Forget the scoreline, we lost the game in the last 20 minutes due to fatigue bringing about some poor defending and loose marking, the lads had nothing left in the tank after two brilliant games against two top teams where we did everything but defend. Arsenal didn’t play on Boxing Day so were very fresh, we on the other hand had just come off the back of a great 4-3 reversal at Old Trafford where we showed we can play again, going into the Arsenal game with the same positive mindset.
Arsene Wenger is no mug and he correctly guessed our game plan and using Walcott they way they did, exploiting our attacking desire and their first goal was definitely straight off the training pitch.
Santon needs to understand he needs to be in front of Colo when defending a high line, especially when the opposition have someone as quick as Walcott in their team. Our defence is currently in total disarray and Captain Colo needs to take a good long hard look in the mirror, he was too far away from Perch all day and I suspect there’s a real problem between him and Pardew at the moment that needs sorting out pronto. His head isn’t on the job in hand at the minute and that’s a worry.
I said last week in my blog (Light at the end of the tunnel and it isn’t a train) that we need to attack everyone we play over the xmas and new year period as they are all games we would expect to get very little from anyway. So going for an all out attacking game plan in an effort to get our passing and fluidity back was definitely the right strategy.
I don’t think anyone would argue we’re not on the right track now after messing about with those futile 4-4-2 formations that lead to us being overran in midfield, cutting off our supply to the front two, and therefore creating nothing.
We’re now generating and converting loads of chances so all we need do now is sort out the defence. I’m now a lot more positive about the future, Pardew has changed tack and there’s plenty of teams to play next year where scoring 2 or 3 against them will be enough to win and get us clear of relegation.
The other issue we have is in relation to how thin our squad is, we had no one on the bench that could have come on against Man U or Arsenal that could have helped the defence or improved our performances, we don’t have any real quality on the bench and that’s our biggest problem.
It will now be a lot harder to recruit top talent in January, who wants to join a relegation threatened team unless a money grabber?
Which top players will be happy without any form of European football to look forward to next year and what top player will be happy with 30-40k a week wages when they can get 60k + a week anywhere else.
However, there’s no doubt we’ll be getting in some reinforcements for sure because next year is the big TV money deal year and the gambler in Ashley will not risk losing out on that revenue by getting relegated, he will invest in new players in the January transfer window and I think he’ll surprise us all.
The defence needs strengthening for sure, why though we’re allegedly still chasing Debuchy is a mystery to me.
Just put Santon at right back, buy a good left back, two centre halves and a centre forward to replace Ba and we’ll be back on track!
I do love it when a plan comes together!