course the bad part is that it took the Gunners a better part of a full campaign to realize what they could do, but they brought it all together when it counted most and finished in a CL spot to once again have a full summer to strengthen, HOPEFULLY.

This summer I believe we will finally reinforce with minimal “important” players leaving. Yet again I sit here to remind you. What did those players that left WIN us?

NOTHING.

Cesc as a leader won NOTHING. He left whilst going on STRIKE! Nasri won AFC nothing, brilliant at times, 6 months out of 3 years is not consistency. Song was good but never the DM Arsenal needed. Judas spent endless time on the treatment table then has 18 wonderful months and takes off at first opportunity after the club took care and stood beside him for years on end. Don’t get me started on the disaster that is Adebayor, Hleb, etc. Clichy at least didn’t talk ill of the club but was still a nauseatingly bad LB in the AFC system. Kolo simply saw what was around him and decided it was “time”.

So yes, there have been many departures of late, but none of them, save Kolo, did ANYTHING for AFC to warrant the acclaim they received. I like Cesc, but Cesc has chosen to go and be 3rd and sometimes 4th choice on a team rather than to lead one. Judas preferred to turn his back on a team rather than raise one to greatness. These are not losses, these are opportunities for improvement.

So here Arsenal sits. On the precipice once more. This time there is no great leader, one standing far above the others, here stands a TEAM, and as such, they need reinforcements to continue to show that hard work, the right attitude and simple numbers can get results.

This lot showed in the last months of the season, as I predicted on this blog a couple of months ago, that they could finish strong and get results when needed. I predicted 72 points and third place. We ended with 73 and 4th, with the Chelski vs Utd match ruining my prediction. That said, it goes to show that Arsenal CAN get results and that the team is not as far away as some make it out to be.

I believe the club will spend, but I don’t think this will be a conventional “big name” summer, but a fruitful one in the sense that AFC will address needs and build on a strong finish.

The base is there. There will be no major departures and many roster spots and weekly wages freed up. The overall feeling is that AFC is a team on the rise and in need of a key few players to make a run. The money is in place, CL is in place, and now we sit and wait.

Will Arsenal spend and bring in the key players lacking or will the Gunners once again be left wanting come season’s start? I wrote a few weeks back that if CL was accomplished, this would be the summer of “No More Excuses”…it is upon us, now it’s time to sit and wait for the action to unfold. It should be interesting. I think the club will get the job done. Let’s hope I’m right, again 😀 for all our sakes.

COYG!