Another tough weekend for Arsenal and Gooners alike. Defeat to Blackburn was not what the doctor ordered especially given our fragile start to our season. Defensive frailties again coming to the fore but that’s not the only concern. Leadership or the lack of it was evident as we let slip the game having taken the lead.
Today saw several papers going with “players are still very much behind Arsene Wenger but wants to see defensive help being brought in”. Now, there’s no quote attributed here with almost every article stating that the quote came from senior section of the squad. I’m not saying it cannot be true without it.
There’s always the chance that perhaps the player did say it but wants to remain anonymous. I’m not how the management would react to such statement being given to a public channel. In any case, without a specific name(s) being mentioned, it would also be easier for the club to handle it. Whether any of that is true or not, it hardly matters. On the evidence of our matches this season, help is definitely needed in that area of the pitch.
Having a new man come in and give advise, will not only alleviate the shorn in confidence but would also improve on the system. Robin Van Persie is right in saying that there’s still time this season to get back on track. Like when a new signing is brought into the team or when a team changes a new manager, suddenly there’s something extra to push for. Whether it’s the desire to prove themselves or just the excited feeling of having someone new around.
Martin Keown’s name was the first to be thrown into the hat. Not surprising that the former Arsenal’s centreback was the first name touted. More because of his connection with the club and also the fact that he took his coaching license with the education at London Colney. If this appointment turns out to be real, I would certainly be one of the first few to rejoice. Keown has the experience and nous, plus he will certainly gain the respect of the squad.
Perhaps it may turn out to be someone else. But there’s no denying we need someone there. Someone who has been there and done it before. Yes, we have one in Pat Rice but can it be argued that Rice could do with some help? Someone who’s more experienced of achieving it all in the not so distant past? Who’s to say the combination of two defensive stalwarts from different eras would not come up with a defensive masterpiece? The defenders/midfielders we have are not bad individually, we just need to mould them into an efficient working unit.
That said, there’s really no point in putting them in the match against Shrewsbury tomorrow. There’s pretty much nothing which can learn or improved by winning or scoring in that game. Yes, it might break some of the barren run of goals or assists that some players may be facing. But let’s not kid ourself, how many of these player would actually draw confidence from scoring against a lower league opposition. No disrespect to the opponent tomorrow, but Arsenal do have bigger fish to fry.
I would certainly go with what Wenger usually puts out in the Carling Cup competition, last season’s semifinal and final apart. A mixture of the first teamers who are first choice the weekend before and also some of the youngsters. These will be the players who are backup to the current eleven. Players whom we need to count upon when the first choice ones are injured or woefully out of form.
A good performance will not only do them a world of wonders but it would also start to exert some pressure on the first team. We don’t need players who rest on their laurels just because they feel that they are guaranteed a spot in the starting line-up. We don’t need players who thinks that they are untouchable. What we need are competition for places. As soon as the first teamers see what’s behind them, they will work doubly hard to ensure that their places are kept.
I’m sure most of you would agree, sometimes we just needed to be push to be better.