Tuesday, September 28, 2010

No BALLS No THROPIES

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"IT'S unexplainable," lamented Arsene Wenger. "I don't recognise my team."Well, we do, mate. It's all too familiar. Dodgy keeper, full-backs beaten down the line, hesitant central defenders, no bite in midfield and a lightweight centre-forward.

Dodgy keeper, full-backs beaten down the line, hesitant central defenders, no bite in midfield and a lightweight centre-forward.

But no muscle, no machismo, no balls when the going gets tough.

No Untouchables. No Manchester United or Chelsea killer instinct.

Aaahhhh... all too familiar. No thropies.


Not to forget, of course, the usual excuse from those Gooners who can still be bothered to use it - injuries.


Re-run most of the last five seasons. Some Arsenal punters will say, yes, but we beat Blackpool 6-0, Bolton 4-1, Braga 6-0 and Spurs 4-1.

And last season you beat Everton 6-1, Celtic 2-0 and 3-1 and Portsmouth 4-1 - and then lost 2-1 at Old Trafford and 4-2 at Eastlands.

And it was off down the slippery slope again.

The season before it was four against FC Twente and Blackburn, six against Portsmouth... only for Hull to win 2-1 at The Emirates.

Back came Arsenal with another four against Portsmouth and five against Fenerbahce. Then defeats by Stoke, Aston Villa and Manchester City.

Flat-track bullies, it would seem. But no muscle, no machismo, no balls when the going gets tough.

No Vieira, no Campbell, no Silva, no Edu. No Untouchables.

No Manchester United or Chelsea killer instinct. No trophies.

And not much spending.

It was almost pre-ordained Arsenal would follow up news of their pre-tax profit of £56million - and a stupendous reduction in their debt level from £297m to £135m - with a home defeat by West Brom.

They make all that money and yet they couldn't give Fulham the £4m they wanted for Mark Schwarzer.

Sure, he's 37 but it still defies belief.

What makes it worse is that by making his interest in Schwarzer public and NOT signing him, Wenger has further undermined Manuel Almunia and Lukasz Fabianski. No wonder the pair of them look even more shot to pieces than usual.

Everyone is bored to death with the tale of Arsenal and their goalkeeping problems.

But for Arsenal fans this boredom has now turned to frustration and on to anger.

Without a decent keeper, the Arsenal defence will always be undermined - even more so with Wenger losing the massive experience of William Gallas (and with Thomas Vermaelen missing against West Brom).

Instead, we have Laurent Koscielny and Sebastien Squillaci, two players with no previous Premier League experience.

It won't have escaped eagle-eyed Gooners how Koscielny was left for dead by the pace of El-Hadji Diouf in the build-up to Blackburn's equaliser at Ewood Park earlier on in the season.

Nor how Bacary Sagna was undone - again on the Arsenal right - by the skill of former Gunner Jerome Thomas that led to West Brom's opener on Saturday.

And how there were huge gaps on the left as well.

How was this possible? Because it always is with an Arsenal side so keen to get forward.

Because it always will be when Alex Song or Abou Diaby can't control midfield.

And because it always will be when Cesc Fabregas doesn't play.

Then there's Andriy Arshavin, whose form depends on what side of bed he gets out of.

And is Marouane Chamakh really any more effective than Nicklas Bendtner?

Yes, Robin Van Persie has been injured but he always is. As is young Theo.

And still Wenger goes on in his own stubborn way. Still dreaming of the young Superteam.

And still it's Groundhog Day.

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