Friday , 15 December 2017
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Cannon Fodder: Change

Greetings Gunners and clowns who support other teams !!!!!!

The idea for today’s blog is a tad old, it was a notion that occurred to me a few weeks back and just lodged in my head and I was more than a little tempted to sit down and bang out my next blog but I decided to watch a few more matches before I made my hunch public. I’ll smugly inform you that I seem to be right, at least in my own twisted mind. I daresay that a few Arsenal fans will be spitting caustic vitriol at my theories but….. to use a contemporary term ‘meh’

Looks like you are more than a little confused and annoyed with the longish intro so I’ll get to it…A few years ago, Wenger acquired the talents of one Welshman, a rather young lad touted to the next big deal in the middle of the park. Unfortunately for the young man and Arsenal as a whole, a certain detestable creature belonging to a team consisting primarily of Neanderthals and violent humanoids decided to smash his feet in like tooth picks. As the young Ramsey was stretchered off, most of the Arsenal faithful silently wondered if this was the last they would see of the promising Welshman.

Aaron Ramsey did indeed recover over a year later and was immediately asked to plug the gaping hole in the centre of the park created by the departures of the Spaniard and a certain detestably truculent Frenchman. Ramsey’s recovery has been nothing short of spectacular and his stellar rise to exalted status of “Regular” in the midfield is nothing of a surprise.

But considering Ramsey’s reputation and his pre-injury style of play, one would pin him to be a natural Play-maker/Attacking midfielder, not in the Catalanuya styled pure string-puller but of a slightly more aggressive variety of CM. One could draw striking similarities between the pre- injury Ramsey and the young Cesc when he first arrived at Arsenal. But a year on the side-lines has seen the young man change, not just his style of play but a more visceral change in his mind-set. I can only hazard a guess, but the horrific injury that made him face the very real possibility of his career being  shattered and leaving him only a fraction of the player he was (think Eduardo) had a profound effect on him causing a subtle mental shift, which has seemed to translate into his game. His performances this season are a reflection of this, his distribution of the ball through the field is still excellent and playing along-side Arteta has been a lesson in control and restraint for the young man. But all too often Ramsey seems content to feed the ball into the wings to try and find Gervinho or Theo, now don’t get me wrong, I am absolutely loving the fact that our wingers are actually adding width and proving to be a creative outlet to feed Robin, but this seems to have watered down our creative spark down the middle which is in stark contrast to the Arsenal teams of the recent past (call it the post-Henry Cesc era?) which have relied solely on the central mid-fielders for key passes and assists. Gervinho being added to the squad and the steady yet still-unsatisfactory rise of Theo would mean that the wingers would shoulder roughly half the responsibility to create chances for the central striker and knock in a few goals to boot. But things don’t seem to being going as planned, the trio of Arteta, Song and Ramsey seem solid when it comes to keeping possession and keeping the game ticking with their metronomic passing but creativity down the center of the park is just not where one would expect to be. This would prove rather detrimental for a team that plays Arsenal’s style of possession football. Teams that have succeeded with this fluid style of play usually depend to some extent on a certain player at the center that will provide the creative impetus. Think Xavi at FCB, Cesc from our squad of old and to a lesser extent David Silva for Manchester City 

 Judging creativity is an imprecise science at best and statistics can only take you so far but my observation is that Ramsey is more likely to try and find the wingers than hazard a direct pass to a  forward. Comparing Ramsey’s abilities to Fabregas’s vision and deadly passing is hardly fair but it’s merely my humble opinion that Wenger would do well to encourage Ramsey to concentrate more on his creative play rather than focus on distribution and controlling the pace of the game, not that these are unimportant, quite the contrary but Arteta handles the aforementioned duties with ease and is ably assisted by the excellent Song. In his two midfield partners, Ramsey finds the most effective and stable base upon which he can hone his creative skills to a point. Where Ramsey should be looking to charge forward or look for the incisive pass that makes defenders crap themselves, one finds him lurking in the midfield trying to play a second Arteta. His performance in the last two games has been a step in the right direction, bridled aggression to keep the opposition’s defense at bay and the pin point ball for Kos to head into the back of the net is merely a hint of the immense potential locked within the young welsh international. I daresay that the rebirth of the partnership between the recovering Wilshere and the in-transition Ramsey will do them both a world of good and is one for the future, but that’s still few months away and meanwhile we’ll just have to make do with a rapidly tiring mid-field who I’m quite certain are tethering on the edge of ‘burn-out’.

Enough about the mid-field, let’s talk about the game against Leeds and inevitably the return of Arsenal’s most glorious son. And what a return it was?!! Though I must confess that I haven’t been an Arsenal fan long enough to have watched Henry bully defenders the world over but it was heartwarming to see the legend to don the red and white once again and slot a goal with a touch of class that belies his age. No doubt that the coming games against far tougher opponents will prove to be the acid test but one can’t help but hope that his appearance and a goal that only be described as Henry-esque is a sign of things to come. Watching the player who is single handedly responsible for exhausting Gigabytes of my monthly internet download limit was more than gratifying. It was border-line orgasmic…..

Unicorns and candy-floss buildings aside, the realist in me constantly wonders what the long term consequences of Henry’s (possibly successful) loan spell are and why the Gunners had to rely on a 34 year old veteran when being faced by a pedestrian opposition that would have been annihilated by any other team in the running for a Champions league spot…..

 Is the Arsenal manager merely trying to paper over the cracks by calling upon the services of Henry?

 Will Le Prof bring in new talent or Will he…as my mate Sharat memorably put it (with a derisive snort):  “just pretend that Wilshere & Diaby’s returns are new signings” .Our defensive line is in tatters with Francis Coquelin keeping to Arsenal tradition and making the customary trip to the medical facility as soon as he decided he wanted to remain with the club for a few more years. His ability to play in multiple roles across the field is an asset we will sorely miss in the coming weeks. With both Sagna and Vermalen’s (who was just getting back to his old self) still a few weeks away, Djorou’s crocked and all the full backs are partying with the (hot?) nurses. It looks inevitable that Squillaci (gulp) will feature in the defense and that can hardly bode well for us.

But as surprising as most would find it, given an option I’d still opt for a new signing that would bolster our attacking prowess rather than try to compensate for our defensive setbacks which are essentially temporary in nature. The impending return our defensive regulars in the form of Sagna and Vermalen will ensure the solidity of the line but our attacking problems are not ones that seem to have any viable solution, taking into account some of the dross that presently wear the revered red and white. The name Pudolski has seemed to be thrown about quiet often in conjunction with Arsenal but personally I’m not quite sure if bringing him in for an estimated €22m is an idea worth considering, his record playing for a club other than FC Koln is woeful and he has only recently returned to form in the German league. Bringing a player with chronic home-sickness is a gamble and one that we can ill-afford at this juncture, precarious as our position in the league is. A young but proven talent on the wings is the need of the hour and if he costs an arm and a leg, so be it. Counting pennies at this juncture will seriously damage our chances for a ‘top 4’ finish and taking Arsenal’s financial framework into account, not qualifying for the Champions League next will seriously affect the clubs coffers. But no doubt the January transfer window will pass us with no significant augmentation to the squad.

Back in the Grove, the gaffer signs a world class winger who’s capable of filling in for the rapidly tiring van Persie, and then develops a ruthless streak immediately getting rid of all the dead weight by terminating a whole bunch of contracts or selling creatures like Chamakh, Diaby, Denilson and sadly Arshavin to the first bidder thus clearing the air of the stench of mediocrity. Then I’d also like a gaggle of super-models to satisfy my every whim and fancy…… Unfortunately we live in the real world and not in my personal wonder-land where I’m Lord Supreme Emperor of the universe, Arsenal wins every trophy they compete for and Leo Messi wants an immediate move to the Emirates. Well too bad about that….. As we have seen in the past, Arsene is going to stand steadfast and bullishly try and do what ‘he considers’ most wise. When it comes to the gunners speculation is almost a waste of time as Arsene rarely does what the vast majority considers smart or even safe, but sitting on your arse and resolutely ‘not speculating’ seems to take half the fun out of footie doesn’t it?

About Varun Chand

Profile photo of Varun Chand
Full time nothing doer and part-time Engineer (supposedly). I really hate the Arsenal and that's why I spend so much of time writing/talking/discussing/debating about them. I enjoy mocking YOU because it's fun.

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