Monday, September 19, 2011

The Arsenal Downpour

By Bagga Wilks

Arsene Wenger has been blind to Arsenal’s defensive weaknesses. Those defensive weaknesses have been apparent from last season. At the beginning of the current season Wenger needed to go out and purchase experienced central defenders preferable with experience in the EPL. Instead, he looked to France and brought in Squillaci and Koscielny, central defenders who merely added to the porous nature of Arsenal’s defense. At 12 minutes to midnight, he went out and bought the German international, Mertersacker. The German will take some time to adjust to the English league. Wenger’s best defender who was hurt most of last season is again injured.

Against Blackburn, Arsenal did show that with the departure of Nasri and Fabregas, they shall have offensive punch. With the acquisition of Gervinho and Arteta, both players early in the season have demonstrated that they can finish, they can put the ball in the back of the net.

Arsenal falls apart in the defensive third of the field. They are incapable of defending against set plays. Sambo could have easily scored twice at the far post as the Arsenal defenders were temporarily fixed in cement. Wenger needs to hire a tested defensive coach and in January, jettison the jokers in the back, and acquire defenders who have an established track record in the EPL.

Arsenal gave up eight goals to Manchester United and four goals to Blackburn Rovers in their 4-3 loss away from home. They gave away two own goals, what has become typical self-inflicted wounds. Despite the tawdry defending, Arsenal had opportunities to pull the chestnuts out of the fire but Chamakh and Mertersacker misfired.

All signs are that this is going to be a season of tough sledding for the Gunners. With an unwillingness to spend for a premier central defender early in the summer and an ostrichtitive approach to the departure of Fabregas and Nasri, Wenger did not adequately prepare the club for the 2011-12 EPL season. Managers cannot glory in the past. Wenger has been more than wanting in getting his team prepared to play in the toughest league in the world.

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