Arsenal 2007/2008: they really should have scored

Just past the post

Toure heads the ball…just wide.

First of all… I’m going to have to rename my blog. I don’t think Arsenal have had a 7am kickoff all season! 4:15am? What the hell happened to the 3pm Saturday kickoffs? Of the three remaining scheduled home matches only the Everton match will kick off at 3pm.

I guess I’ll have to be called “sometimebetween4amand7amkickoff.wordpress.com” Which is a hell of a mouthful to tell people.

Anyway, another 1-1 draw and another disappointing league result for the Arsenal. Arsenal have surely lost the title now. I know Wenger isn’t going to say so. I know that it’s mathematically possible, but let’s be realistic. That match could have easily gone Liverpool’s way and if not for the shockingly poor shot by Vornin — would have. Poor defending and poor finishing and netting draws just doesn’t cut the mustard.

Both teams used heavy rotation and for Arsenal, Traore and Hoyte got a good run in the back, and Walcott and Bendtner got a good run up front. I was kind of surprised that Denilson didn’t start for Cesc, but that just shows the intent of both teams. Toward the end of the match Arsenal put Ade in and Liverpool put in Gerrard. Both teams wanted all three points. And both teams had plenty of opportunities to get them but they just couldn’t finish.

Bendtner is looking like a hell of a good acquisition for Liverpool.

In the last match he had that crucial save on Cesc’s shot, and other than the own goal (which really wasn’t his fault, if Reina had moved half an inch to his right it would have been a perfect pass) he was absolutely solid in defense again.

I was mad though that the ref didn’t call that his back pass to Reina in the 35th minute.

Now, I don’t know if you know this, but Arsenal have an Achilles heel of sorts; the long ball. Last year it was set plays and toward the end of the season teams took advantage of that and nearly knocked Arsenal out of the top 4. This year it’s the long ball. Hey, they solved the dead ball problem of last year maybe next year they’ll solve the Route 1 problem!

But not today! Today Pepe Reina played the ball to Crouch for a goal. Keeper to striker, ugh. What is this, a fucking training video called “how NOT to play defense 101?” And literally three days after Liverpool did the same thing to get that crucial away goal. Oh well…

But even with the lapse in defense, it’s pretty clear that Arsenal need someone with a hunger for goals. They need a goal poacher. Someone who can make the difference in a match. Someone to convert all these chances that they make. I’ll just say it: they have sorely needed Eduardo. I hadn’t thought about it much but Eduardo provided the squad with that extra little threat. Get well soon little buddy. We need you back in red and white.

I’m in a hell of a mood so I might as well start talking about what Wenger needs to buy in the off season: warning, this section should be taken with a grain of salt as Arsenal have just put in another, “typical Arsenal” performance and as a fan I’m just a bit frustrated.

Walcott, van Persie, Eduardo, and Adebayor are a hell of a strike team. Bendtner shows flashes of brilliance and maybe by this time next year he’ll be a solid player. van Persie is an absolutely stunning ball player. Any team in the world would love to have him, healthy. But he’s not healthy. He never has been. Maybe Wenger buys a striker to “cover” for van Persie but to bring in a player of van Persie’s caliber the team will have to spend big. Tough call.

On the other hand there’s an east call: the wing players are just fucking asinine. Three times now I have sworn off ragging on Eboue, but I just can’t stand him. He is a black hole (no pun intended) on the right wing. IF the ball gets to him, he invariably dribbles it or passes it straight into the defense. Or, like today, he’ll get wide open service and then he just locks up: won’t shoot, late cross, poor cross, but nothing good comes of it. Maybe he’ll be good one day. I’d really love to trust Wenger on this. But I just can’t. I hate the man as both a person and as a footballer. He is a dirty player. I used to think he was just retarded but I’m convinced that he’s a dirty player and a retard. The yellow he picked up today was fully deserved and I actually found myself asking for a red card. Not because he deserved it, but because I just can stand his whiny, fally-overy, begging, gormless, useless face.

On the other wing, Hleb. Hleb is not a wing player. Hleb will never be a wing player. Hleb’s only contribution to the team this season was playing in a 4-4-1-1 as the off striker. This experiment has run its course. Please sell him on to Bayer or somewhere he can ply his trade in the only position he is capable of playing: central.

That leaves Rosicky as the only true wing player on the team. Diaby may get some playing time there, but he’s not a winger.

So, at least three wing players. Where are they going to come from? I haven’t a clue. Fran Merida maybe? Again I don’t know. Wenger must see this and probably has a precocious 10 year old lined up somewhere.

And that’s it. I’m not ragging on the team. There is a ton of talent and they are a true joy to watch. But, please, for the love of Zeus, score some fucking goals. And to do that, Arsenal will have to make some changes next season. Or, I guess I can just enjoy the fact that they are a beautiful team that has some flaws who will always challenge and may one day win a trophy. Jesus. Humility from an Arsenal fan. Don’t tell anyone, they won’t believe you.

Anyway… sigh. To win the Champions League match on Tuesday, Arsenal will have to play 90 minutes like they did for the middle 45 minutes of today’s game. They will also have to score at least one goal. They should also practice route 1 defense. And they should all practice penalty kicks because I can easily see that match ending up 1-1.

Why not?

’till tomorrow.