Sunday, August 31, 2014

After Leicester comes the poker

In his press conference before the 1-1 draw at the King Power Stadium, Arsene Wenger described the last day of the transfer window as being like a game of poker. If the Gunners’ performance against Leicester City is anything to go by, the Arsenal boss needs to get his game face on and have a few winning hands on Monday.
This blog does need a slight disclaimer, as for the first time in a long time, I was unable to watch the game live so was listening to BBC Radio 5 Live. To be honest, I don’t have much of a desire to watch the 90 minutes back.
All that the match seemed to do was just reinforce the obvious and whip some supporters up into a frenzy and demand action on transfer deadline day. Yaya Sanogo, at this stage in his career, isn’t good enough to lead the line for Arsenal in the Premier League while Olivier Giroud is out injured. It’s not for a lack of effort from the lad, he’s just not good enough or confident enough at the moment.
At the back, Arsenal remain one injury away disaster. Only having six players to cover four positions in a season is careless. After Laurent Koscielny suffered an injury that led to him not being able to defend well enough for Leicester’s equaliser, all four of Arsenal’s only fit defenders were on the pitch. As much Giroud’s injury has increased the need for a striker and has dominated the back pages and the discussions among supporters, the need for a centre back is definitely a more pressing one. Arsenal were fortunate to make it through last season with seven defenders in the squad. On the face of it, it looks like very poor planning to only have six this season.
The other thing that was constantly mentioned during the game was the need for a holding midfielder. Mathieu Flamini had a good game on Wednesday against Besiktas, but then struggled at Leicester. With Mikel Arteta returning soon, the need is less pressing, but a good holding midfielder wouldn’t go amiss either.
Honestly, part of me hates myself for even writing this blog because so much has been written and said about a centre-back, defensive midfielder and a striker in the last few days that it’s becoming boring. I was getting annoyed listening to the radio and having Robbie Savage mention the transfer window every time the ball ran away from Sanogo or when Leicester ran through the area that this mystery tall, powerful, destructive DM would. But, improvements or additions in those positions do have the potential to make a huge difference to Arsenal’s season.
It’s not often I write a negative blog, but having not watched the match it’s hard to pick out many positives from it, but my hope is that the needs seem so obvious that Arsene Wenger has to do something about it on deadline day. It’ll be incredibly frustrating if he doesn’t, because this team aren’t that far from being able to really challenge for the league. Those final additions could be the thing that gets Arsenal over the line. I don’t know how much Arsene Wenger gambles when he plays poker, but surely he’ll know that it’s too much of a gamble to leave the holes in the squad going into the bulk of the season. It’s time to play your cards Arsene. You’ve got 24 hours.