Monday, 22 October 2012

Arteta makes a shocking admission -Wenger rages at defeat -Two attackers needed

Morning Gooners.

Two wins from our next two league games was what I was hoping for prior to Saturday's match with Norwich. Both would be tough games - there isn't an easy one in the Premier League. And with this group of players I'd thought we'd turned the corner from being expectant of a win.

I thought we had learnt our lessons from the past. Shipped out the players who thought when the team walked out on to the pitch it would beat any team in front of it no matter how big or small or the form they were in.

Alex Song - in my opinion typified that type of player. Someone who believed he didn't have to put in a shift for the so called easy games and could coast through games. He's now gone and with it I thought the attitude he had about smaller clubs in the league.

Last season I thought we were much stronger against the teams who eventually finished below us and that was down to the new spirit we had in the dressing room created by Arsene Wenger buying more experienced and battle hardened players. However from Saturday's defeat I'm not so sure any more.

I think one of the stand out quotes after the game, comes from Mikel Arteta to the official site:
"We’re really down because we expected to win the game. They raised their game, they made it very difficult for us."
First of all, fair play for Arteta for sticking his head above the parapet. All of our other players weren't brave enough to speak to the media after the game. But I have to question why there was a belief in the dressing room - or more specially with the vice-captain - that we expected to win the game.

As fans/supporters we can have a different frame of mind to the players. We expect to win every game for the most part. But as professionals, I don't think our players should share that same belief. And they should know by now that there is - as the old cliche goes - no easy game in the league.

I don't want to be too reactionary. We are bound to lose games this season. This could have just been an off day and we all get that. But to lose to a team who hasn't won all season is pretty rough.

We sit ninth in the table after eight games, ten points behind league leaders Chelsea.  I don't believe our chances of winning the title are over - there is still a long way to go. Arsene Wenger wanted to judge where we were after ten games. At this point in time, we're not close enough to where we want to be.

And the manager has admitted it's worrying. He said:
"The gap is very unpleasant. We had an opportunity that Tottenham could win and we could win, and we both lost. 
"That, of course, makes the gap a lot bigger and you cannot say you do not worry about that."
Wenger is normally very protective of his players but he laid into them on Saturday.

He said:
"I am angry. We did not create a lot. It is very disappointing that we were not in the game in the first 20 minutes, without complete focus, and gave an easy game away.  
"There are far too many players who are below what is required in the Premier League, and the players weren’t at their best in terms of their concentration or commitment.  
"We had to equalise before half time to win and we did not do it and after that I felt there was something missing, sharpness, decisiveness, offensively we were really not at our level."
Creatively we weren't at our best. Gervinho on the right doesn't work. He's more suited to the left or even playing as the centre forward. Olivier Giroud is still finding his feet while Santi Cazorla and Lukas Podolski had quiet games.

If I were Arsene Wenger I'd be looking at bringing in two attackers in during the January transfer window. One to replace Theo Walcott and the other to fight with Olivier Giroud for the role as lone striker.

But for now we've got what we've got and there is nothing the manager can do to change that. We've got to bounce back on Wednesday night. Put in a strong performance to win and get us within touching distance of qualification for the knock out stages of the Champions League.

It looks like we'll be without Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who picked up a hip injury. The manager has already stated it will be too soon for Theo Walcott and Kieran Gibbs to return. So we're left pretty much with the same squad as we had for Saturday's game. Let's hope it'll be enough.

That's it for today. More tomorrow.

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