One Gooner’s thank you to Wigan for the wake up call

Is this the darkness before the storm? With a golden opportunity to reignite the race for the EPL, our team fell flat. There is no excuse here. Three goals in 11 minutes is too much. This is a debacle. Many will call for a revamp of the squad; others will ask for calmness. I fall somewhere in between. I never thought I’d say this, but Arsene has become too risk adverse, in every facet of the game. But this Wigan game is the wake up call we need to make radical changes and get serious. It’s time to rebuild from the ground up.

First. Tactics. It’s time to put tactics over philosophy. If Arsene wants a 4-3-3, he should manage France. While I understand the rationale for adopting the 4-3-3, our inability to change tactics when our injury crisis hit was devastating. The 4-3-3 was a last minute change last summer that frankly has hurt us all season, too many players are out of their natural position. While I don’t subscribe to the “Arsenal isn’t physical enough” mantra, we do lack the quality to play a 4-3-3 successfully. It requires a high level of talent AND experience. We lack both. And lets face facts, our strikers are just not good enough.

Worse, Arsene’s pursuit of a 4-3-3 clashes with his goal of keeping costs down. Yes, building a 4-3-3 from the ground up is nice, but you need to buy players as well. Face it, barca, to some extent, was lucky. They produced Messi, Iniesta, Xabi and even Fab. Not to mention the other players in their squad. But that’s a one in a million chance to get that degree of talent at the same time. They also brought in other players, like Eto’o, Ibram and Henry. But even if you don’t believe that, recognize this: barca has a higher wage bill. Which means we can’t compete on our own terms.

Second. Defense. Arsene let our defense collapse this season. If there is one area Arsene can be openly criticized, it’s here. In any sport, winners begin with the defense. Even barca has a solid defense and goal keeper; yes, they might win in shoot-outs, but they keep a clean sheet just as well. We do neither.

Arsene had a chance this summer and this January to buy, if not Smalling, then another young player. While I appreciate Arsene’s commitment to a financial model, his adverse risk taking is becoming detrimental. Unlike many, I’m not asking for a big name purchase, but what’s the real risk between an offer of £10m and £12m. Arsenal is a big club, we are going to pay a premium, that’s the cost of being a big Club.  Bring in the goal keeper and defenders we need.

Third. Faith. Arsene has shown an admirable faith in our young players. As a rule, I agree with his approach.  Young players need someone to believe in them during the rough times. But they also need external standards; otherwise, how else will they learn? Yes, some players will need to be taught, that’s fine, but not the entire team, that’s entirely too much. A youthful team without on field leadership and a manager that coddles them has led to this disappointing season. New standards are needed and it’s time to move many of our players out the door.

So thank you Wigan, this game was more than a one-off, it’s part of a pattern that must end now.

Chins up and lets get serious this summer.

-the student


1 Comment

  1. […] One Gooner's thank you to Wigan for the wake up call « Goons of … […]

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