We Want Our Arsenal Back
All I want is my Arsenal back, not the Arsenal of George Graham’s one-nil to the Arsenal when we had Selley, Hillier, Jensen, and Morrow as our central midfield creators. I want the Arsenal of free flowing, fast attacking football. I want to see the Arsenal that would race from defence to attack in 12 seconds and score. I want the Arsenal that pinned opponents in their own half and battered their goal, the Arsenal that made the opposition’s goalkeeper work for the full 90 minutes. I want the Arsenal that would race to a 3-0 lead within 30 minutes and then treat us to exhibition football.
Where has this Arsenal gone? Even last season at our pomp, we would play fast attacking interchanging football, football that other teams would just stare and admire. The fans are used to the creativity, they are used to seeing us have 20 shots on target, they are used to defences be torn apart with intricate passing.
We have disintegrated into a team that creates very little, cannot put teams under sustained pressure, if we have 3-4 shots on target in a game we are lucky, there are no more defence splitting passes. Our counter attacks stop on the half-way line, we wait and allow the opponents to re-group in their own half, then proceed to knock the ball across midfield for ages looking of the perfect pass that never comes. Our full-backs rarely overlap, and when they get to the bye-line instead of crossing the ball, it is played back up the line. The central midfielders rarely enter the penalty area; if the ball breaks loose in the area, it is too easy for the opposition to clear the ball.
Arsenal still has creative players, Nasri, Arshavin, and van Persie. Nasri is a more skilful player and more direct in his approach than Hleb was. He has started to hesitate before shooting, when he first arrived he would shoot as soon he saw the target, have we really taken that out of his game. Arshavin has shown us in glimpses that he has the creativity and skill that we lost when Bergkamp retired. Van Persie is just phenomenal; he can take a ball and jink past two or three defenders in the tightest of areas.
We have two of the quickest full-backs in the country, yet they do not contribute enough to the attacking game. They rarely get behind the defence to send in dangerous crosses, when they do cross, invariably, it is terrible. How many time has we seen either Clichy or Sagna enter the opponents penalty area with purpose. The goal return from both players is very poor.
In central midfield, Diaby needs to be stronger; he needs to produce his best performance every week, not every other game. This lad has the potential to dominate games, he has the ability to become better than Vieira, and he is more attack orientated and is faster, he needs to gamble more and get into the penalty area where can do some damage to the opposition.
We have the players to turn our performances around, they have the speed, skill, and ability to turn the clock back and once again start to dominate games, to start to create and take those chances. The players need to start playing one touch football, football that sees the team progress forward not sideways.
There is no better opportunity than tonight for Arsenal to turn the clock back to our attacking Wenger ball football.