There is this feeling of security in the knowledge that your umbrella has kept you safe from being drenched in the rain, yet, you cannot help but fear the weatherman’s tornado alert klaxon going off sooner than later, in which case, you would need to either get a tornado-proof umbrella or build yourself a sturdy comfy shelter. That is the story of Arsenal’s season so far. It’s been pretty, contained, but far from sweet and safe.
Between (and besides) the victory over City in the Charity Shield of August 10, the Gunners have being unbeaten in 7 games (dateing back to the FA Cup Final) but have not won any by more than one goal. Of the 4 victories, 3 have come from desperate losing positions, often requiring late rallies and having to hold out under intense and dire circumstances, synonymous with our annual transfer deadline day ritual of leaving it too late to get things done.
Everton, Leciester and City (in the league) have offered different levels of challenges and while we have learnt a thing or two about the character and potential of the team, there is no denying the need to provide answers to the plethora of issues which still require attention in this team – questions which if unanswered will leave fans with more of the same from previous seasons, so much promise, so much still missing.
Who’s in the team?
The BIG demand since the Christmas of 2013 from the fans to Arsene Wenger had been about signing a big-name striker to share (and possibly takeover) the goal-scoring burden with Olivier Giroud. Upon the Frenchman twisting his ankle, getting Danny Welbeck was a welcome quick-fix. Question marks still remain over some other roles in the team. Does Mikel Arteta possess the attribute to provide the much needed shield to our often flickering back four or is he to keep playing as part of Wenger’s loyalty package to him? How does Costa-Rica’s World Cup star Joel Campbell figure in the boss’ plans for the season? Has Podolski been switched to full-time clowning or is he the new intern for Arsenal Media Group to man the team’s twitter handle? If we are going to start winning games, we need to determine who’s in the team and who’s not. And when that’s done…
Where is Ozil’s place in the team?
You don’t buy a Ferrari and drive it like a Fiat, we owe that to the one and only Zlatan (who might have been a gunner but for…). As much we all look on lustfully over our windows towards the recent gyrations in and around Cobhams as our old boy seems to be doing better for Chelsea than he has ever done elsewhere, how can we forget that Mesut Ozil, in Mourinho’s words, is the best No 10 the whole wide world (may need to start chanting that in the stands)? NUMBER 10!! And why does the boss keep shifting him out wide. It is through the middle that he kept slipping Ronaldo through back then in Madrid, and with Sanchez wide and Welbeck ahead, will it not be wise to put the most perfect midfield square peg in his preferred square hole, that hole just behind the striker? Walcott will return soon, and that only means more runs for the three-time German Player of the Year to find. The moans about his defensive duties are overplayed as his gifts are more suited elsewhere. And speaking of defense…
Time to tweak the “Merterscielny”?
Arsenal have conceded from the first shot fired on target against them by the 4 teams played in the League this season, 4 of the 6 conceded being either set-pieces or floating balls. Our defending has been anything but convincing, and though it is still early days to make any judgments, it is worth noting from Liverpool’s example last season that scoring 100 goals is not enough to win the League if you are found leaky at the back. A miserly defence plays its part in closing games out when it matters, like against City.
It has not been easy having to stomach down the exploits of Diego Costa and Chelsea so far while we have flattered but ultimately stuttered. Wins win things, and unless we start stitching up a few, beginning with this weekend’s trip (through Dortmund) to Villa park, we might have to see the tears we shed laughing off United’s early struggles painfully furrow through our cheeks. We cannot afford to be comfortable with the successive draws.
The League is not won in September, but games won in September will matter an awful lot come May.
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