The next couple of games, starting from today, are very important for Arsenal as it will determine where our season will head. The way we present ourselves in these games will show us whether we are capable of putting aside our mistakes and grind out results in our favour.
The Albion game has raised many doubts. The problems that we face need to be addressed to right now or else it will be too late to salvage anything from this season. Our team needs to prove that it can come up good even if the tide is not on their side. I believe they are capable of it and can do it, though some tweaking is required in certain areas.
First of all the word ‘complacent’ has to be removed from the team’s dictionary. The team can never be complacent in any circumstance. The match is not won till the time the final whistle blows with us ahead on goals scored. It can never be won on paper and no matter how good we are it cannot be determined till we beat the opponents.
The players should know what the game plan is and what their job is. They need to do that job effectively. No one is perfect, but if we stick to our game plan then the results will come our way.
In our style of play, possession is the key and it should never be given away unnecessarily. Along with that, pressing is to be done effectively. The problem we have is that the possession is there but we give it away in such a position that the counter attack becomes imminent. And as a result we always concede on the counter with the defence caught out exposed and rest of the players out of position. Possession should never be given away and even if somehow we lose it, our pressing should be good enough to give no space to the opposition.
Also we need to make the possession count. We have seen many times that we pass, pass, pass, and pass and then lose the ball. We need to stop this practice. We should pass but the passing should be quick, crisp and effective. We should take a shot on goal whenever an opening arises. For that the ball needs to be put into the danger area more often.
Since acquiring Chamakh, we have the second option of scoring goals i.e. through the aerial route. The fault is that we don’t know how to cross correctly. We need to correct our way of crossing or we won’t be able to utilize Chamakh’s ability.
We need to learn to defend as a team. Our defenders need to be supported by our midfielders and forwards properly. The fault is that we leave too many open spaces and our team is always ball watching whenever the defence comes under attack. We must keep it tight and give less space to the opponents.
The problem of goal keeping is the most essential that needs to be solved which unfortunately cannot be solved till the January transfer window; even then it’s not sure that we will buy a keeper. We can bring in Szczesny to keep but he has not performed on the big stage and it will be big a gamble. Otherwise we have to stick with Almunia. Szczesny should be keeping in the cup ties and Mannone should be the second choice keeper. Fabianski should be loaned out so that his performance improves by playing regularly.
Coming to individuals, Clichy has had enough chances to improve his game. I love his commitment and he is good going forward but his main task is protecting our flanks in defence. And this season he has failed miserably in that. He needs to be dropped and Gibbs should be given his place.
Song needs to be told that he is a defensive midfielder and not a playmaker. His job is to shield the defenders, not to surge forward and expose our backline. This season we still have not seen the best of him.
Diaby is a great player, but he needs to know that for our style to be effective, he needs to be quick in his passing and movement.
Arshavin is a game winner, but this season we have not seen the best of him. The problem is that he does not seem to be involved in the game for the whole 90 minutes. He doesn’t back track often and as a result his flank can be exploited by the opponents. He needs to be a leader on the field and show more emotions so that the players around him can lift their game.
It’s now time that the players who don’t perform well need to be dropped so that they improve their game and be selected again. Otherwise they will continue with this and never improve. It’s right that we have plenty of players out injured and we are playing the best options, still the players who give lackluster performance should be dropped from the team as a punishment.
These are some of the things that are to be addressed and eradicated. We have a Champions League match away at Partizan Belgrade in less than 7 hours. I hope we don’t repeat the mistakes we made against West Brom or it’s going to be another difficult night.