Now What?

The transfer window has closed. We have not bought any new players. Many fans are disappointed. Many fans feel let down. Many fans have lost faith, again.

I have been told more than once that I am a Wenger apologist. I have been told that I fail to see the folly in the man’s ways. I have been told to take off my “Arsenal tainted specs”.

Such is the effect of my adulation for our great manager that it grates the nerves of foe, neutral, and fan alike.

The reality is that my reverence for Arsene Wenger is not a deterrent to logical, fair judgment. I was a shite player, but I’ve played with and against some very good players. I watched, listened, and learned from them so I do have a modicum football knowledge. My football education hasn’t been Ivy League but I humbly say that I can at least hold a discussion about the game.

That Arsene has chosen not to or maybe he was just unable to sign new players does not lessen my belief in this group. It certainly doesn’t suddenly make me a non-believer. Wenger has said repeatedly that he trusts his players. He has stated that he believes they can win. Can they? Is Eboue good enough to wear the Arsenal shirt? Is Manuel Almunia trustworthy? Are Denilson, Alex Song, and Abou Diaby good enough to match Gerrard or Lampard and Co.?

These are the questions on the minds of non-believers.

Wenger has also said that ‘in this job’ you cannot let yourself believe that you are what you hear from outside sources. You must believe in yourself and what you can achieve. But of course you have to be good enough. That is what really matters.

If you put my head in a guillotine and asked me whether or not we’re good enough to win the league as presently constituted, I’d say yes. I am convinced that we have enough goals in us to win. In midfield and in the offensive third, we can match or outplay any team in England. What I am not convinced of is if our central defence has enough depth – Johan Djourou is quietly as sick note as almost any other Arsenal player. I would prefer another full year of development for him with a top level CB brought in to solidify depth in that area.

What I am not convinced of is if Manuel Almunia can win us games when it really matters.

I am not saying this to win points with The Negatives, but Arsene is guilty of neglecting defence in general. I understand that his philosophy is closer to ‘you score 3 and we’ll score four’ than it is to the George Graham model, but I would love to see a world class keeper behind no nonsense world class defenders.

To win the league, we’ll have to do it scoring goals as opposed to defending them. That’s probably how Wenger really wants it.

Note: As already stated, Almunia did attempt to communicate with Diaby on Giggs’s cross Saturday.


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