Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Wenger holds crisis summit with players -David Villa signing now on?

Morning Gooners.

According to the Daily Star, Arsene Wenger has held "crisis talks" with his first team squad in a bid to halt the slide into mid-table mediocrity yesterday. He told them to "man up" and start putting in the performances that they were capable of.

Usually the day after a game the players go in for a warm down session. But according to the Star, a meeting was held in a bid to reinforce the manager's belief that this squad can make the top four.

And on the displays put in during the second halves of the matches against Chelsea and Manchester City, the manager has every right to believe that his players can turn this situation around. If only they had the inner belief to perform in the first half of matches like they do in the second half.

While it's clear to everyone we could do with signing several new players in key positions, the most vital thing which needs to be achieved is to get this team playing every game in the manner it does during the second half of games.

It would make little difference if we signed Lionel Messi and played like we did in the first half of games. He wouldn't be able to make a difference if we gave away the ball as cheaply as we did against Chelsea. It's almost like the manager has to hammer it home to the players at half time they do have the quality to beat any team in his league, as long as they try.

And Theo Walcott, speaking to the media, has highlighted what he thinks is wrong.

He said:

"I think there’s a lack of belief here. 
"We need to start realising just how good we are. We’ve got some very, very good players but some of them don’t believe they are good enough at times. 
"We showed some great stuff in the second half at Chelsea and that didn’t surprise me. 
"But we can’t be coming out of the blocks as slowly as we have done. 
"On Sunday we were too slow, gave them too much space, we were sloppy closing down and we didn’t show enough commitment. 
"As soon as we pressurised Chelsea after the break we showed what we can do. 
"But we need to play like that for 90 minutes, not just the second half."

Quite how you rectify a lack of belief is a tricky one. But we need to sort it out fast. Presently we sit seven points behind Spurs with our game in hand. Tomorrow night's game with West Ham is very important. We've managed one league point in January. The team cannot let this slide continue.

Captain Thomas Vermaelen believes we can finish in the top four.

He said:

"It was really frustrating. We know we have the quality to beat Chelsea but it’s all about results. 
"We don’t have to look too far ahead. There’s still a long way to go. I’m still confident. You could see it [on Sunday] in the second half. I’m still confident we can get a good [position]."
Hopefully the manager's meeting will go someway to restoring the player's faith in their own ability. But we need to see that on the pitch, starting tomorrow night.

I'm sure the manager is still looking to add a player or three to the squad. Whether there is a chance now that we can get David Villa this month remains to be seen. The talk in the newspapers is that he wants to leave Barcelona this month. If the club were able to capture his signature it would surely give us the lift we need to push on towards the top four.

That's it for today. Back with more tomorrow.

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