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Sunday, 8 August 2010

Do you now see the nature of our problems Arsene? Capello turns to Arsenal (and away from Tottenham)

Arsenal secured the most ridiculous result of my lifetime in Warsaw yesterday - 6-5. SIX-FIVE! We managed to score six goals away from home, magnificent. We conceded five goals to a second-rate team - so now do you see it Arsene? The standard of defending was abysmal - quite the worst I have seen from an Arsenal team since the nonsense at Old Trafford a few years back. The difference that day was that Arsenal had only David Seaman from the first-choice back five. Yesterday we had what would seem to be the favoured defence, with Fabianski playing the first-half in goal and Sczsezny playing the second. Emmanuel Frimpong was badly out of his depth in front of the defence. I have seen Koscielny denounced as the worst sort of defender after yesterday, but to single out one of them would be unfair. Clichy and Vermaelen were equally abysmal while the Polish opposition, unsurprisingly, knew exactly how to ruffle Fabianski. With a trip to Blackburn just three weeks away we must pray that our new goalkeeper arrives this week or, at least, that Almunia is considered as number one.
Arsenal were 3-0 down within 37 minutes. Legia's first goal was a super strike which left Fabianski with no chance. However, the goalscorer ran unchallenged from the halfway-line before unleashing his rocket from 20 yards. Where the hell was the defending? Nobody closed down at all. Defending is a collective thing and Arsenal have forgotten how to do it. It is clear that Arsenal's players are not coached in how to defend properly or how to organise. Considering that the Manager, Assistant Manager and First-Team Coach all played as defenders (two of them internationally) this is a criminal failing. The second goal was (surprise,surprise) from a corner. Legia crowded Fabianski who fell over as he came for a cross he wouldn't have got near to and the ball was touched home by Koscielny for an own-goal. Embarrassing. The third goal was another corner, this time played outside the box. Arsenal's players were confused by this and Legia took advantage as Rosicky's air-shot led to a simple chance which was converted. Good work from Chamakh held the ball-up for Nasri who crossed for the advancing Moroccan to score with a brave header and give Arsenal a lifeline.
After half-time Emmanuel Eboue, who replaced the ineffective Walcott (I'm sure I've written that phrase before) scored with a magnificent diving header and then a fine run and shot to bring Arsenal level. Kieran Gibbs combined well with Carlos Vela before smashing Arsenal in to the lead. Legia equalised themselves after more suspect defending before Jay Emmanuel-Thomas burst in to the box and finished nicely. A Samir Nasri free-kick went straight through the goalkeeper to make it 6-4. Arsenal's defenders weren't finished though as Vermaelen attempted to control the ball from a cross in to the six-yard box, allowing Legia to make is 6-5 - the goal was a carbon copy of Steve Morrow's winner in the League Cup Final in 1993.
Arsenal's defending last weekend was suspect and should have seen Wenger sorting things out both on the training pitch and in the transfer market. Yesterday showed that out situation is critical. As things stand we actually NEED Manuel Almunia to play - if Fabianski plays we are in serious trouble. I feel sorry for Fabianski, but he needs to get away from Arsenal now, or his career will be over very soon with his confidence wrecked beyond repair. It is apparent that Koscielny is not (yet) ready for the physical side of the game at this level. Djourou must play at Anfield. With the international break upon us it would seem unlikely that a new signing would be in position to play next week.
Of equal concern at the moment must be the fact that none of the senior central midfield players have taken part in a pre-season match. Song, Denilson, Diaby, Fabregas - all injured or unfit to play. We face the prospect of playing away at Liverpool with two young boys in central midfield. This is yet another area the Manager has failed to address.
It is easy to say that yesterday (and last week for that matter) was just "a training game" or "a fitness exercise." Nonsense. Yes, pre-season is for fitness, but is also for getting things right and being ready for the real thing next week. As things stand Arsenal are in real trouble. I am starting to panic about our situation. Arsene Wenger must act. He must go and spend the money that is burning a hole in his pocket. If we go to Liverpool and get hammered our season will be over before it has begun, as I can not see this side recovering quickly from a first day humiliation, the like of which we dished out to Everton last August.

In other news Fabio Capello has ditched 13 of his World Cup squad, including an unfortunate Robert Green. Only one Tottenham player survives the cull, Michael Dawson. So all those Spurs fans who thought they had one over on Arsenal by providing players to the England World Cup squad will be very quiet today. Arsenal, meanwhile, are well represented. Walcott is recalled and he is joined by Jack Wilshere and Kieran Gibbs, as I predicted on Friday. I expect Wilshere to get a game alongside Walcott, though I don't see Gibbs getting to play ahead of Ashley Cole. We'll see. I hope, above all else, that the three of them don't get bloody injured, and the same goes for all our players that have been spirited away this week. It's an absolute joke, but one we can seemingly do nothing about (I wonder how many Man Utd players will get "injured" before the internationals?)

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