Howdy folks. Been a strange old weekend, hasn’t it? The FA Cup weekend’s are normally something we’re involved in at least for a few rounds, but this year – like last year – we spent this weekend kicking our heels a bit.
Well, except the players, who all disappeared off abroad somewhere to recharge their batteries with their families having been given some time off.
I wonder if Unai told them all to go home and think about what they’ve done after last Thursday’s debacle? Certainly those that played probably want to have a bit of a look at themselves. The performance wasn’t up to scratch and whilst the managers tactical decisions and team selection left a lot of be desired of, you can’t put this all on him, because we have plenty of underperforming players right now.
Deadwood 2.0 is very much in existence right now and there are some mouldy and rotting bits of the team that probably need to be cut away ASAP in the summer. Certainly from a defensive point of view.
It does fee weird that the players have basically been granted a weekend away almost like a reward, despite the fact that actually the reason we aren’t playing on this weekend just gone by is because we were dumped out at home to United; something feels a bit wrong there.
But I guess it is what it is. I’m not one of the “PASHUN” brigade that wants to see pictures of Unai giving them double training sessions just because that might make them “faaakin run araaaand a bit more!” In our next set of games. I just want players in the right mindset to pick up points in the league and safe passage in the European competition we’re still (just about) in.
We need to have something jolt them in to some form. This side of Christmas 2018 – Chelski game aside – has been pretty turgid going back as far as the Brighton game on Boxing Day. Even the home win against Fulham game on New Year’s Day was a lot less comfortable than the score line reflected.
We need to build some sort of momentum and it isn’t something that we’ve had all season so the idea that we’ll suddenly pick it up now feels like it’s increasingly fleeting. But as fans we have to hold on to the hope that the next game will jolt the players in to life, that they will suddenly click, that we’ll suddenly start to get the Arsenal we’ve all seen before at the height of Wenger’s reign.
Deep down we know that it isn’t possible with this crop of players though. Which is probably fuelling part of the online rage that so many have in the Arsenal fan base. People all know deep down how far away we are from competing and maybe some don’t want to accept that deep down. Or something.
But we still have the hope that the players will spark in to life and hopefully that’s what this weekend will do for some of these players.
One man who is hopeful, but of something slightly different, is David Ospina, who wants to make his Napoli move permanent but who hasn’t played much of late because of a clause Arsenal inserted based on the number of games he plays. Apparently it’s one of those that would trigger a permanent deal and Napoli are reluctant. I can understand that because they already have a ‘keeper they bought in the summer, but from an Arsenal point of view his situation is an interesting one.
With Cech retiring in the summer we have a space opening up in the squad for a back up. People have talked about Martinez but at 26 surely if he’s not going to break in to the team now he’s not exactly going to make it? Unless he’s happy being a number two but personally, given that we’re not exactly going to get a lot of money for Ospina, I’d be tempted to keep him for the final year of his deal.
We’re hardly going to get a number two of the same quality for £3million are we? So we might as well keep him around for another year.
That would also ensure that no additional funds are used up on squad positions because if you believe what is being written, we’re back in to playing the role of paupers again, despite all of the cash coming in during the summer.
And that’s something to be mindful of. We will need to be very clever with our cash come June and spunking it on back up players is not what we need. Clever recruitment is key in the summer.
Let’s just hope Arsenal have a plan. And that it’s more of a plan than the last few years.