When is it time to say a player is not good enough to wear the red and white of Arsenal?
Plenty of Arsenal players over the years have caused divided opinion over their suitability. The Grimster, Gilberto, Flamini, Baptista, Hleb, Cygan, Stepanovs, Boa Morte, Manninger, Reyes and Lehmann to name but few.
As fans, we can be a fickle bunch. I remember constantly defending Flamini for the first few season’s of his career as I believed his tenacity and work rate to be his over riding quality. Others felt he was no better than a Bentlely or a Muamba. Every team needs a Ray Parlour type, no matter what country they come from.
Last season I took an immediate disliking to the Beast; I felt his touch was sub standard and his play cumbersome. A lot of Arsenal fans were still calling for him to be given more of a chance, even past February. Perhaps the Beast was given more of a chance with the fans because how can a player called the Beast not be a success? How disappointed we all were! Mind you, he is banging them in for Madrid this year!
There are many players who have come along and surprised us. Who would have thought Robert Pires, a lightweight, off passing midfielder with questionable hunger would turn out to be probably the greatest winger ever to wear an Arsenal shirt after the first few months of his career?
Who would have guessed a misfiring Freddie Ljungberg could become one of the most prolific players in the Premiership and skin John Terry in an F.A Cup final to score a wonder goal?
Not many of us I bet!
This is where the difficulty comes when making a fans judgement on Senderos. I wouldn’t ever go against Wengers judgement, because 90% of the time he knows best (For £4.5 million a year you would hope so!). It doesn’t mean I can’t question it though?
If there is a player that Arsenal fans want to see come good more than Senderos, I don’t know about him (Maybe Theo? I don’t think panic has set in with him yet.). He reminds us of a young Tony Adams. He has a big heart, he will put his body on the line and he is normally great in the air.
What infuriates us about big Phil is that his lack of form is not down to ability. We all know he can keep clean sheets against the best. It takes two centre backs to keep 8 clean sheets on the way to a Champions League final, and from what I can remember he had some immense games. He was many fans first choice that season to partner Kolo at the back after Campbells meltdown. So what went wrong?
Well it might be way to simple to pinpoint the Chelsea games, but it seems everything went down hill from there. He was taken apart twice in a season by the best striker in the world at the time, no shame in that you would think? Well it seems it has taken its toll psychologically with the lad.
This season he has looked shaky, nervous and extremely low in confidence. I can’t help but worry something bad is going to happen that could potentially destroy him.
Cast your mind back a few years, does anyone remember Igor Stepanovs? A similar type player who had potential and was looking good until he was destroyed by Manchester united in a 6-1 hammering at Old Trafford. He was never seen again after that performance. Or last season, an underperforming Sol Campbell against West ham? He made two uncharacteristic errors in the first half and fled to the coast!
Do we have to destroy him as a player before we realise he is not good enough? Do we have to lose 3 points before we realise he is not good enough? It is only good goal keeping and some great cover play from the rest of the defence which has kept us from suffering from the form of Senderos.
I am not questioning the wisdom Arsene Wenger, he knows what he is doing but from a fans perspective I think he made an odd decision in loaning out Djourou, arguably our third choice centre back last year after some assured performances. I understand the logic as perhaps Wenger forgot Gallas is more injury prone than Kieron Dyer, but my view, along with many others was that Senderos should have gone out on loan until Christmas.
In a less pressurised environment, Big Phil could have rebuilt his confidence and been fresh coming back after Christmas. I understand that loaning him out could have been quite insulting, but he is a professional football, he would have gotten over it.
I still have no idea what Wenger is going to do with Senderos, I just hope the end result isn’t a destroyed Senderos who ends up never recovering his confidence. Without doubt though, the Arsenal fans will all get behind him all the way for the next couple of weeks, and I hope he comes good and we start to see a return to form of a young player we are all desperate to come good.
In other news, Wenger had some words of praise for the in form Flamster as does Sun reporter, Steven Howard. Its great that a player I consider a real gooner™ getting the praise he fully deserves after a fantastic start to the season.
Edelman speaks out on the subject of ex Manc fan Usmanov, telling the fans that he wont be taking over anytime soon and doubts he is even interested in running the club. He also gets in a cheeky dig about Chelsea; kick a club when there down why don’t you!
In other non-Arsenal related news. Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has thrown his weight behind Avram Grant, telling Chelsea players he is the long term future. The only thing that could make my day better is Martin Jol getting a new 10 year sack proof contract.
Steaua Bucharest match preview tomorrow. Till tomorrow Grovers!