All the talk this morning sits around ‘winning ugly’ or just winning, because that’s what we have to to against Besiktas this week in our massive Champions League.
Now, winning ugly is always good. It generally means you won playing badly. What you have to do though, is combine that with winning sublimely. Arsenal did a lot of winning ugly in the first half of the season last season, which the came back to bite us in the second half of the year when wining ugly switched into truly getting found out.
I’m not saying that’s where Arsenal are this season, but some of the early warning signs are there. A midfield clunking around without clicking because of pace and inept performances you’d hope certain players had grown out of. A striker that’s out of his depth… These problems generally don’t disappear in 3 months unless you face them head on. We’ve needed a world class striker for 3 years and we’ve needed a modern defensive midfield player since Alex Song departed. The approach, the half time team talk, the tactics… how much can or really has changed?
Again, this is why phase two is so interesting, because my bet is not much is different. There’s a Cribs (with Sonic Youth) song with a poem I like… a couple of lines about change really resonate.
You can change your clothes
Change your hairstyle, your friends, cities, continents
But sooner or later your own self will always catch up
Always it waits in the wings
Change clothes to backroom team, change friends to players… I just wonder how far introspection goes when you hit a certain success level? Harry Redknapp said something a few seasons ago after Spurs lost a whole batch of games and he tried a new formation.
‘All the papers we giving me grief for not changing things up, so I did, and that’s what happened’
… was the loose interpretation of what he said. I wonder if that’ll be what happens again this season to us. Will there be sufficient change delivered over the summers reflection for us the mount a proper challenge? Could happen. We could be incredible this year. I’m just not sure that real change is coming.
… but hey, favourite this post and retweet it next May when we’re European Cup /Premiership winners. I won’t care. I like trophies too much. I LIKE THEM TOO MUCH TO CARE.
Back to reality. We haven’t qualified for the Champions League yet and o > m to the geeee… we have an injury pile up going off as we speak. Kieran Gibbs is broken again, typically, just before a really important game. He really is very weak. Laurent also has a foot injury that means we might have to bring Per back in a game early. Always a worry bringing someone back into the fold early who is generally quite slow. I was with some West Ham pals at the weekend and they were telling me that Winston Reid is a very good player and that when he plays with Adrian, West Ham keep many clean sheets. I have no idea of the veracity in this offering, but he’s young, he’s big and he’s experienced in the league. Wouldn’t surprise me especially with his contract issues.
Issue here is that we’re relying very heavily on Calum Chambers. He’s very talented, but he’s young and inexperienced. We need to find a 4th centre back sharpish because Per and Laurent played the best part of the all the game last year. They’re both due a big injury unless they’re looked after this year.
Big game tomorrow. Let’s see what Wenger offers up. Pretty confident we’ll take down Besiktas, hopefully with no further set backs… because Everton at the weekend is massive for us!