Way down in the hole

Morning all,

I’m back in the modern world. I must admit there was something quite comforting about the inability to get a Wi-Fi connection for two days, thus making any submersion into the post Liverpool defeat cyber-void delirium impossible. The fact I was busy drinking more Vodka than is required to blind a rhinoceros also helped ease the pain & disappointment of the news from London.

To be honest with you I’ve not seen the second half of the game, I left home on Friday without setting up to record it & as yet I’ve seen no highlights – although from what I’ve read & been told, from an Arsenal perspective there aren’t any.

So you’ll find no prolonged post match enquiry here today but unfortunately that doesn’t mean there is any good news to discuss really. In fact I’m treating you to another deliberation of squad strength & how & why we’re in a sorry state squad-wise & what if anything is likely to be done about it.

There was an interesting article from Arsenal Times being linked to & talked about by many a Gooner yesterday. I’m not sure the content was necessary ground breaking, there is clearly an impasse at management/board level somewhere which needs to be bridged in order to strengthen our seemingly ever diminishing squad but it was interesting to look at how factions inside the club are supposedly attempting to impose differing routes towards reinforcing the squad.

On the one side you have Wenger who says he wants players who will ‘improve’ the playing staff not just add to it. On the other we seem to have the board who just want to see strengthening achieved by the addition of players, in order to placate fans & detractors, yet not necessarily by shelling out wages that would be required to attract players of a certain calibre.

I don’t know how much truth is in that, Wenger is not & never has been interested in paying big wages – I can’t see how he would be pushing to pay the astronomical sums that the Manchester clubs & Chelsea do.

I'll get you next time He-Man...

A player like Sebastien Squillaci, signed a few days prior to the close of last summers transfer window, fully encapsulates the type of player who can be added in an effort to bolster numbers but is far and away from being an improvement to the ranks.

Frustrated Centre Half?

We had no idea at the time of the Frenchman’s signing that Tommy Vermaelan would miss pretty much the whole season, but we did know that Johan Djourou was just returning after missing the previous campaign & Laurent Koscielny had only played one season of top level French football. We also knew that Sol Campbell had decided to join Newcastle after the Indian summer he had enjoyed at the end of the previous season & that former captain turned pantomime villain William Gallas had switched to the dark side. So the signing of a quality centre half was imperative, we got the man who looks like Skeletor and one year on even young Spaniard Ignasi Miquel seems to be ahead of him in the pecking order whilst our centre half options are depleted by injuries.

My question is – Why was Skellaci signed? We’ve known for about three seasons that our backline options needed reinforcing. You know that I’m a fan of the Vermaelen – Koscielny partnership but we can’t rely on that lasting an entire season on all fronts. I’ve got a lot of time for Djourou too & I’m sure that the time will come when Miquel will truly bolster the ranks as oppossed to being on the fringes of them and being thrown in at the deep end, but we’re already in a position where skull face could be playing regularly again. Was it cheap labour and a token signing?

We’ve played three games this season and in the two most recent of those our backline has resembled a carousel, players switching from one position to another, players playing out of position,players withdrawing with injuries & others coming in unexpectedly. It’s like groundhog day.

I’m not at all suggesting that Centre half is the only position we need to strenghten but it really highlights our inability to address the issues we have.

Szczesny is a quality keeper & at this rate will become world class but look how long it took us to get a player of his quality between the sticks and even that was by default. Manuel Almunia is still an Arsenal player and you’ve got to think that it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that he’ll play for us again at this rate

RVP will not last a whole season so we can’t be reliant on his goals, but who have we been reliant on for those stats that really count since we lost Henry? Who has bolstered our frontline, Chamakh, Vela? More times than not Nicklas Bendtner and all he has got for his efforts is criticism & abuse.

Wenger is right when he says that the new players that have come in this summer will come good, but who has time on their hands right now? We can’t keep heaping expectation on youth & then criticise it when it lets us down despite giving it a bloody good go.

The problems we are facing now are not new problems, the supposed differing views of Wenger & the board can not be a recent issue if they exist and if they do then one of the two parties has got to move. We’re staring down the barrel of a gun this next week or so…

We could find ourselves out of the Champions League if we don’t get past the obstacle that is Udinese on Wednesday night.

We could find ourselves with one meagre Premier League point from three games when we face reigning champions Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday.

We could potentially find ourselves with the same depleted squad we have right now come the close of the transfer window & if our current spate of injuries & suspensions continues throughout the season we could find ourselves in serious trouble.

I am not attempting to be dramatic here, if the above is not addressed than I honestly fear for our side this season and also the implication it could have on Wenger’s future.

Like I said these issues have been creeping up on us for a few years now, they haven’t just appeared out of nowhere & taken us by surprise. If everyone is fit & available then yes we still have a squad of players that would be the envy of many teams but the chances of everyone being & staying fit & available throughout the season are marginal. This squad needs refreshing and replenishing and that needs Wenger & the board to come to a compromise if this rift & differing point of view exist.

There are many rumours circulating today about supposed mass bids we’re making but we all know how far rumours have so far gotten us this summer.

It’s all reminding me of The Wire right now – Ivan & Stan are up in City hall attempting to keep the voters sweet with promises of new dawns and reinvestment into failing sytems whilst Wenger is the police chief having to take every kick in the balls on the halls behalf whilst still attempting to get the best out of depleated & deflated troops. PHW is the old campaigner stiring every pot via his line to the press, keeping various irons in various fires waiting to see which will produce the end product whilst all keeping him in the life he has become accustomed to.

The brighter news is that Jack could be back for Wednesday night, we could certainly do with him in midfield right now but considering he has yet to play any competitive football this season we can’t be putting all our hopes on his shoulders.

It’s been such a long time since things Arsenal related have been so worrying & so bleak that I probably didn’t fully appreciate their significance last time around, the naivety of youth can often be a great device for burying your head in the sand.

President of the 'I hate Wenger' club

Oh great! News is just coming through that UEFA have handed Wenger a two game ban & fined him 10,000 euros after deciding that he broke the rules of his previous ban last week during the first leg of the Champions League qualifier.

I’m going back to Ludlow!

Paul.

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