I would urge you dear reader to have a look at John Cross`s article in the Mirror today. I have said much of what he has said, many times to the extent that there is nothing I can add which would not be a repetition of my comments and articles since I began contributing to Gunners Town. How disappointed and frustrated I am this morning to find that we are now 4th and behind Spurs. This is the time of year when it is approaching St. Totteringhams Day but it does not look as if there will be a St. Totteringhams Day this year.
Look at the evidence. We have conceded 9 points out of the last 4 games against teams which we should have beaten. Five of those points were dropped against Southampton and the glaring reason for all of them is ( as John Cross said ) because Wenger did not sign a striker but most importantly, a defensive midfielder last year. The warning signs were there. Many commentators said that if anything happened to Coquelin, we would have no cover. Not only did we lose Coquelin, but we also lost Santi and with them we lost our engine room.
Flamini did his best and Ramsey tried to cover for Santi but in the first place he is not the same type of player and he has hit a bad streak of form. His passes go to an opponent more often than his team mates. Flamini just does not have it in him to break up and dominate attacks and he lacks the composure of Coquelin when he does get possession. There is simply no link between defence and attack and no visible shape to the team. They don`t look as if they have a plan. Last night we managed to muddle through thanks mainly to Sanchez and Ozil who together almost managed to compensate for our weaknesses up to now, with sheer skill. At the time When Sanchez was also injured, reality sank in. We can`t cope in midfield and we do not have players who are good enough to stand in for the key players in the team.
Arsene has been forced to admit today that we cannot convert chances to goals but he did not buy Charlie Austin. There is no question that he would have scored goals and he would have brought competition for Giroud for £6m! I don`t know if he made enquiries for a holding player but since nobody else seems to know of anyone either, I have to assume that he did not try to get one.
We are told that he had £80m to spend and he spent £7m on Elneny. He appears to be a good prospect, but he is more like Ramsey than Coquelin and therefore not what was required. What would it have cost to buy a good DM and Charlie Austin? Perhaps £40m. Compare that to winning the league. There is no sensible reason for his miserliness. Arsene has to take the blame. He says apparently that he feels guilty after the result last night, and so he should. I feel like Anne Hathaway in “Les Miserables” when all my dreams have turned to dust.
As to his tactical nous; we lose many games because despite the fact that it is obvious that our weaknesses are mainly in the midfield area, he has no idea how to cope against two banks of 4 when the opposition swamps our midfield. He tried to compensate for Mertesecker`s lack of pace by playing Gabriel and it worked to the extent that Long made no impact on the game. Southampton`s midfield still controlled the game. The only reason we looked less bad was because Ozil and Sanchez almost single handedly conjured opportunities without any support from Ramsey or Flamini. We did eventually get the ascendancy and to be fair it took a miraculous performance from Foster to deny us a win. It was sheer effort that brought us back into the game last night. Ozil and Sanchez almost busted a gut but against Southampton who admittedly are a decent team they should not have needed to have done so.
Just as this situation comes up every season as sure as the sun rises in the morning, I know that the blind who follow the blind will be lambasting me for this article but please don`t accuse me of not being an Arsenal fan. I consider that we have a duty to point out the mistakes made by Wenger so that they can be cured. If you get porridge for breakfast every day and you don`t complain, you will expect to have it served to you every day.
Alas, since Wenger seems to have run out of ideas, I have to conclude that we shall be struggling to stay in the top 4 given our list of fixtures coming up in the next 3 weeks.
A sophisticated, articulate Arsenal Man of Mystery. Aged 70 and a bit.