Saturday, August 14, 2010

Gunners Await Another Year of Mediocrity in 2011

The moment is finally here. Despite the poor World Cup witnessed, most fans have waited for this moment in particular – 2010/2011 season!

As glad as I am with the start of the new season, this is the most pessimistic I have been for years about the current squad at our disposal. In terms of attacking talent, there are very few teams that are blessed with talent going forward as we currently posses in our squad. The addition of Chamakh will no doubt give us depth and a varied attacking option up front.

And after a poor season in 2009/2010, Samir Nasri is looking more mature and hungry to prove himself after being left out of France’s disastrous World Cup campaign (a blessing in disguise I’d say). Andrey Arshavin could not have asked for a better fixture to kick off the season and most Arsenal fans are sweating on the fitness of van Persie even before a ball has been kicked.

Our cause for concern is our defence. Arsenal lack depth at the back and the acquisition of Koscielny is not going to be enough to compete. It is highly unlikely that Koscielny will produce the same quality as the Verminator did last season. He has played in the French second division for some time and has not spent long in Lorient – who are not the most attractive of contenders in the French league. It will take Koscielny time to adjust to the premier league and it seems the only other defender we have is Djorou.

The goalkeeping issue has been a major problem since Jens Lehmann left. Almunia and Fabianski have easily cost us enough points last season to hinder our challenge for the title and it is about time Wenger realised that neither are anywhere near good enough. He has insisted for a long time about how good Fabianski is in training. However, it means nothing to pull off world class saves when it doesn’t matter if you cannot repeat this on match days. His goalkeeping has been nothing short of abysmal in pre season and let’s not forget the poor display he put in Anfield when Andrey rescued us the unforgettable 4-4 draw. As an Arsenal fan, the summer has been most frustrating as the first issue that needed dealing with was the Goalkeeping position and on the eve of the opening game against Liverpool, most fans are unsure as to who is going to start between the posts.

Arsenal have been linked with Schwarzer and one of the Manchester City keepers. It is a sad time when fans get excited over signing Schwarzer who isn’t the greatest of keepers. He is however a lot better than Almunia and Fabianski combined.
Those of you cursing the screen to see one of Joe Hart or Shay Given in an Arsenal shirt can save your breath. Man City will never sell to a rival club and it is understandable too considering the millions they spent for success.

Finally, we come to the issue of the captain. Cesc has more or less made it clear where he wants to be. A lot depends now on how the players around him react to what happened over the summer. It leaves a sour taste in the dressing room to know that your captain is packing his bags for next summer and this may impact on players minds. Whether they respond positively or negatively is one that only time will tell. We do however have very few players that play for the passion of the club. Players like Denilson, Diaby, Almunia, Nasri and co do not know what a London Derbies mean to the fans and so they are vulnerable to any negative issues surrounding the club. They lack fighting spirit and passion and all await the "magic phonecall" from the Nou Camp on which of our players have new DNA discovered so Barcelona can claim a divine right to the player.
To finish off, my prediction for the coming season (assuming we don’t sign any more players and go with this current squad is as follows:

1. Manchester United
2. Chelsea
3. Arsenal
4. Manchester City
5. Liverpool
18. West Brom
19. Wolves
20. Blackpool

It's a pessimistic view ahead of our campaign, but as always, Keep the faith.

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