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Posted by Sam Limbert on 08/22/2011

It's not quite 'save our season' time, but it's not far off. I didn't want to put too much pressure on these opening weeks of the season, but if the coming nine days are a failure on and off the pitch, then it looks like it'll be a horribly long season.

Getting into the Champions League by qualifying against Udinese on Wednesday is vitally important for the morale and the financial condition of the club. Manchester United next Sunday could see the team fall further behind in the Premier League and give us an up-hill struggle to get back in contention even at this early stage. There’s also nine days left to get the significant transfer business done, having not sorted it earlier in the summer.

The Liverpool match on Saturday saw another suspension, another injury and a defeat. Yes, we were unlucky with the injury situation and the first goal had a strong hint of offside. However we can’t just hide behind the excuse that we were unlucky. We are lacking the depth in the squad to cope with what is being thrown at us, and some of the players that are available aren’t pulling their weight.

We were missing eight first teamers on Saturday, but arguably only two or three really important ones. That still left eight players who could consider themselves first XI regulars in the starting line-up, however not enough of them performed well. Only Kieran Gibbs, Jack Wilshere and Alex Song were missing from what could be our first choice XI, with then Gervinho possibly coming in for Arshavin. Obviously Koscielny then went off injured, but that left another question. Where was Sebastien Squillaci? Either Wenger has lost faith in him, or he has a mysterious injury. If he’s been deemed not good enough, where’s the new centre back? We ended up throwing Ignasi Miquel into his Premier League debut, and he did his best but is ultimately an inexperienced youngster.

Injuries shouldn’t be affecting the team the way they are. We should have four good quality centre backs at the club, so when two get injured, you can still cope and not throw kids in. It was unfortunate that both of the club’s left backs were injured, but with Kieran Gibbs’ injury record there should have been some expectation that that could happen.

In midfield, on paper, we had a decent three. Ramsey and Nasri have played plenty of first team games, and Frimpong is our back up for Alex Song. However, Frimpong was making his first Premier League start and was almost too enthusiastic. For the time he was on the pitch, he impressed and gave everything for the team, but as soon as he got a cheap first yellow card, he was an accident waiting to happen. I think he will develop into an excellent player, but at a time of instability at the club, we need some experienced pros who won’t launch into a tackle when on a yellow. We’re now going into a game at Old Trafford without a recognised holding midfielder. Why not try and sign Scott Parker, even if only for two seasons?

Aaron Ramsey had one of his poorer games for Arsenal as we struggled to keep hold of the ball in midfield, and when he did get to play it forward, those playing in attacking positions generally lost it, meaning Ramsey was running back and forward with the game passing him by. He was unlucky with the own goal though.

Our front four should also have been good enough to create more chances. Walcott, Nasri, Arshavin and van Persie are some of the more senior players in the squad, and didn’t cause the Liverpool defence enough problems. Nasri, considering the speculation around his future, put in a good shift, but was having to come too deep to get the ball and was too far from van Persie to create chances for the Dutchman. Both Walcott and Arshavin were lacklustre and were not good enough at feeding van Persie. Despite him not seeming to be who we needed, the signing of Gervinho might not be a bad one if Walcott and Arshavin don’t improve. There are also exciting youngsters in Miyaichi and Oxalde-Chamberlain waiting if needed.

The point I’m making is that there should still have been enough about the team to really challenge Liverpool on Saturday, not just try and hold out for a draw. Injuries have been unfortunate, but the squad players immediately behind the first XI still aren’t good enough. If Arsene Wenger doesn’t spend in the before the 31st August, the season could be extremely long.

With the injuries, there can be no excuse to not sign a centre back. I sympathise with the manager over trying to sign the right player as there is so much pressure on him to do so, but I can’t see a justification if a defender isn’t signed. Watching other Premier League games over the weekend, it was clear that the majority of clubs in the division have at least one centre back that is better than one or two of ours. If we’re serious about challenging to win the league, only competitors around us should have similar standards of centre backs. The players are out there, Arsene just needs to be decisive in the transfer market.

Before the game on Saturday, I was discussing the issue with the family member who is responsible for getting me into Arsenal. He posed a good question that, apart from Sol Campbell, how many other top quality centre backs has Arsene Wenger signed? Arguably Thomas Vermaelen, but we’ve only seen him properly for one season, and Kolo Toure, but he was initially signed as a midfielder. Otherwise he inherited the likes of Adams and Keown. It is arguably a weak spot of Wenger’s in the transfer market, but there are enough potential targets around that he can correct that in the next week and a half. Phil Jagielka, Gary Cahill, Chris Samba and Per Mertesacker have all been linked and would all be an improvement to the squad, so please just sign one of them Arsene.

We still need a midfielder and a striker to support Robin van Persie. If any of those don’t come in, then I’ll be very concerned for the rest of the season. We can’t continue to blame bad luck for our failings when we can go out and sign players and bolster the squad.

Having said that, I do feel sorry for Arsene Wenger. The pressure being mounted on him from all areas of the game are massive, whether it’s fans, the media or football institutions such as UEFA. Everyone seems to be enjoying the chance to have a pop at Arsene, and it isn’t helping him ahead of these vital few days. For example, the additional ban from UEFA because Wenger breached the terms of his last one is absolutely ridiculous. I’m sure Arsene wouldn’t have deliberately gone against the instructions UEFA had given him, so I think UEFA have jumped on the bandwagon against Wenger. The club are rightly appealing the ban as it’s a stupid decision, but it wastes time when we could be trying to sign players and get ready for Wednesday. I’ll also be surprised if UEFA change it.

Talk of UEFA leads me on to the Udinese game. It can’t be stressed how important it is that we get through the tie. It’ll help the team morale, build some momentum ahead of Manchester United, will help with transfers financially and can help persuade players to join the club. We’ll have players back as Song, Gervinho and Frimpong are only suspended for domestic matches, and Johan Djourou and Jack Wilshere could return from injury. There’s still a problem at left back, meaning Bacary Sagna will probably have to fill in again.

There’ll be a few more available in midfield, but if I were Arsene Wenger, I’d play Samir Nasri. Even though that would probably ruin any chances of his Manchester City move, Wenger should ignore what others, in the media or elsewhere, say and just give the side the best chance of getting through, and undoubtedly our chances are improved with Samir Nasri in the side. Financially, playing him wouldn’t make sense, but Wenger should show some defiance and play him. Despite a few muted boos towards Nasri before the match against Liverpool, the fans’ reaction was very good towards him, especially as he was putting a lot of effort in. Even the Na Na Na Na song got a run out. It would be a statement of intent from Wenger to play Nasri, and a good performance from him would boost confidence for the rest of the season, knowing he’d be likely to stay.

An early goal could do wonders for the team on Wednesday, as it would mean Udinese that would need at least three goals to go through. With the Italians needing to attack, there’d be the chance to hit them on the break with the likes of Gervinho and Walcott, and try and get some goals under our belts. Having not scored in the league, our forward players need to get back the feeling of hitting the net, and getting an early one on Wednesday could spark an opportunity to do that.

As always, I’ll try to find something positive about the Gunners. Wojciech Szczesny and Thomas Vermaelen were fantastic against Liverpool, and if we get can the players around them at the back to support them, then our defence can improve. Vermaelen dealt with Andy Carroll superbly, and it wasn’t until we were down to ten men that we were opened up.

However, if we have a bad week, Szczesny and Vermaelen could be alone in giving us positives. We’re facing up to the reality that the squad isn’t good enough, and Wenger has just over a week to do something about it as well as making sure we don’t fail and fall behind in Europe and in England.



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Comments

Posted by Adam on 08/22/2011

@ Sam Limbert, Its always easy to critisize after the fact. You state "As always, I’ll try to find something positive about the Gunners" even that comment is negative. A boring and pointless article.

Posted by HighburyJD on 08/22/2011

when Wenger arrived he did brilliantly to extend the careers of our old back 5, now its a stick to beat him with. Campbell and Toure were obviously awesome signings, a quarter of a mill for the two! Gallas and Vermaelen have so far not found partners. I still think Koscielny in tandem with the Verminator will be an excellent partnership.

Posted by Ed on 08/22/2011

I'd like to say I thought Frimpong had a great game, apart from, you know, the red card! In any other game that first yellow wouldn't have been given, and he would have had a superb debut. I look forward to seeing him play more.

Posted by Ed on 08/22/2011

I'd also like to add to my previous comment that I would very much appreciate it is someone told Wenger about some different formations. 4-5-1 is not the be-all and end-all, and it won't work against United because we won't have 3 centre mids!

Posted by bc on 08/22/2011

Nasri, Bendtner, Squillaci and Arshavin will not start on Wednesday for fear if getting cup tied.

3 of them might find themselves on the bench, in case the fear of going out starts becoming a reality. However, this is the team i think Wenger will go with.

Sczesney
Sagna Djourou Vermaelen Traore
Song Frimpong
Walcott Wilshire Gervinho
Van Persie

S: Fabianski, Koscielny/Miquel, Jenkinson, Rosicky, Ramsey, Chamakh, Chamberlain or Miyaichi

That is a squad containing 15 internationals, the extra bite of Frimpong, Song and Wilshire should allow Walcott, Gervinho and Van Persie more focus on attack. Have to say i would not be too unhappy if that midfield became a permanent fixture. If we do manage to get a lead, i would be looking to get Van Persie off as quickly as possible to rest him for United, same goes for Wilshire and Walcott

Posted by Olanrewaju Taiwo on 08/22/2011

WENGER SHOULD GO, HE HAS LOST IT. A BUSINESS MAN BUYS STOCKS TO REPLACE THE SOLD ONES. WENGER IS CONFUSED. PERIOD

Posted by Andrew on 08/22/2011

There is no doubt that there is a disconnect between the fans and management. Perhaps the squad isn't as strong as we would like. What happened, however, to doing things the Arsenal way-the right way? Playing good football and not succumbing to the negatives in the business in football? Winning trophies would be amazing. Being in contention, however, for trophies every year should be celebrated by us fans. We moan every time we finish runner up, but we should also be proud of our time. This is to all the fans. I admit I have moaned and screamed about the lack of quality we have shown the past 6-8 months. Perhaps, however, it is our job to lift our team...it is no coincidence that our results appear worse at home than on the road. We need to provide a cheerful environment-one where our players can thrive. Instead, we heckle and create a sense of nervousness (towards already uncertain young players) one would expect to find on the road in a CL semi. Let's create a home field advantage!

Posted by phelan on 08/22/2011

I had to chuckle a bit. You really, REALLY wanted Squillaci on the field instead of Miquel? I'd take my chances with the kid any day.

Very harsh on Frimpong, who was, admittedly, overzealous at times. However, there is a fire in that kid, and he is clearly loving every minute he gets playing in the red and whites of our club. Look at the reception he got walking off the field. The fans there knew what a shift he put in, and appreciated it.

Wenger on CBs - we've seen Silvestre and Squillaci, yes, those were BAD. However, why does everybody sleep on Laurent Koscielny? Injury woe aside, he's been brilliant in this fledgling season, and let's not forget the TREMENDOUS effort he put in to lock down Barcelona last year. To me that qualifies as an astute Wenger buy for a CB. Yet why doesn't anybody give Kos, or even The Professor, any credit? Besides, at this time last year we were still clamoring for a GK, and look what Wenger gave us - Szczesny.


Sam Limbert: Thanks for your comments. I defintely wouldn't have prefered Squillaci, but if he's in the squad as the fourth centre back, he should in theory have come on. Frimpong was impressive, but still showed inexperience in getting sent off, which unfortuntely for Frimpong isn't what we need at the moment.

Posted by sNIpES on 08/22/2011

@ ADAM
Sam is right. He stated the facts and i am tired of those of you who criticize the fans for being honest. AW is a good coach who has made great decisions in the past but this year he has erred BIG time - PERIOD. A good friend is one who praises when you do well and criticizes when you err and thats what we've been doing. He dropped Mata when he could have had him for 15mil. How can he place his hopes on those young lads? The fact that he has provided us with the top 4 finish for 4 years shouldnt be enough - maybe thats all he can do and if thats the case then its time for him to go. Arsenal deserves more than the top 4 finish, common man. I wonder if you are a true fan cuz you seem to accept and support his horrible decision-making. My friend there is a time for everything; we've taken the abuse for 6 years now and its time for AW to shape up or go. I believe that we shall find that coach who can take Arsenal to the highest of heights. AW buy or we are all doomed this season.

Posted by SEA on 08/22/2011

Sam L makes some good points. I do think, eventhough we are still only in August, that the next week is incredibly crucial to the future of the team's season. Failing to qualify will not only limit the club financially but also hurt its chances of signing "important" players who want CL action now. A blow out to Man U would indicate that we may be struggling to qualify for any European competition next season. Either way I will always be a Gunner Fan and if anything it is exciting to watch so many important matches this early in the year.

Posted by Patrik on 08/22/2011

Hello Sam,

Nice piece of writing. Can`t help but agree with you. It is worrying. Already the season is on the verge of falling apart and the upcoming games might be decisive.

The team is trying to cope with the probable fact of losing two worldclass players. Some of the remaining players doesn´t seem to be mentally there.

I can`t fault Arshavin for failing to control the ball or missread a 5 meter pass because he shows himself and keeps on giving his teammates options.It takes a lot of heart to try again after you`ve made a real bad play.

Walcott on the other hand is a different story and I would gladly pay money to get a look inside his head! A player who only shows up for every fifth game or so. He doesn´t show himself, drifts in and out of games, and if he has a day off doesn`t seem to be able to get back in the game.

Bottomline is that when important players leave it gives other players a chance to fill that void. However I doubt that Walcott will take that chance.

Posted by Chris on 08/22/2011

Most fans knew Arsenal needed a good start to the season, considering how the last season finished. As Sam points on, getting past Udinese is key. At least they take a lead into the tie.
As for new players, I read that Arsenal has money available. It's troubling that Wenger isn't buying, although the other teams know Arsenal has needs, and raise their fees accordingly. We know AW is a smart and proud manager, but now is the time to take a chance. Adding a key player is better than no move at all. In sports, good advice is to always change a losing game.

Posted by Adam on 08/22/2011

@ snipes. Could you please show us the evidence that Arsenal tried to buy Mata, or is your source the Sun or the Mirror or even Sky sports? I for one have absolutely no idea who Arsenal should buy or sell to regain this elusive winning formula. What I do know is that you have no say in any decision making process at Arsenal unless you can afford to buy the club then sack the board get rid of Wenger and run the club in the manner that suits you. If you cannot do this then another option open to you is, Go and support a manager of another team whose decision making you do like.

Posted by sni on 08/22/2011

LOL @ADAM
Truth hurts

Posted by Left Coast on 08/22/2011

Strange part is that in the entire dialog, not one mention of an upgrade in the nets. Are we one thumb injury away from disaster? I am not willing to hang the whole season on Szczesny, with nothing behind him. that has been the blindest of spots for Wenger. He couldn't find a decent keeper if he tried. Now Stekelenburg has gone to Roma for virtually nothing, and that would have solved that dilemma for the next ten years. But you are right, no new defenders is criminal. He has had all summer, and last January to add, but still nothing. If you are not going to add, then please, please stop talking about how many trophies you will contend for. It is if AW is so calculated that he puts in a lowball offer, has it rebuffed then sits back and watches the player go elsewhere, then he moans about the value being too high. Kind of sounds like what you did to Barcelona with Cesc. Can't have it both ways Arsene. Stop arguing with the world and get on with it already. Unlock your wallet!!!!

Posted by Mario Pardo on 08/23/2011

Débil y deslucido es este Arsenal. La estrategia de comprar jóvenes promesas, solo para venderlas al mejor postor cuando están en su máximo nivel puede ser rentable para Kroene, pero no apto para las aspiraciones de la hinchada que paciente y orgullosamente espera un motivo para recordar la grandeza del club. No mas lamentos mediocres y no mas del discurso conformista Wenger. Seis años consecutivos de fracasos no concuerdan con excusas circunstanciales. Aun no estamos en medio de una catástrofe, y los cambios necesarios son pocos, pero importantes. Todavía hay tiempo para redireccionar este navío hacia mejores puertos.Buena suerte el miercoles, y esperemos no salir apaleados el domingo.

Posted by Maran on 08/23/2011

Looks like our situation may not significantly change over the next few days. Lets go back to what fans should do. Let us support Wenger and the team. It is all doom and gloom for Arsenal now and it is rubbing into the players. Judging from the performance in the past few matches, it is apparent that the players think it is going to be a uphill task ahead. Henceforth every game will be. That is the recipe for a lousy season. Notwithstanding the lack of effort in building the team, the lackadaisical attempts to bid for players and the regular announcements that it is difficult to find good players, Arsene is still our manager. The team is Arsenal. We will continue to support the team. But we all know what is the problem. And we cannot help but express the frustration in the blog. It is healthy isn't it?

Posted by Black Hei on 08/23/2011

Lets just start Ryo and Alex and let them loose.

They have more technique than Theo and more heart than Arshavin. What has all that experience from Arshavin and Theo done last Sat?

Alex fought a promotion campaign and Ryo was an instant hit at Fey. May I remind fans, that these 2 had already achieved more than Theo before they came to the club. Ryo had 5 goals and 4 assists in half a season at a major league! Not too shabby for a school boy.

Would be nice if Arshavin bothered to play like a senior and Theo is capable of being one. We will need a replacement for Arshavin to play opposite Gervinho at this rate.

Arhsavin's performance is just simply professional. Zero passion. Theo should play for another team. He has amazing pace and perhaps Wenger should consider having him siwtch places with RVP and have Theo working of the shoulder of the last man. But I rather have Gervinho and another winger.

Posted by laoanywhere on 08/23/2011

Just surprise how fragile our guys, injury just few matches, we are in long run and with this size we reach to nowhere. Sign the quality or frugal? just domestic players are more than super quality, we are in situation of how to get points in Aug and Sep. Super quality is a kind of long term and they will leave us once they realize trophy-less waste their time.

Posted by kunle on 08/23/2011

i'm jst fed up with this double standard in d premier league it seems there are two sets of rules this days. one is for arsenal while the other is for the remaining teams.How on earth did carragher escaped a red after butchering Nani in their game last season. we all saw the big gnash on Nani's knee except the ref.Barton almost broke Diaby's leg into two last season but was not even shown a yellow. this infuriated Diaby & he reacted & got sent off.The same Barton now reacted violently cos he thougt someone was trying to get an undue advantage,but what happened?he got pampered while the other guy got sent off.I'm so sorry for Arsene cos i believe their is a vendetta against him. noteam ll win anything with this kind of gang up agianst them.not even barca.

Posted by DavidC on 08/23/2011

I would like to state my following observations :-

- Walcott does not have a brain to distribute passes. He is only suited to play in a striking role behind Van Persie where he can focus on making the run at defence and score goals.

- Van Persie is not a holding striker, we should try sign someone like a Kevin Doyle ( Wolves ) or Choyle ( West Brom ) for a longer term.

- must sign a mid-fielder with some attacking flairs to play along side Wilshire or interchange with him, since now Nasri is expecting to go.

- Frimpong and Ignasi Miquel are two great potentials at Arsenal ( they show confidence on the ball and their positional play is excellent ) a few more first team opportunities will get them well qualify for the first team squad.

- If Arsharvin is not fit, don't play him. I would rather play Bendtner ( but, if he is ready, no doubt he is good ).

- Really need to get a Centre Back to give more option to Arsenal back four.

Posted by damazane on 08/23/2011

I am a South African who happens to love arsenal big time. With that said, i don't have the previlege of attending games. I watch on tv. I was watching the man utd-tottenham game last night and after the game the soccer-analysts who were in studio said that the general feeling in England now was that maybe, finally, this would be man city's season but then again after united's ruthless demolition of spur, one needed to think again. And the other debate was no, not this season for city, maybe next. Chelsea are the strongest united's challengers.
The point I'm making is that there was no mention of our team. Not that I'm not aware that our team has gotten weaker over the years,(particularly at this moment when we have just lost cesc and samir), but it hurts when people say it. It is agonizingly painful.

Posted by sNIpES on 08/23/2011

@damazane

I feel your pain bro. I am from the Carib and it hurts to watch the team drown like this. Its even painful to try and muster the energy to support the team. It is clear that AW loves the idea of generating income for the club and shareholders (of which i believe he is one) by buying cheap young footballers with potential i must say, and reselling at exhorbitant prices. We do have a young talented team but guess what you run the risk of them getting injured quickly because of their immaturity, some leave once they realize how good they are or if a better team come knocking. AW needs to balance those young talents with experience and maturity. Let's see what he does for the next 10 days - i think i know. DO NOTHING and make promises for January as if.....

Posted by anthony on 08/23/2011

like my South African friend i too can only watch games here in Jamaica.I too feel the hurt when we as Gooners are marginalised and this is by our own doing, due to the policy of our beloved club.Long to see mature players around the youth.Hope the great AW do bring support players before 31/08/11.Investers spend to gain so i hope we will spend to get trophies.

Posted by regi on 08/23/2011

has anyone ever thought this..."what if Arsene didnt come to Arsenal?"

we still would be a mid level team. He came 7 changed everything, cut him some slack. its not him but the greedy players & debt ridden teams which will ultimately lead to a bust just as the financial crisis. we will come through.

Posted by MJ on 08/23/2011

here in the university of botswana,we dnt laugh or smile anymr.fellow students mke fun of us evryday!life its nt enjoyable anymr.i usd to luk 4wrd to evryweknd so i cud watch my arsenal play but ths season i dnt foresee nothin at all.im completly hopeless.but honestly qualifyin 4 CL will save our season.we cn only tke it frm thr.at the moment im so nervous and totally unhappy.

Posted by balteh on 08/23/2011

Don't even bother to raise your hope AW is buying nobody, the earlier we take that in the better for our health and optimism, we have heard it all, we ll be busy this summer was all he has been saying, but with due respect to oxlade, carl n campbell they represent anything but busy in my opinion, even though oxlade may be a bag of potentialn for a possible 15mill he is way too much for an untested winger, it is no hidden secret we had a decent team last year which was only only underminded by our central defence (without the verminator of course) yet AW is only bolstering the attack (oxlade, gav n campbell) I understand carl's purchase now the manu is gone but our concern is CB,then DM even a blind man knows that, as the only gunner in ma family AW is torturing me and my fellow fans (I went through hell with manutd's kids performance last night)

Posted by youngGun16 on 08/23/2011

Honsetly to all of the fans that say sack wenger, tell me who is available that would do better or is better? Do you really think that a Pep or Jose would leave barca or madrid come join a disarray arsenal. Sacking the manager isn't always the answer, just look at chelsea for example, 7 managers and still no CL trophy or liverpool, who took them a few years to realize that Dalgish was the right man after he already left. Do you want the to happen to this club, b/c i don't.

As for the blog, i completely agree with you Sam. We need a new player CD ( take your pick from the names Sam mentioned) an attacking mid and a poaching striker will get us goals. Everyone around the club needs a lift and the next ten days might provide it for us. We have to wait and see...

Posted by Jay on 08/23/2011

arsenal have a golden-goose mentality. Although Arsene hasnt been able to deliver trophies, he's been moulding superstars left and right only to have them skip out on arsenal for a team with money (pretty much just man city). That being said, when you're in a decent situation despite having a HIGH turnaround of regular players (name one arsenal starter who played all games without being injured or leaving. cant name one can ya?) you keep whatever is keeping the ship afloat. That is captain arsene wenger, who has now lost his TEAM CAPTAIN, and second most talented player. but still, I believe arsene will make more players. this is like when henry left. a minor blip. when the golden goose still lays a golden egg or two you dont just kill it, the situation in arsenal is shaky at best. they need reinforcements, and a lot of really high minimum release fees for their stars. that and they need to ensure club loyalty. its a madhouse out there.

Posted by Achile Ebikwo on 08/23/2011

I sincerely pray that God forgives the board at Arsenal and Wenger himself for what they are doing to we the fans.Tell us if Arsenal FC is a business empire, a football academy or a football club with the ambition of winning trophies. people keep talking of the "Invicibles". If I may ask, how many of the Invicibles did Wenger bring to Arsenal? He met almost half of them. Arsenal will eventually die off unless something is done urgently. the only solution is to put Wenger on sale.

Posted by Zaw Win Htut on 08/24/2011

Many blame Wenger upon failure to sign up big names. We must understand buying players cannot ensure success of the club. Could anyone ensure signing of the best player of the world win Arsenal the Champion league? Our manager is always reluctant to make a mistake in transfer. He is not a good gambler (like some great managers). So someone must help in finding good players for him. I think administrative board of the club should take the duty and responsibility in finding big players. This will reduce burden upon the good old manager who showed loyalty to the club for years.

Posted by Robert St. Pierre on 08/24/2011

Agreed about Wenger's weakness at signing centrebacks. He has never signed a very dominating, strong one, and prefers the dynamic, mobile type (bar Sol Campbell). I think he lucked out with how well-rounded TV5 is, but given the rigours of the english game, Squillaci, and often times Djourou and Koscielny aren't really up to scratch. I've also noticed that Wenger doesn't like tall centre backs. TV5 is a great leaper, but is only 6ft, and Kos and Squillacci are only around that as well. So when we are linked to the likes of Per Mertesacker or Brede Hangeland at 6'6 and a little less mobile, I really don't believe it because it's not Wenger's style. I would love to see it though!

Posted by YYY on 08/24/2011

Looks like same discussion this year, only more intense... Same mistakes committed year on year. Arsernal is the least equipped to start the season. And don't count on AW buying, the earlier we realise this fact the better. Most likely we will see those mid season "getting people out of retirement" deal transfers, like Campbell and Lehman. Henry playing again... anyone? Well you hear the prediction here first...
We haven't been winning, why? Becos it is not a number one priority. Invest on youth seems to be the priority (read making money). Next season, you will see the sales of Wilshere and Walcot.
Is the Board that sets the direction, they should be accountable!

Posted by Glenn on 08/24/2011

Injuries and suspensions............. not a good mix in a team that is supposed to be a top 4 team.
and we have lost wilshere for a few weeks, it just keeps getting better ............. umm i mean worse.

I truely hope mr Wenger has something up his sleeve, to pull our team out of the deep hole we are currently in.

you bought the youngsters because they have great promise, well let them show us what they can do, we cant do any worse than the start we have already.............

Posted by AARON MARK HENDRIX on 08/24/2011

A trip to Udine and then to the Theater shouldnt really should so frightening huh.But yet,in reality,it is as u say the biggest week of the still fledgling season for the gunners.Just as well you beat em both,lest you start being called the Gone-ers.Jokes aside,it will be a test of character,team spirit and morale.This is when the gaffer needs to rally and rejuvenate the troops,and the troops then respond in kind by goin out and playing the game(s) of their lives knowing what the stakes are for the institution that is Arsenal.You've god rid of Cesc and Nasri,finally,and can now look forward to the season without being asked 'do u think he'll stay?"You got a decent team.Not top drawer,but decent nonetheless.4th place is not a flimsy imagination.The league title maybe,but not 3rd or 4th.So lets see what you gaffer can do,and how ur team responds.This is where u come to realize who play for the team,and who have lost the faith..

Posted by Danny MESSI on 08/24/2011

Seriously we need experience players to support for all of the position.Please sells "Bendtner, arshavin, chamakh, squallaci, djourou, almunia, alex song, sagna and rosicky.This all must be gone and get bunch of experience players to fight back.This is the only solution and the problem will solved.I'm tired...Sigh...

Posted by kunle on 08/24/2011

"Arsene Wenger is a manager of immense quality. He knows how to use youngsters' ability. I have been watching Arsenal play since I was a kid and I took this decision because I know I have a possibility to become a better player here.''

Fellow gooners, that statement was made by the new boy campbell & i believe this summed up everything that arsenal & Arsene have become.Wenger knowing "how to use youngster's ability" young players now sees arsenal as a club where they ll polish their game,become a better player and then move on to better and more ambitious clubs.this is really sad considering our pedigree both in England & Europe.this is indeed a trying time for all us & we need to stick together & wade through this together.

Posted by vicky on 08/24/2011

as a conclusion for me,,i think AW should better sign 2-3 players..or else,he is DOOMED...

Posted by Vernon on 08/24/2011

I've been an Arsenal fan for 43 yrs. A little over third of that time, Arsene has been in charge. In that time the statistics are: English league: others 3 titles AW 3 titles. FA cup. Others = 2 AW=4. league cup others 2, AW 0. European trophies ( CWC, Fairs cup) others 2, AW = 0.

On the balance AW has definitely done well. Yet I have never been more unhappy. The club belongs to the fans. Not to one man's blind ambition to prove his own vision. If he hadn't been so stubborn and replaced Henry, Viera, Pires& co with some experienced players, we would have won the title twice more. It's not just about skill. It's experience and "bottle". Nasri would be a winner and would have stayed. Maybe even Cesc.
Adams, Keown et al were not skillful. They had big hearts. They never gave up or panicked - same as the 04 invincibles. We need leadership to help us through when things get tough. Bribing Cesc by making him captain failed.
Young inexperienced kids will not fill that gap. Wake up Arsene!

Posted by Anonymous on 08/24/2011

Well done Sam. I reckon, that at this time, optimism is the only way forward.

I think that the Udinese match will come to be the most important match of the season. If we lose it, there's no going back. We will struggle on the transfer market, and we will struggle with morale.

If we can get atleast 2 more quality players, I think we can hang on to that Top 4 berth, and it will be business as usual for Arsenal FC this season...

But the question is, will we got those quality players in?

Also, I think Wenger should give Ryo Miyaichi a debut soon.

Posted by Mike George on 08/24/2011

I've been a fan for 30+ yrs and have never been so depressed at what I'm seeing. Why is it that Arsene is the only mgr who can't see to find "quality" players? Everyone else is finding the quality! Perhaps by quality he really means "value for money". He acts like it's his personal funds by not spending and underbidding every "quality" player! I didn't mind the losing seasons because at least the football was entertaining..and now that's gone too!

Posted by Charlston Kennedy Tanggar on 08/24/2011

Wenger now is money making manager....he is one of the board member....thats why he didnt spend money to quality player..Diaby, squilacci,walcott,Bendtner, are sucks..see walcott play kills me...he only know straight run..no cross, no football mind..Diaby also suck...actually if wenger buy 1 denfender last january, we can win at least 1 silverware...but wenger sucks...i am tired to hear ur comments on signing player..its modern era football, not 1990s.quality player now will cost more...dont expect all ur below 10 million player can be a star like vermaelen....parker, mata, lukaku, mertesacker,

Posted by damazane on 08/24/2011

Sam, this is for you to answer, my fellow brother. I just read all the fans' comments on this blog and I must say, I sensed some very strong feelings. Please tell me, does Mr. Wenger read this blog? I am asking because some of the opinions from the fans are not far from the truth, if not true. I will quote 2 of them; 1.Kunle's comment about Cambpbell's remarks. The kid says he came to arsenal because he knows he will play and become a better player because our manager believes in kids. what's going to happen when he's become a better player?
2.Mike George's comment. There is an issue with our manager about finding the right quality. I dont know what that means,honestly. Does it mean, Mata for example,is not quality, because we let him slip out of our grasp? or he wants "value 4 money"? these questions are not directed at you,though. yours is; does our manager ever read this blog, coz i believe that would not be such a bad idea?

Sam Limbert: Thanks for your comment. I'd like to think Arsene Wenger reads the blog, but I'd be surprised if he did.

Posted by Andrew on 08/25/2011

OK...redundant, but my earlier point was proven true today. I really believe that we have gotten spoiled and greedy. We moan and complain about the team. Our influence on their play goes only so far as to bring them down. Again, the Gunners appeared a stronger team mentally and fundementally on the road in a harsh envirnment. Why Can't they do it at the Emirates? We'll just read the reasons Nasri left the club. when he said
"Arsenal have good fans but not that passionate since they moved from Highbury to the Emirates. I remember when we played against City, when we lost 3-0, the crowd was amazing. "That is what I want. When you play football it is for a good atmosphere."
It wasn't just for the press...his remarks are correct. Stop being a bunch of prisses! enjoy the football we play, and build the team up. The team is talented. There are no doubts there are several question marks. However, it is alot harder to play your best under strict scrutiny than with encouragement and support!

Posted by patrick on 08/25/2011

Arsenal fans, do not worried yourself about the seasons. I strongly believe Mr Wenger will diliver what he has promise his fans. Something i came to realize about us fans is this? we're so quick to make judgment on things that are way above our heads. Let's face it, if this we'rent that good of manager, do we really think that he would've lasted that long in a top club like Arsenal? all i like to say to all the gunners faithfull fans around the world is? have patient in the manager, the players, and most of all the owners whose making decision from above. Just remember, Rome wasnt built in one day. All i'm hearing from people is? Wenger should go, he lost his touch, he needs to spend money to bring better players. Why bring players with big names that arent any better than the one's you already have? i think the team is already good the way the are right now. When all said and done, Arsenal will finish in the top three this season if not the top over all, and you can quote me on that.

Posted by Joe on 08/26/2011

So much on th talk of wenger being a bad manager n hw much u fans cant undstand him!! N i wonder, r u true gunners or wat! We hav a perfectly balanced squad..nw tht the udinese isue is over n done, wot do u pessimists hav 2say? I agree wit sam on th CM part only....u say our CBs arent gud enaf? bt nw wot then, do we buy cahill for 15mil? One year contract? No way! jagielka at his age 4 18mil, No! Samba 4 all his size has nothn on djorou.. N mind u Squilaci just nids 2settle, he is quality! We don nid quick fixes..i wud rather watch miquel develop! Up gooners!

Posted by Emeka Bide on 08/26/2011

I have no sympathy for Arsene Wenger He put himself in the position he is presently under. He Better wakes up to reality. He cannot say that in the different leagues he cannot find decent mature players to fill the persistently leaking hole in his defence, replace the quality players he sold in midfield or bolster his attack line. I believe he is only interested in the constant income he generates from the Champions league but that is under serious threat now. There are very few experienced players in his squad to guide the promising youngsters he is bringing in. I think he should be promoted to director of finance while a more ambitious manager should be brought in. No sentiments.

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About
David Young Sam Limbert: My retirement as a football player came at the age of 14 due to being rubbish, it's fair to say I was more Kaba Diawara than Thierry Henry, so I turned my focus to writing about the game. I'm a lifelong Arsenal fan and have been lucky enough to watch the team across England and Europe. My favourite Gunner of all time is Dennis Bergkamp, and the 2004 Invincibles is the greatest side I've ever seen in English football. I try to be positive about the Arsenal as it's the hope that keeps us going! Follow me on twitter @SamsMatchReport.

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