Sunday, September 25, 2005

Arsenal a poor 0-0 draw

A lackluster performance from the Gunners this weekend, drawing 0-0 with West Ham. Watching the game it was clear that this Arsenal team remains one without a direction...yet. Losing Vieira and Edu in the off season , not adding an impact player in the off season (Robinho nor Baptista) and having Henry injured, has lend itself to Arsenal starting the season middle of the table and 11 points behind league leaders Chelsea. While this season remains in the early stages, I am not sure that I can imagine Arsenal figuring out its flaws -

  • Lack of scoring punch - without Henry Arsenal seems to have no real scoring threat. I think that even with Henry they have trouble scoring since Henry scores many goals when he beats players one on one or from long range shots. Even with Henry they lack a "vulture" goal scorer, someone like Van Nisterlrooy, Trezeguet, or even Crespo. In addition, there remains a lingering fear that Henry will look to find greener pasteurs in Espana next season.
  • Midfield stability - the lose of Vieira and Edu (granted Edu missed most of last season) has created a gapping hold in the midfield. The youngsters Cesc and Flamini, while talented, have not yet developed the experience to control the midfield and therefore control games. Pires has disappeared at times. Ljunberg remains a strong contributer but cannot control the midfield alone.
  • Difference maker - the past few seasons, Wenger has been able to bring a player that immediately makes a difference, going to back to his robbery of Nicholas Anelka from PSG. He immediately shook up the Premiership, scoring over 30 goals. Wenger subsequently stole Campbell from cross town rival Tottenham to shore up his defense, he was able to grab players lost in teams like Vieira (who was lost at AC Milan), Thierry Henry (also lost playing as a winger with Juventus) He also signed players like Pires and Wiltord who made immediate impacts. As well as grabbing players such as Toure and playing "out of position." Unfortunately for the past two seasons Wenger has not been able to capture magic in a bottle. While he has found some young talent, players who could become the potential foundation of the Arsenal to come, he has not found that player that will spark this version of Aresnal.
There is still plenty of time in the season, but with Chelsea's lead, and with their money, I think Arsenal (and the others will be hard pressed to make up the deficit. They have too many holes and not enought time or moeny this season to solve them....

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