So far this football season, the Gunners have shown marginal improvements when compared to last year. Marginal because they recently failed their key Chelsea, test although they put in a better effort. The Champions league has been relatively easier for them but crucial tests lie ahead.
The measuring gold standard remains Barcelona with Inter, Chelsea, and in time, Real Madrid not far behind. Both Manchester United and AC Milan are yesterday's news for various reasons both new and old.
As things stand, Arsenal's nemesis remains being undisciplined defensively at set pieces, crosses, and having a pair of psychologically challenged keepers. Even in the games they won, there were moments when a solidly average team would have beaten them. In their last home game against Birmingham City, the last five minutes was agonizing for the fans to watch as Arsenal became erratic in their defending and prayed for the final whistle.
A brilliant development, however, has been the Jack Wilshere revelation. He combines the positional sense of Paul Scholes with the graceful athleticism of Ryan Giggs. Certainly, there is more to come from him in the future but his tackling has to improve as the team cannot afford anymore red cards going forward.
With this, effectively, being Cesc Fabregas's last season, in both Aaron Ramsey and Jack the Reds have their captain's position and influence covered with conviction. Cesc has, to his credit, been very cool and professional about his bitter disappointment of not finishing up at Barca this past summer. Hopefully, this will prove to be a season to remember should injuries spare him its misery.
It is my humble view that Arsene Wenger should, for once, splash out on a keeper like the Dutch national goalie, Maarten Stekelenburg for starters. The present options are rather too green for my taste.
The occasional blunder is understandable but having a string of them is enough to upset a saint or any neutral fan. January is not far away and this surgery must be carried out soon to avoid another season of what might have been in May.
A further operation is needed defensively. Hiring a defensive coach in the mold of George Graham to specifically drill the defenders in art and discipline of defending would be great. The current one has a lot to learn by the looks of things.
Areas such as positional vision, link play and line holding must be engraved into the defenders. Currently those points have remained alien concepts to the boys in the back. Granted a new back line has just taken over but elementary mistakes cannot continue at this level.
Arsenal football club remains a great promise at the present. With a few tweaking here and there, that promise would become achievements to behold and cherish by their starved fans.
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