Sunday, 19 February 2012

Drastic improvement needed. Thoughts on Milan and Sunderland.

People tended to mock me in previous seasons for complaining about poor refereeing, but I moaned because I felt the decisions had a decisive impact.

It's one of the reasons the 'seven seasons without a trophy' line doesn't bother me. Go back to the 2008 season: with some better decisions we could easily have won the League and the Champions League. C'est la vie.

Although we won nothing, until Cesc left, it was enjoyable watching Arsenal - there were some great moments and they played beautiful football. They dominated games, and the problem (if there was one) was mental, rather than technical.

Now, I can't moan about poor refereeing. For what it's worth, I thought we were denied a clear penalty yesterday - but when you create so little, it's difficult to moan. If Webb had pointed to the spot, I'm still unconvinced we would have won the game.

Year-on-year, it's very hard to know what to think. Last season's boo boys were Almunia, Squillaci, Denilson, Eboue and Bendtner - and with the exception of the Frenchman, none have worn the red shirt this season. And yet, we're now a lot, lot worse. A team which was challenging for the League and could without a ridiculous red card have beaten Barca over two legs is now a shadow of its former self and you've got to ask why? At least some of the blame has to go on the manager.

Yes, the previous week he had made good changes at the Stadium of Light, but yesterday his substitutions made no sense and who was really surprised to see Theo flop up top?

When Cesc left we started playing the ball wide a lot more in our attacking play - which is fine providing full-backs offer an overlap. When your winger gets doubled up on every time, it gets a little repetitive and very pointless. At least when Arshavin plays he can beat those men - I've seen nothing to suggest Theo or Gervinho can.

Ultimately, the lack of full-backs bombing forward is Arsene's fault - he should be telling them to do so.

It's a symptom of a wider malaise where the players aren't performing as they can. I love Arsene Wenger and I would love him to lead us to fourth place. But with the way the team has been performing for the last three months, we need to see a drastic improvement. I really hope he can achieve this - next week's North London Derby now has unparalleled importance.

Keep the faith.

No comments: