ONWARDS AND UPWARDS
Right. That’s over then. The Transfer Window of 2015.
The outcome? A much welcomed, better, top-drawer goalkeeper and a less welcomed achievement: apparently we were the only club in top-flight European football not to buy an outfield player.
That’s not what I was expecting. Or what I was hoping for.
I could very easily have a right old rant.
But this is Untold and Untold gets behind the Manager. And if some of us can’t quite give the Manager our full support just at this minute, we must (message to self) surely get behind the team regardless.
Would we have maximised our chances of league-winning success with a couple of key squad strengthening players? Almost certainly…yes. Have we fallen back because other teams strengthened? Possibly.
But here’s the thing: We have a squad of very very good, trophy-lifting footballers. Among them a clutch of superstars, some very very promising and improving younger players and other players too who have demonstrated that they have considerable, albeit inconsistent, talent.
There is, surely, the ability still to give it a good go.
And so the emphasis turns from the fax machine and the cheque book to the training ground, to formations and tactics, and ultimately, to performances and winning points. (Mr Wenger, you can come out now, it’s ok, that nasty transfer business has gone away, the training ground you love so much awaits your return.)
So what can our Manager do to regain the form we displayed in the second half of last season? He has the same players and, with just 3 defeats and 3 draws between Dec and May, we were actually on a par with the title-winning form of previous champions.
So far this season, its the chances we haven’t taken that are perhaps the main reason why we haven’t hit that kind of form yet. Goals breed confidence. Missed chances sap it.
Ok, with Alexis the missed chances may be down to mental tiredness. Given his summer and his full-on style of play, that may be not so surprising.
But with Giroud and Theo, perhaps confidence is more of an issue. To be fair to them, it probably doesn’t help that so many of us (including me) express doubts about them. It doesn’t help either that they know their Manager wanted Suarez* and, according to the press, wanted Benzema and then Cavani.
Yep, I know, they get paid good money (add a few very’s in there) and its a dog-eat-dog, competitive footballing world: so hey lads, grow some and show us what you’re made of! But you know, being human, they probably want to hear a few “Naa naa naa na na na naas” and a few ‘Theo-o, Theo-o, Theo-oes” to know they are still loved.
Perhaps too, our Manger has to get to using them in a formation that plays more to their strengths. Giroud hasn’t gotten to play for France and score some cracking goals in the Premiership without having some potent strengths. The volley he scored against Palace was a well taken goal made possible by a midfielder great who knew to hit the ball to the back of Giroud. And he isn’t going to reach the fast cross hit low beyond the back post but he will give you a superbly deft flick at the near one. Perhaps they need a partner-in-crime to build a mutually supportive relationship with, rather than being left to do the up-top job on their own. Two strikers. Why not? I know its radical but hey.
And Theo, you are not Thierry Henry. I know you want to be him but look, he earned the right to stand around, look moody and wait for the gaps. But you have quick runny feet that are quicker than the average slow runny defenders. Why not move around more, unsettle them, make them worry where you are and where you’ve gone. And tell the mids, “Hey, I made that fucking run. Were you even looking you tippy-tappy, sideways passing short-arses!’ Demand some attention.
Look, this is ridiculous, what do I know? Nothing is what I know.
But Theo, have a look at this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CWKoOc0wdb8
Alexis, have a look at this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jYobwhWkd4c
Oli, have a look at this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sp_nCk7I3Ds
Just great, really great, brilliant goalscoring. You did this, you scored those goals. They didn’t happen by accident. Youmade them happen.
And you know that youngster behind you, back there in the DM role, the one whose career was kind of stalling, the one who had been forgotten by the fans** and kinda cast asunder by the Manager… well, needs must, he got another chance and…. took it, big time. With cherries on. Big cherries.
This season, them there cherries are yours for the taking.
So Untolders: Given (obviously) that Arsenal players read this site religiously to hear some friendly positive voices, which of Theo’s, Giroud’s and Alexis’s goals do you admire most?
Editorial extras (just to put the record straight)
* Untold published a significant number of articles throughout and after the Suarez saga to the effect that this was a perfect Vapour Transfer and that Arsenal had no intention of buying Suarez, but every intention of buying elsewhere providing they could work around one or two other difficulties. It could be argued that the whole situation so annoyed the owner of Liverpool that if lulled him into blurting out that despite his assertions to the contrary and his “what are they smoking at the Emirates” jibe that there was a £40m buy out clause. What angered him was that Arsenal had found it, used it, but never wanted to buy the vampire.
** Coquelin was spotted by Untold during his first training camp appearances in Austria and followed ever since. True, we began to wonder a little when the Freiburg loan went messy, but we never stopped saying that this guy was something special.