My last post was just over 4 months ago and that was after those shocking defeats against Manchester United and Blackburn Rovers.
Since then however, we’ve got our act together, that is until the last 3 games. Defeats against Manchester United, Swansea and Fulham have left us on the same number of points as Newcastle United and Liverpool. Not really where we would want to be after 22 games.
Let’s start with the positives however. Wojciech Szczesny has been a revelation. After years of suffering at the hands of dodgy goalkeepers, we finally have a commanding, confident and above all quality goalkeeper. Mikel Arteta has been excellent for us, giving Arsenal that experience in midfield which is vital for players such as Alex Song and Aaron Ramsey. Alex Song has been outstanding, fantastic at protecting the back four and for me is the most underrated player at the club – his superb vision and assists (to Henry and Van Persie in particular) have been an integral part of Arsenal’s recent upsurge in form.
Koscielny has really stepped out this season as well, with some truly outstanding performances this season. And Van Persie of course has been excellent as usual, that goes without saying.
Aaron Ramsey has also been very good, but we rely on him far too much and the poor kid needs a rest now and then.
But how about the negatives? Unfortunately there are quite a few of those.
Mertesacker just doesn’t cut it for me. I would be far more confident with a central partnership consisting of Koscielny, Vermaelen and Cahill. It’s not that Mertesacker isn’t a good player, I just don’t think he can doÂ it in the Premier League.
Gervinho and Walcott have also been very disappointing. The Ivory Coast international just not adapted yet and Theo’s good performances are not regular enough.
But the biggest talking point (still) is the performance against Manchester United.
Walcott for me should have been the one to make way, and not Oxlade-Chamberlain. Walcott had been completely ineffective and after flashing a decent shot just wide and setting up Van Persie for the equalising goal The Ox deserved to see out the game. I don’t think anyone buys the excuse that he was tired.
But as if Arsene didn’t make one cock up with taking off Oxlade-Chamberlain, he brought on Arshavin.
How Wenger persists with Arshavin, who quite frankly couldn’t care less, is beyond me. We had Benayoun on the bench who is a complete professional and gives 110% whenever he gets into the pitch. For me, he was the far more logical choice to replace Oxlade-Chamberlain, if you had to take him off.
We’ve got a set of “winable” fixtures coming up against Aston Villa, Bolton Wanderers, Blackburn and Sunderland and anything else than decent performances and results could mean a disastrous hit to our season. And a simple match against AC Milan beckons after that.
I can’t see Arsenal making the Top Four anymore. Maybe a couple of weeks ago yes, but our frailties are too obvious and we are deep into a slump.
Maybe a season out of the Champions League would be a good thing – Arsenal could rebuilt and re-evaluate how the club is run.