Busy summer looms as Arsenal’s season crumbles

Blackburn 2-1 Arsenal

Another day, another lifeless defeat.

Our ‘easy run-in’ has turned into a nightmare, with one point from the last 12 and a succession of infuriatingly weak, insipid performances. The alarm bells are ringing loud and clear.

A squad that was meant to end the season on a high – albeit just off the pace – has now completely given up the fight and there seems to be nothing whatsoever that Wenger can do about it.

A loss against Fulham, perish the thought, would leave us on 72 points, exactly the same amount as last season. Progress? It doesn’t feel like it.

I didn’t expect Wenger to lambast Flapianski in his post-match interview, but even he must cringe with embarrassment every time he has to defend such a liability. He was clearly at fault for the second goal. Blackburn saw him as the weak spot – they didn’t have to look too hard to find it – and successfully targeted him. Naturally, it worked.

Elsewhere on the pitch, after a fairly bright start we faded badly. Look at the starting XI and at the bench though and you can see part of the problem is simply a lack of quality available. It doesn’t excuse the lack of stomach for the fight but it does go some way to explaining the paucity of some of our play.

We have so many players out and the backups have simply not been good enough.

Let’s break yesterday’s squad of 18 into three groups.

There are at least five players there we simply wouldn’t miss, other than numerically. Not one of Fabianski, Silvestre, Traore, Vela, or Eduardo has improved this season. You can only assume that the new contracts offered to the latter two were given partly to ensure healthy sell-on fees.

Then there are others from yesterday’s 18 who are good squad players, but too inconsistent, immature, or ageing to be considered first-choice material next season. In that category I would put Eboue, Campbell, Walcott, Diaby, Mannone, Djourou, Gibbs, Eastmond and Henderson.

That leaves, as nailed-on starters from that 18, just Sagna, Nasri, Arshavin and van Persie. The form of Nasri and Arshavin has been up and down but to my mind, the quality is there.

So we are missing a lot of players, and in their absence we have seen that the balance is wrong, the collective will to win has been diluted and the quality is lacking. It’s not a good cocktail at all.

On yesterday’s evidence, it will be a busy summer for Wenger, chopping out the deadwood and bringing in players who possess the kind of drive and quality that will rub off on those of the squad who have the most to learn.

Apologies if this is a bit of a ramble but I thought I’d pour it all out and see how it dried.

Bring on the end of the season.


Arsenal since about 1979. Thick, thin and all that.

This Post Has 20 Comments

  1. Darren

    Two players, three if Gallas leaves is the official line from Wenger. It’s always two players which normally means just one in reality. It beggers belief to think that Wenger won’t buy a keeper. If he doesn’t the board should move him on.

  2. angelic beardy

    I agree. Squad not good enough. Need more quality players in. A stronger midfield player, two good tall strong defenders and a quality goalie at least if want to challenge next season. My gut feeling is that we won’t spend again this summer and we might have to watch anouther torrid season where we start brightly then completely flop after christmas.

  3. RotorGoat

    I think he’ll spend. We’ll probably ditch a few – so there will be more money than we’ve had in a long time. Even Wenger cannot paper over the cracks any more.

  4. malcolm

    The goalkeeping problem has been there since lehman left. At any other club,the manager after one season of incompetent goalkeeping would take action immediately the following season so that the defence can be strengthened to mount a challenge.
    Arsene is different and is paying the price these five years for
    high profile goal blunders. If his intention is to drive down prices of goalies it is ingenius but if he sticks to Fab and Alumunia that’s it. He maybe hoping against hope they will finally come of age. The problem is if blunders are made again what then.

  5. The Saint

    Wenger: ‘I think Lucasz had a good game’

    The Saint: “Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Please stop as I’m laughing so much it hurts!”

  6. Womble

    Very good analysis. Painful but I think fair. Without Cesc and Arshavin our creativity and penetration has been zilch and without Vermaelen and Gallas our defence has been porous, third-class. The squad is wafer-thin. He needs five signings, assuming no one classy leaves: keeper, two centre-backs, a hard holding midfielder (how long have we said that), and Chamakh on a free. Will he buy them? Doubt it. Wenger will get a new keeper, one new defender, and Chamkah. That’ll be it.

  7. Gilford NH

    Fully agree with the analysis. Our problem is that Man Utd and Chelsea have still performed and won despite their injuries. We need better performances from the squad players. In reality this may mean that Wenger will have to sell off the Vela’s, Fabianski’s and replace with players more capable.

  8. Henry

    It is really pathetic; very much disgusting.sometimes I tend to wonder if this team is indeed the same arsenal that attracted me and fell in love with it. According to my assessment wenger is not interested in making us happy, he is just interested in making profits than developing the team. This is very sad of a manager. Sometimes I wonder if arsenal has a board of directors or this team is a personal proeprty of wenger and no one can fire him just as other teams are doing to non performing coaches. His time is over at arsenal. Please give us a breather next season

  9. Mark

    Why do some of you guys think Wenger will spend when he has shown no propensity to do so in previous years?

    This just feels like the end of the Graham era to me. Manager believes his own hype, players for the most part disinterested. We even have our own Glenn Helder clone in Theo Walcott!

  10. 433

    Not a ramble at all. Top blogging. All true.

    The one question I’d ask is whether Nasri is actually any better than Diaby. You could narrow your list down to three.

  11. brian waldron

    arsenal needs a complete revamp , last night we wernt just poor , we were terrible.
    fabianski – useless not confident enough for the top level.
    sylvestre – past his sell by date , why else would fergie sell him?
    diaby / eboue – besides the odd sign of life they were dead , might as well have had a blackburn shirt on they gave the ball away so often.
    nasri/vela – shocking nas had his worst game for the gunners. vela lacks match fitness cant expect him to do better.
    traore – caught out to often needs some logic if hes going to be good
    walcott – an overated baby who is out of place on the field needs to man-up . its a hard game theo!
    campbell/van persie/sagna – gave thier all good on you. pity the rest of the bunch couldnt follow your example
    arsene wenger – stop making the same excuses and promises year after year ,bullshit baffles the brain sometimes but in the end always gets shown for what it is -n shite!!!!!!!!

  12. simon

    Buffon – he’d be first choice for 8 seasons and prob about £15 mill. No brainer

  13. RotorGoat

    Buffon would be an incredible statement of intent but I’ll believe it when I see it…

  14. Uncle Mike

    I don’t demand stardom, but I expect competence and effort. The XI sent out by Wenger yesterday played as if they just don’t give a damn. The only Arsenal people who gave much of an effort were Sol, RvP, Nasri, Walcott (at least he’s trying, but he’s got to learn that effort alone isn’t enough) and Eboue, and also the visiting Arsenal fans who outsung those 4,000 arseholes in Blackburn, Lancashire.

    Let me put it this way: I’m 40 years old, and have never played organized soccer/football/futbol in any form, and have multiple injury issues with my legs. But if I had been at Ewood Park yesterday, I would have been the most capable Polish goalkeeper in the stadium. And not having Fabregas and Vermaelen available really reduced the give-a-damn factor. This is unacceptable, and must be addressed.

  15. Mark

    Buffon? Don’t make me laugh.

    When did Wenger ever sign a player at the peak of his career, compete on transfer fee and wages with other clubs? NEVER. Instead, pay players like Carlos Vela £40k a week or something ridiculous.

    You could argue that he deserves one more season. I am going to pay up for that time and if there isn’t radical change in the way we operate, someone else can have the pleasure of my seat.

  16. john

    i was surprised by the performance due to the simple matter that its season ticket renewel time and you would have thought the players or at least the manager would tell the players to do their best to at least save some face, and try to convince we’re good value for money.

    i do think though you have been harsh on diaby- hes been pretty consistent this season and the only reason for his performances now is simply fatigue, remember hes only just returned from 18 months out and yet hes expected to play every week

  17. ankit raghav

    heart breaking… mind u if i had been in place of fabianski
    then it wudn’t have mattered that samba is 10 times my size..
    i wud have kicked his nuts or calf or whatever but wudn’t have let him score .. these arsenal players need to learn that its not the best who always wins but its the one wid the best attitude who does so… yet i m an arsenal fan forever

  18. APOFalcon

    One thing that disturbed me more than anything else was how Nasri played. I thought he had an immense game, but he was being forced to play in the wrong areas. He seemed to be our defensive midfielder for most of the game which is certainly not where I would want him to be. Diaby needs to be shipped out, if Arsenal has to PAY to send that worthless sack of #!@$ somewhere else I would consider it money well spent. I have never seen someone so useless in the game. He was nominally supposed to be defensive cover. I never saw him do any serious running for defense. Nasri had to cover for his laziness as well as Eboue showing he had forgotten how to play in the midfield (can we please get him in one position so we stop confusing the poor lad) and Traore having the poor game that usually occurs when a player hasn’t been playing at all. If Diaby was removed from the field at least Arsenal would have known it was 10 v 11 and he wouldn’t have been counted on for anything, which, it must be said, is exactly what he added to the balance sheet, what he subtracted from it is tougher to quantify. Sell him, replace NotSoFab, and give this team a shot. Though that does bring another point, what was Campbell thinking on the goal? He let Samba push him right into Fab. No foul could be given since Samba didn’t touch Fab, he used the normally formidable Sol to do it for him.

  19. kyhp

    Why are all the blogs so negative?

    The players are obviously too depressed/spent from losing the title to give a shit about the rest of the season. But if we’re honest, every game after the tottenham match had little meaning.

  20. Sajit


    No way Buffon is coming to Arsenal. He is on 190k per week, wage demands of 4million per year.

    But he can go to Man City, which means we could get Hart – and thats ok I guess.

    A couple of French gks up for grabs too 🙂

Comments are closed.