Monday, 22 August 2011

Crunch Time

So after that morale sapping loss to Liverpool on Saturday, Arsenal are in a bit of a pickle. If you didn't know our squad was weak before the weekend, the game against Liverpool highlighted all our shortcomings; The early injury to Koscielny forced Wenger to bring on Spanish youngster Ignasi Miquel, and later on when Arshavin was substituted, it was for English teenager Henri Lansbury. Frimpong and Jenkinson were making their first Premier League starts (both of them under 20) and the bench consisted of Ryo Myaichi and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. All these unproven kids forced to plug holes in our crippled and inexperienced squad. Let's say this in the simplest way possible; this is not a team that will challenge for honours this season. No disrespect to the youngsters and I'm all for giving youth a chance but when you're forced to bring on Miquel and Lansbury in a crucial game against a big rival then you know something is wrong. I realise that the team is struggling with injuries and suspensions at the moment but it is ridiculous that we are now two games into the season and Wenger still hasn't addressed the critical problems that he's had all summer to fix. It saddens me when I hear him proclaim that yes, he has made signings, but unfortunately they are not signings that matter Mr Wenger. Buying Jenkinson and Oxlade-Chamberlain is great but where is the powerful centre-back to partner Vermaelen this team so desperately needs? Where is the support for van Persie up front? Where is the backup for Song in midfield and when will we see a replacement for Fabregas or at least some help in case Ramsey and Wilshere get hurt? Only Arsene knows... or when you look closely, apparently doesn't.

There is some positive news for once on the transfer front. According to the Guardian we have opened talks with French club Rennes for their 21 year old defensive midfielder Yann M'Vila, a French international. Apparently he could cost us around £12 million. I've never seen M'Vila play but at this stage I'll take anyone, especially anybody who can help where we need it the most. In other news, it looks like Nasri's move to Man City has hit a major road-block. With his unexpected appearance against Liverpool on Saturday and rumours that he could feature against Udinese Wednesday night, Man City are suddenly very worried that they won't get their man after all, and City boss Roberto Mancini is bricking it. If Nasri gets cup-tied in the Champions League it clearly indicates he's staying with us this season. To be honest, as much as I'd like to get the £25 million for him now, I'd much prefer to see Nasri stay in the red and white this year, even if is just for one more season. Now Fabregas is gone I'd really like Samir to take that position and make it his own.

So the pressure is on for Wednesday night as Arsenal face Udinese in the second leg of the Champions League qualifier. Taking that 1-0 lead to Italy was crucial but I feel we're gonna have a hard time keeping them out, especially with Wenger banned from the touchline again and with added defensive woes since last week's game. Hopefully Jack Wilshere will have recovered from his ankle injury just in time to play, because we could really do with his grit and determination in midfield.

Anyway, let's hope we can get the job done and qualify - it is absolutely crucial we do.

Thanks for reading.

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