Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Is A Top Four Finish Beyond Arsenal

With Sunday's 2-0 defeat at Spurs still fresh in our minds it's hard to imagine that Arsenal still have any hopes of a top four finish. Before the defeat to Spurs their fate was in their own hands with six wins from their final six games guaranteeing them that coveted top four finish. That defeat has lessened their chances, but not by too much with both City and United drawing on Sunday and Liverpool winning on Monday night.

It's not going to be easy to catch Liverpool now, but City and United are both still well within Arsenal's sights and we only need to overhaul two of the three of them to finish in the top four. A win against United on Sunday would put us two points behind them with a game in hand and then we would just need someone to beat City to give us a chance of catching them. On paper it all looks very plausible, but the part that looks the most unlikely of all is Arsenal winning their games.

Even if we beat a United team who are really struggling with a hectic schedule at the moment we still have trips to both Southampton and Stoke to come as well as home games against Sunderland and Everton. Whatever about beating Sunderland I would have my doubts about us taking three points at home to Everton on the final day of the league season if we get that far still in contention. The spanner in the works has to be the trips to Southampton and Stoke though when you consider our current away form and our away form against the rest of teams in the top half of the table.

The defeat against Spurs summed up how Arsenal have played since the turn of the year with a performance of no heart and very little in the line of tactics too. It's become too easy to beat Arsenal with five defeats in their last six away games and Arsene Wenger is incapable of stopping the rot. The switch to a back three was dumped as soon as Spurs went two up and we ended up playing the game with no real shape at all.

I'm not sure what Rob Holding did to lose favour after the semi final defeat of City, but Gabriel Paulista reverted to type against Spurs and Nacho Monreal was bizarrely deployed as a central defender. I really thought Gabriel had a great game against City when he was called upon to do some very good last ditch defending, but he had one of his worst games in an Arsenal shirt against Spurs. He wasn't the only player to have a stinker, but he was probably the worst of the lot.

He gave possession away so frequently that it was almost laughable, but again he wasn't the only one to do so with Alexis Sanchez losing possession even more than he usually does too. I'm a huge fan of Alexis, but it's difficult to understand exactly how so many of his passes go astray so often. The manager seems to be confident of Alexis staying next season, but I would be shocked if he didn't get out of dodge as quickly as possible once the season is over.

I've heard it said that we have struggled since Santi Cazorla's injury and it's hard to deny it, but surely we can't be so one dimensional that we could not cope without him. There is no cohesion in the team though and nobody to set the pace of our game and bring the ball out from the back with any real quality. I thought we should have re-signed Cesc Fabregas when Barcelona decided to sell him a few seasons ago and he might have been the player to fill that role. At the time the manager said we didn't need him because we had Mesut Ozil, but surely we could have found a place in the team for a player of his quality.

I didn't understand the decision to play Olivier Giroud on Sunday against Spurs as he just doesn't suit the football we are trying to play. We have needed a striker with genuine pace for far too long now and that's something Giroud has never had and never will have. Our attacking options are so limited with him leading the line even if he has managed a pretty good goals per minute ratio when he does play.

Back to the question I asked at the start and Arsenal's chances of a top four finish this season. On paper it's still a possibility of course, but in reality it's just not going to happen. There's still an FA Cup Final to come of course, but it would take a brave man to predict anything other than a defeat for Arsenal in that game. I just can't see any way these players can turn things around and have any chance of beating a good team unless we get as lucky as we did in the semi final against City.

Despite the team having virtually no clue what to do when they're playing we are still no nearer to knowing what will happen with the manager. We were told there would be an answer before the end of March if I'm not mistaken and yet here we are in May and we still have no idea what will happen. I made my mind up on what I think the club need to do a long time ago, but it appears there is nobody capable of making the decision one way or the other.

Any way you look at it there is no case for him keeping his job. If you subscribe to the opinion that the players have let him down then how does he get those players back on board. They're his players and they're playing the way he wants them to play, but it just isn't working.

Sure the board are as useless as an ashtray on a motorbike, but nothing is going to change at that level no matter what us fans might want. We need a young manager with new ideas who can motivate the players and get them to give their all for a manager and a system they believe in. I suggested Marco Silva of Hull on Twitter a couple of days ago and got laughed at, but I would honestly take him over Arsene Wenger right now.

His record as a manager has been very good in the almost six years he has managed and he hasn't lost a home game in some ridiculous amount of time like four years I think. He gets his ideals through to his players and he has changed the fortunes of every club he has managed very quickly. The players seem to take to him and play the way he wants and it gets results.

It would be a big step up for him and he has never stayed anywhere for long which suggests he might not be the easiest man to get along with either. It would be a huge gamble to go with a man like him, but it can't be more of a gamble than it would be to go with the status quo. We need to shake things up in a big way and someone coming in from outfield like Silva might just do that.

That's it for today.

See you tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. Definitely though nothing is mission impossible.Wenger has to be blamed 100%.
    He is a dictator and he will be biting the dust. Its amatter of time.
    Arsenal's decline has been obvious to all except the arrogant fm..
    His tactics are stereotype hogging possession and short passing etc.
    Arsenal met rf in the cl 2008. I was in Italy when I ran into a guy wearing
    a MU jersey.We had a friendly debate about the game.
    He said it wont be a problem beating the gunners.There you have it. 9 years ago.
    Since his last epl triumph,Chelsea and Mu have each won the epl 5 times.
    I frankly believe Arsenal must get someone with aproven track record of winning
    Spanish/Italian/German and cl trophies.These guys play to win and win ugly if need be.