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The problem was less the sub, more the options

COQUELIN for Giroud with five minutes left provoked chants from the away end of “you don’t know what you’re doing”. If the accusation was that we were settling for a draw when a win was on the cards, I think that was off the mark because we were going for the win.

But if the accusation was that it was a farce that we had no attacker to summon from the bench at such a moment then the complaint is spot on and it is a point I’ve made repeatedly this season: we are woefully short of viable striker options and it is costing us already.

You need to be able to change a game and to do that you need not just attackers but strikers. Gervinho is not such a player and so with Chamakh not even on the bench, it is Giroud or nothing and that simply isn’t good enough.

How can it be when five years ago the manager had Adebayor, Van Persie, Bendtner and Eduardo to choose from? That we were playing with two up front at the time matters little because even if one up there on his own is your default, there should always be the capacity in the squad to go two up front when needed.

It leads, almost inevitably, to talk of a return for Thierry Henry in January. That such a move would make short term sense is utterly depressing frankly. That is anything but a comment on Henry, who I consider the highlight of my football life, but instead an indictment of our situation. We do need a striker – or even two – but not short term options. They should be long term challengers to Giroud.

We’re currently ten points behind, which is if anything less than you might have thought. But ten points after thirteen games equates to 29 after 38 games and a points total in the 50s, which is poor frankly.

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17 Responses to “The problem was less the sub, more the options”

  1. slc gunner says:

    not out worst performance, but certainly not great either. with such a heavy schedule in 2 weeks, i wasn’t surprised to see the changes: one could argue that Gibbs for Vermaelen improves the 1st 11.
    On Henry: agree wholeheartedly that we need a 2nd striker option. I have no objection to Henry being available in the short-term as a 3rd option, but we need another centre-forward. we need that now regardless of the African cup of nations. But if you look at what’s happening in January: out go Gervinho, Chamakh, and possibly the sale of Arshavin. That would leave Giroud, Ox, Theo (and he could go too) and Podolski for 3 spots. So Henry can come in for sure, but only after we buy a quality 2nd striker. We should have more money in the kitty now, but we’ve said that before.
    As for the game, it cried out for a Vieira in his prime, who could have taken a game like that by the scruff of the neck. We need someone who can accelerate through midfield when we’re being pressed back. Jack has a bit of that, but we really need a more powerful player that can play the traditional 4/8 role.
    Arteta was very quiet, and although Ramsey did some ok stuff and tried hard, he hasn’t figured out the deeper role. Too often, it looked like the middle 3 got in each other’s way. Still taking too many touches and slowing down attacks when we should be pushing the ball forward more quickly.
    Interesting choice of back 4 – I thought the two centre halves were our best players yesterday. Vermaelen will need to improve: I think we’ll see the 1st choice 11 on Wed for the Everton game.

  2. Elvis says:

    Walcott would have been an option to be fair.

    But you are absolutely right Goodplaya; we have a board who brag about us being top 5 in the world, but we have a bench that says we’ll struggle to be top 5 in the Premier League.

    The final substitution said it all about the gulf in class that has opened up betwen us and the teams who will win the trophies next May. Can you imagine Alex Ferguson bringing on Ryan Tunnicliffe for Robin Van Persie with five minutes to go at 0-0?

  3. skwam says:

    this situation is a joke, even villa could afford to bench a guy that could easily be top marksman at arsenal…check bents record

  4. George says:

    What was worrisome was most of the possession consisted of triangles between Chesney, BFG and Jenkinson. No outlet, and once again no answer to a team that presses and man marks. Are we REALLY simply waiting for this mysterious person named Diaby to rescue us?

  5. 02ba says:

    Please sell ramsey or send him to fulham for 2 seasons.

    Never will be top class. Way to slow. Yes he has a good brain on the ball but not off it.
    Why would you not play ashavin who was once 3rd bbest player in the world in rhat postition. Yes he can be lazy when we dont have the ball, but he is a goal thhreat. He showed at the euros what he can do. And that was with low confidence..

  6. nico says:

    what a shame,heh featuring ramsey on what grounds?why not playing asharvin intead.what a substitute coq instead of cham heh.disaster,disaster,gunners are we able to go back to our golden days(never).we were supposed to take home three clear points but disaster,disaster,help us lord.

  7. Red Islington says:

    I remember how people replied with anger whenever I mentioned the striker issue a few weeks and a few months back . As this season progresses my points stand clearer . Had we won on saturday and go on to win against everton we would`ve been third place on wednesday . Yes its that easy . But while the manchester teams have three or four top strikers to choose from or play together , we only have one who is still in the making . And our hope is a one month loan of a 35 year old player ? surely not .

  8. Wallace says:

    for the Champions League sides it’s been 2 games a week for 3 weeks now, so i’m slighty surprised at this reaction to an away draw. at home you can get away with it, but the top sides always struggle away after playing in Europe in midweek. that said, i’m baffled Wenger can’t find a place on the bench for Chamakh. he must sign a striker(whether Henry returns or not) and a replacement for Diaby in january. anything less would be some kind of dereliction of duty.

  9. Wallace says:

    ps – the Huntelaar rumours seem like they have something to them. although i’d be surprised if he gave up a shot at this seasons CL to move in january.

  10. strus says:

    @ nico “we were supposed to take home three clear points but disaster,disaster,help us lord.”

    What a moron. Arsenal had 48% chances before kick off to seal a win.

  11. Phil says:

    …it was a good point considering the midweek fixture, travelling away, the weather conditions & Villa were coming back frm a thrashing had a weeks rest and had a lot of fight in them…We’re lucky we didnt lose any players to injury because those were the ideal conditions for tht. So 3points against Everton later this week and we can surely say we’ve turned the corner…some stats I jus read, all top European teams playing in the Champs-lge struggled this Wknd with exception of Barca (dont count Man-u & a few others coz they rested their main squad players in their Champs-lge fixture) so the fact tht we did not suffer any injury & got a point is nothing to moan abt. . . The striker situation will be solved come January, I’m told to believe tht the stupid Board wont Veoto Wenger from a big signing the likes of a Cavani are on the cards….lets see wat happens then

  12. Homer says:

    Worst. Blog. Ever.
    How this is linked from the AFC home site is truly mystifying.

    Nice post: long on rhetoric, short on analysis or logic.
    And a hat full of posters just looking to point fingers.

    Great bunch of supporters ….
    Save Phil. Cheers to you sir.

  13. PD says:

    Homer, check out Untold Arsenal, You’ll get exactly what you want there. (and believe me it isn’t analysis or logic)

    Wallace, not buying those two players – and a keeper – was a derelicition of duty already in the summer. I admire your optimism thinking this will be any different…..

    It’s not the draw in itself that is the issue, or the team that was picked, or the substitution……..it’s the sheer inevitability of this season that is destroying everyone’s morale. Funny how those of us who said we’d be out of the title race way before Christmas were slated & now that we’ve been proved right we’re still being slated……

    slc……you’re 100% right. we were never lower than 2nd in 8 seasons with Paddy in the team. Since then we’ve only had one season where we looked like winning the league – the one with Flamini in the team. I just can’t understand how people don’t get this : Wenger teams without a player like that in the side are just not competitive at the top level. Arteta is simply not the answer there.
    (and no, I’m not comparing Flamini to Paddy in terms of quality before anyone starts)

  14. Wallace says:

    @PD – i would feel far more confident about our chances if we did have a physically dominating midfielder in the team. but beyond Yaya Toure and Diaby i can only think of Pogba at Juve who combines that natural power with the required technical capability. Fellaini, i think, falls short on the latter….Vieira’s are rare beasts.

  15. americangooner says:

    homer – “save phil”???? phil’s reasons, rather excuses, were champ lge midwk and the weather. really? other teams played in europe midwk and every team that played sat did so in the same weather. we def need muscle in the middle! diaby is hurt again 2 wks after he returns and the physio has our players out longer than any other club. take wilshere, sprained ankle depending on the severity will set a player back 6-8 wks at most….jack was out for over a year! the point about enough fire power up front is a fair one. we have to be able to make adjustments during the match and switch to 2 strikers. but, when you look at our bench who do you send in….gervinho, chamakh? the site of those two hardly strikes fear in the hearts of defenders. henry is not the answer. we all love henry for what he’s done for the club but he’s not the answer. i don’t think huntelaar, in my opinion, is the answer either. he’s not terribly fast. he could be a backup for giroud (or vice versa). what we need is a striker that can run at defenders and get in behind them.

  16. PD says:

    wallace, players like Paddy indeed do not come around too often.
    I do wonder though have we (meaning Arsene) come to an over-emphasis on technical ability when chasing players ? Is Arteta technically better than Fellaini ? Yes. But that’s not really the question……would a midfield three of Fellaini/Jack/Santi be better than one of Arteta/Jack/Santi ? Hugely so in my opinion. It’s about balance. It’s not about Arteta’s quality or attitude but he is clearly not the right option for this team in that position.
    We need a hard man in the middle & we need him now. I know it’s a cliche but the results speak for themselves.
    Fellaini, M’Vila, Tiote…I don’t care who he is as long as he’s bought to fill that role. As long we we don’t have that type of player, we will continue not to challenge.

  17. slc gunner says:

    Fellaini is going to be picked up by a big club very soon methinks. He has improved technically since coming to the league. Agree that he would improve on Arteta in that role. Hoping for an off-night for him tonight though.

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