Sadly, it seems that’s all we have to talk about now with three games left, besides maybe what kind of irreverent celebration Adebayor will attempt on Saturday in what would be a rare bout of serious physical endeavor on his part (it all really depends on whether the previous day was payday or not). To put things in perspective though, win or lose, the reality after 90 minutes will be that we, Adebayor’s former team, will be sitting (fairly) comfortably in Champions League football territory while Citeh continue to battle for fourth spot. That’s an indirect way of saying things could be worse.
But I’m not about to wax philosophical in an attempt to cover the train wreck that was last week. Arsenal’s performances haven’t been pretty in the last couple of months, but they have exhibited a fighting spirit and, at the least, a kind of last-minute resourcefulness (Hull, Wolves, oh heck every game…). In disastrous fashion, those redeeming characteristics deserted us and in turn exposed a serious lack of quality last week, first in a tame performance (by most: not you, Sol, Gael and Robin) against Sp*rs and then again in a spectacular capitulation against Wigan. In regards to next year, some players are very close to achieving consistent, world class status and filling this void in quality. And then there are others…
Like Almunia. Sorry Manuel, but at this point roughly ¾ of the teams in the Premiership currently possess a better goalkeeper than we do. And we’re in third place. I’ll be the first to admit that hearing the “what if” hypothesis is wearing a little old, but you simply have to concede that two, if not at least three to four more results would be different with the likes of a Hart, Gordon, Schwarzer, Friedal, Howard, Sorenson, etc. etc. etc. between the sticks. The same could also be said not so much of a particular player but instead for several areas of the field, specifically the spine that has only at times run through this season’s squad. The Vermaelen, Song/Fabregas and van Persie backbone has proved to be effective. Pity then that this alignment of key players has only occurred about as frequently as a lunar eclipse.
In order for Arsene to fix this it’s going to require, horror of horrors, finally splashing a good chunk of the £30+ million at his disposal, because what Arsenal needs now is players who have long ago emerged from the cocoon of potential (you know, like the one that has enveloped Theo Walcott since birth) and have proven themselves to be world class on a consistent basis. I know, I’m stating the obvious. But then again, it seems that common knowledge on the virtues of squad depth only intersects with the wisdom of Arsene Wenger at frustratingly irregular intervals. It may not be sexy, it may not be cheap. But possessing a squad with at least one to two seasoned, capable backups in key positions has worked pretty well for the likes of Chelsea and Man U over the last five years (and not just in the Premiership, too).
So here we go, three games left and nothing to play for save pride. We can recoup a sizeable amount of that with a win against the Dubai Beneficiaries XI this Saturday. Rest assured that Arsenal Review USA will be sliding on its knees (on carpet, even…ouch) at every Adebayor close up, but of course to give that particularly painful celebration any real meaning we’ll need to score some goals first. I predict a free-for-all a la Barcelona at the Emirates, albeit with us emerging 3-2 victors this time round. Join Arsenal Review USA as we catch up with Mark from the Bay Area Gooners for his prediction as well, in addition to an informative look at Arsenal America’s travel system and recent road trip, compliments of Josh from the Charm City Gooners.
Hang in there! Three games left…three games to win!
Up the Arsenal!