Third looking ever so likely, but there is room for improvement. by KM
When the New Year came around and Arsenal were 6th, you’d think that 3rd place is not too bad. But again you are left with the Arsenal feeling that we could’ve done better. We started the season badly, then we had our usual good spell and we are on course to finish third with a first point at Old Trafford for 6 years.
For all of the glorious battles we had with United, this was a game to forget. Our line up was predictable as was the whole game. I was disappointed but not surprised (knowing Wenger) to see the same squad for the 6th game in a row. I think we needed rotations and we have players to put on the pitch. Walcott, Rosicky and Wilshere were all candidates with at least the two Englishmen should’ve come in for Cazorla and Giroud.
We had a lot of misplaced passes and we had lots of trouble down the wings. I really don’t know how Ashley Young is such a nightmare for Arsenal, but Wenger never takes him into account and we are always exposed from the same thing. It’s shocking how much this game resembled our last five away games at Old Trafford but it is what it is.
We conceded from Herrera who was left alone by Monreal, who was trying to cover Fellaini having no chance of winning a header against him. This left an easily tricked Bellerin to chase an Ashley Young cross that found Herrera’s foot and the back of our net. This really reminded me of the Swansea goal from Monday, with our defense being similarly exposed.
After 50 minutes with no shot against their goal, United started to fade and we smelled we could actually do something. We created some scrappy chances and had a clear penalty against Giroud not given, but justice was restored when a deflected Walcott cross found Valdes beaten. This goal was added to our account – which will pretty much give us 3rd place.
We had another pretty slow start against a top team, but luckily for us this United side really is the worst I’ve seen for years. If Arsenal have the ambition to challenge Chelsea, you really need to take a harsh look at the squad and question your self whether all the players in our squad are champions material.
Giroud should’ve scored at least one of the chances, though they weren’t easy I’d back Aguero to bang one of them in. In goal we need someone who would make a save like Joe Hart made against Swansea. Such saves keep you in the game and don’t force you to make mistakes. United won the league with pretty average sides that had a magnificent keeper. When you’re a top club you need a keeper that would save the one chance the opposition will have, like the Swansea game for example and we just don’t have that man in our squad.
Coquelin desperately needs another defensive midfielder to give him help and cover him. Cazorla for me is another one that could go this summer. He is a good player I really like him, but he slows us down. Ozil, Cazorla, Ramsey and Wilshere mean we have too much time on the ball and not enough speed. He’s the wrong end of 30 and playing alongside a DM is not his best position.
The two full backs were really poor on United’s goal but I don’t think we need change of personnel there. Mertesacker is another one that I feel might need to be replaced soon. An overhaul is needed for sure if we want to be champions, but even with this squad we could’ve done more work on tactics and preventing silly mistakes which cost us a lot of points.
The main change has to be the manager, but this one will not happen. I cannot name anything i can feel more certain about than the fact that Arsene will be here next season again. And the same old mentality and squad issues will come too. We’ll be in the market but will we solve all the issues? Will we bring a world class center forward? Will we add another DM? A good goalkeeper? Will we resolve the defensive issues? I don’t think so.
In England people always treat time like an endless resource. A lot of people think David Moyes should’ve been given time. Truth is the top clubs change the manager the moment their club doesn’t go in the right direction. Barcelona change managers all the time and they are always in the top 2 of Spain. People in England admire Wenger for 18 seasons in the top 4.
If you want the ship to be steered in the right direction you have to change the captain. I’d like to see targets such as a Top Two finish, a semi-final in the CL, and a trophy for next year. Put the heat on the man. If he cannot do it, we bring in someone who can. Klopp and Ancelotti will be available most likely.
Real have sacked every manager who failed to bring in a single trophy in a season for more than 30 years in a row. Ambition is the word. Success is all that matters in the top clubs, not how much profit we make, or how self-sustained we are. Success makes the kid next door wear the jersey of a Champion.
Arsenal need a change of direction.