Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Szczesny reveals team meeting -Henry's apology -Squillaci off? -Wilshere return pencilled in

Morning Gooners.

I think the last two league results have left me at a loss as to what is wrong with this Arsenal team. There is something which is fundamentally flawed when we play away from home. I know that in the past two games there have been individual errors which have cost us, but the team's overall composure in away matches doesn't match what I witness at the Grove.

Perhaps one of the reasons is that the manager has tried to muddle through without any recognised full backs for too long. At home they might not be over exposed like they are on the road. But I think it is telling that we've got ourselves in positions to win games, especially at Fulham and Swansea, and not been able to see the game out.

It's also been clear we need to be more clinical in front of goal. We're hardly a one-man team - but we do rely on Robin van Persie far too much. Where in previous seasons the goals would be shared around, this term especially we've seen the Dutchman get on the score sheet 18 times in league - just under half of the 38 goals we've scored in the league.

We've hardly seen any goals from midfield and I'd like Walcott, Ramsey, Arshavin and Gervinho to get on the scoresheet as well.

The players cannot come up with an idea as to why we've not performed as well on the road this season as we did last term.

Speaking after the Swansea game Wojciech Szczesny said:
"I have no idea why we can't win away from home. The results speak for themselves and we have been really poor away this season. I really can't explain it. 
"We go everywhere and try to do our best but the results don't go our way. We have talked about it and cannot come up with an answer. We need to sort it out."
The manager surely has an idea of how to get his team back on track.

He said:

"That’s now twice — at Swansea and at Fulham — where we have given the game away. At our level that is frustrating and not good enough. It is down to a lack of composure and the right decision-making. 
"It is alarming because at Fulham we were 1-0 up and we lost the game. [Against Swansea] We came back to 2-2 and straightaway we gave the third goal away. It is really a concern."

He's got to hope that with the expected return of Thomas Vermaelen for Sunday's important game with Manchester United that our defence will be strengthen by his return. Could we also see Bacary Sanga return? That would be a huge boost. I wonder if this weekend might be too soon for the Frenchman who has been training hard for a couple of weeks.

It's clear that Wenger isn't going to make a loan signings to cover the full back positions so if we don't have either Vermaelen or Sagna back we'll have to muddle through until they do return. It's more than likely that we'll see a defender leave, with Sebastien Squillaci wanted by his old club Monaco. I think there is no way we'll sign Christopher Samba either, he's just not we need at the moment.

Thierry Henry has issued an apology for the way he spoke to a fan after the game on Sunday. Fair play to him.

Elsewhere, Theo Walcott talks to Match of the Day magazine about not wanting to finish below Spurs this season. And Robin van Persie has revealed that the club have invited Shaqueel to train in their youth set-up.

And finally, Jack Wilshere is hoping to be back in action before we play AC Milan next month. The Daily Mail report he's hoping the Blackburn game in early February will be when he can make a return to first team action.

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