Here’s another post from Anders Marshall who thinks that it is in the players minds that Arsenal lose to others, not quality on the pitch.
Stale State of Mind: What should change at Arsenal FC?
By Anders Marshall
We’ve seen it time and time again. Arsenal are playing against a team that should be well beaten. They’re tied and it’s nearing the hour mark. Wenger throws on one or two substitutes that make no sense to the fans. The game ends in a draw or loss. Arsenal look predictable and out of ideas. What went wrong? Many factors come to mind. Tactics, mentality, talent. The list goes on and on, but no one knows the definitive answer. Why are the Gunners consistently coming up short in the dying embers of the season? Here are my top reasons as to why the Gunners are outpaced, outmatched and left stumbling when it really counts.
When is comes to tactics, Wenger has lost his edge, Whether he doesn’t know what he’s doing, or the players don’t, something is clearly wrong here. We’ve all heard it time and time again that Arsenal have no Plan B. It’s been quite obvious in games like vs. Blackburn and Liverpool. When a team puts 8 men behind the ball we look feeble and lost, especially when Fabregas is off form. We no longer possess that sharp edge that Bergkamp and Henry did. They would drop back, create chances, and finish them well. The formation suited the Invincibles very well and worked throughout the entire season. What we are missing now is that lethality and menace to our play. We don’t have a Drogba, Rooney, Tevez, Ronaldo or Messi to spearhead our attack and make attacking runs on goal. Nasri showed glimpses of this kind of play when he was used in a central midfield role. However now, we really need to change tactics. When Arsenal are in need of a change, it usually comes at the 60th minute, with the likes of Arshavin, Chamakh and sometimes Bendtner or Ramsey. Notice that none of these players have the reputation for being super attacking, efficient players? Now that’s not all that’s needed to fix our problems, but it would be better if we had someone with flair who isn’t afraid to run at a player and have a shot. We see glimpses of this with players like Arshavin (West Brom) and Wilshere, but there is no consistent attacking threat. I know many people will say that Van Persie is a great forward and doesn’t need any help up front. This is true with a defensively weak team live Blackpool, but not so with the likes of Liverpool or MANU. In both games, Liverpool more so there was a lot of focus on defense, closing down opportunities and counter attacking. When Arsenal are faced with tight defense, they looked squeezed and lose their creativity. This is where we and some of the best teams in the world differ. We need more attacking options, other than Cesc Fabregas feeding passes and Van Persie sidefooting it home. Look at teams like Bayern Munich. Robben, Ribery, Klose are all constant goal threats. Our front line is talented, no doubt, but comes desperately short on goals at times.
Arsene! At least let other fans watch the match
Let me paint an all too familiar picture for you. It’s the 70th minute, Arsenal are tied or are losing to an inferior team who they should have scored against ages ago. The game should be in the bag, it’s not. We’re struggling to create chances, and when they do come, we completely chuff them. The fans become quite and restless, lusting for the goal to put us in front. One last chance. Missed. Fans start filing out, knowing the game is over. Here’s what causes this. People have called the squad little kids, having no leadership or character. I don’t believe this to be true. If you read our blog’s last post, then you know about shub’s comparison of the Emirates to be our very own Shawshank. I find this statement to be 100% correct. I mean, when was the last time you saw the Emirates completely filled with crazy, rowdy, excited fans? I haven’t since the years of the Invincibles. Many times our Achilles heel is the most important thing to other teams, namely ManU and especially legacy teams like Shalke04: Support. I know it seems all too simple and can’t possibly help, but teams can be directly affected by the mood of the crowd. When we’re playing away, we have no one to please, just someone to prove wrong. Our team has proved they have the stones to go out in front of a hostile crowd and crouch their opposition. Away, we are warriors striving for glory. At home, we’re a bunch of nervous kids looking to please their over critical family members. Fans need to step up and create the sorely missed 12th man. Get behind the team, and we may start seeing more positive play. The second problem is the most common among fans and pundits alike. We have no go to leader like in the days of Tony Adams, Martin Keown and Patrick Vieira. No tough as nails player to grab the game by the scruff of the neck and carry on, getting down to business. When things aren’t going our way, the squad look sorry for themselves, and play just about how they feel. When the going gets tough, we shy away, unable to pull out a scabby result “Manure” has been so famous for. What we need is not a 6 foot 7 beast, nor any more talented players, but a never say die, a tough man who can get things done and grind it out until the game ends. Wenger can call upon players within the squad to step up to the challenge, with Jack Wilshere being somewhat of a steely player. Proper mentality can’t be fixed by throwing money in the pot, rather by proper management and commitment.
Inflexibility and Wenger’s Reluctance To Change
See Wenger! That's how flexible you should be
In the past few weeks, many unfaithful fans have been calling for the Frenchman’s head. I don’t see a justifiable reason, let alone replacement at the moment. Sure, we’ve folded like a cheap suit when it really counted, but surely just because we haven’t won anything in a while doesn’t mean one the world’s most elite and intelligent managers should be shown the door, especially what he’s done for us with so little. Not many people realize it, but Arsene Wenger is a miracle worker considering the shoestring budget he’s had to make do with over the years. Shoestring budget’s, astronomical expectations, and major squad changes have proved to be too much for our manager. All I can do is applaud him. He formed one of the best squads in the history of football with less money than the cost of Fernando Torres. He built one of London’s most impressive and breathtaking stadiums all while balancing the books and signing world class talent for practically nothing. Here’s his problem. Wenger is the most stubborn people I have ever come across in professional sport. He likes his way, and his only. Nothing else will do. His youth policy is the only policy. Don’t be fooled by all the other staff at the club. Arsene Wenger runs Arsenal, no one else. While it’s great to have a manager who takes such pride in his homegrown approach, he has to know that too much of anything is bad for you in the end. People are calling for big names signings and more experience added to the line up for both depth and competition. I believe right now that we are lacking both. Say Nasri is out injured like he was before the first leg clash with Barcelona. We have the inconsistent Abou Daby, returning Aaron Ramsey who is not completely back to his best, and the always awful Denilson. How is this truly adequate cover? Not only are these players inconsistent, they never have truly showed the quality required to play for one of the best teams in the world, bar Ramsey pre-Shawcross. What we need is a clear out, especially in the midfield. With plenty of youngsters such as Frimpong coming through the ranks, selling the dead wood would free up wage and transfer money. Arsene must know when to cut his losses and call it quits, using his players as an example. Other things like his negative attitude has to be removed from his game, but that is a more personal level and can only be remedied by the boss himself.
All in all, fans, staff and players alike all know that there are changes that need to made next season. With these problems fixed, Arsenal could once again come to glory after six disappointing seasons with nothing to show for.