In life you have to endure some difficult moments, it’s just part and parcel of life itself. In footballing terms though however Arsenal fans have been suffering more than usual it seems. Season after season Arsene Wenger talks about how his Arsenal side will be more competitive in the’ big games’ , unfortunately though the game against Chelsea however shows that Arsenal still might have that ‘mental block’ of beating one 0f the ‘big guns’.
It’s a never ending cycle it seems Arsenal’s failure to beat one of the so called big teams and the last match against Chelsea was further evidence that this depressing sequence of not beating the bigger teams could well continue. It begs the question why is this continually happening to the Gunners? (failure to beat the big teams) The most obvious point is Arsenal’s defence, although Koscielny and Metersacker have been impressive against the so called ‘big guns’ both have been left exposed.
Which nicely leads on to my next point, which doesn’t take rocket science to work out that the holding midfield position is a problem where Arsenal are weak. Over the years the North London club could call on the likes of Patrick Viera or Gilberto Silva- but sadly those days are long gone.
Arsenal are getting are out thought and out fought in the middle of the park, as technically gifted as Arsenal and in particular their central midfielders are , crucially I feel they are getting ‘bullied out of games’. The invincible’s team of 2004 was a team which all teams aspired to be like, Arsenal had big and strong players like Sol Campbell and Viera for example, the opposing teams knew they were in for a physical battle before they even walked on to the pitch.
That team of 2004 had the midfield general that was Patrick Viera, Arsenal’s defenders would have felt reassured with a player of that stare sat in front of them. Unfortunately this Arsenal team doesn’t have a player of that ilk, Arsene Wenger does have a very talented midfield- but none of those midfielders seem comfortable in the holding midfield position, it appears that they are in that position because someone has to be in that position.
Matthieu Flamini has played in the holding midfield position the most – but has looked especially uncomfortable against the big teams. The other problem Arsenal have is their tactics- they’re just far to cavalier in their approach, that shouldn’t be a bad thing- but it is, let me explain. With out sounding to much like Alan Hansen, Arsenal’s full backs lacked discipline in the Chelsea game and time and time again The Gunners’ back line was horribly exposed with a ball over the top in that exposed channel .
Don’t worry Arsenal’s fans my assessment isn’t all doom and gloom, the Gunners can be optimistic for the future. Last years FA Cup win shows that this Arsenal team is starting to get mentally stronger, plucky wins against Wigan and Hull are example of that. I know what you’re think (they’re ‘small teams’) but never the less Arsenal showed great spirit and determination to win a trophy after 9 years.
I am also a believer that most teams know how to play Arsenal, and have a set system to counter act the Gunners’ acting mentality. For Arsenal to be a competitive side in the tittle race I feel they need to win the games that they’re not expected or at least get something from those games. The game against Everton was a good example of the point that I am trying to make, Arsenal seemed down and out- but 2 quick goals helped Arsenal get a 2-2 draw which many didn’t think was possible after being 2-0 down with 10 mins to go.
Arsenal are close to being able to beat the so called big guns more often, a defensive midfielder like Sami Khadiera is needed, the Real Madrid player is a bit injury prone-but so is Abu Diaby I guess, with Khadiera you have a midfielder in the Patrick Viera kind of mould. To add a bit of variety I think a player in the mould of Cesc Fabregas is needed, the Spaniard is a player who knows who to look after possession, a bit of a strange one by Arsenal not to sign their former player.
A commanding centre half will also be needed to compete with opposing strikers such as Diego Costa, Mats Hummels would be good. In summary Arsenal need a few improvements to their side mainly in the centre of midfiled by signing a player like Sami Khadiera or even Adel Rabiot of PSG (who I have heard a lot of good things about) and a centre half in the Hummels kind of mould. This Arsenal team has been well assembled and to be fair to Arsene Wenger he has brought in world class talent.
Football is a funny old game, I think Arsenal will do well this season and if they do win a trophy or 2, all this talk of beating the big guns will go away. To quote a cliche ” you can only beat what’s in front of you” . In Arsenal’s case they need top beat what’s in front of them, and when they do that I feel Arsenal just might go back to being that team of 2004.