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Several factors have contributed to Arsenal’s poor form this season.

Summer Transfer
It was widely agreed that Arsenal needed a new striker, a wide midfielder (owing to the sale of Pennant), a central midfielder (Edu leaving on a free transfer), and a centre back.

AW signed Hleb but then allowed Vieira to leave.
The club started the season in a worse position (in terms of manpower) than when we had finished the previous season. It was hard to see how the team was going to make up the gap on Chelsea with no new players.

Vieira Factor
Patrick did not play all the games last season, in fact in our opening games it was Gilberto and Cesc who formed the CM partnership. It was PV’s presence on the pitch and in training that was important. PV would lead the other players forward and would form a solid rock in CM.
His departure left the players shell-shocked, a sense of disbelieve. This is something they have not come to terms with and are still trying to rationalise the decision instead on moving forward.

Top Players not Performing
It could be associated with the departure of PV or the lack of new signings, but too often Pires, Ljungberg, Campbell, Bergkamp and Gilberto have failed to play anywhere near their best. Their appears to be no link-up play between defence, midfield and attack,

Injuries
This season has to go down as the worse season in terms of injuries.
To lose Cole at LB was bad enough as he was always trying despite fans feeling he might be playing his final season at the club. The LB situation gets worse as his able deputy Clichy was also injured. AW resorted to playing Cygan at LB. This deprived us of any forward momentum on the left side, always our strongest attacking side with Cole-Pires-Henry. The LB situation got worse with Cygan being injured and Lauren, Sendeross Larrsson and Flamini also playing at LB (the last two are midfielders).
The problems of the left then moved to the right. Lauren picks up an injury, but that situation was aggravated when his able deputy Gilbert (still 18) was also injured.
Some of the senior players have also been out for Bergkamp (almost every other game), Pires, Ljungberg and Campbell.

Thierry Henry
TH is the club’s talisman. The fans idol, a goal-scoring machine. TH was not happy about Vieira’s departure and soon announced that he will not discuss a new contract until the summer. This lead to rumours and insecurity around the club.
TH was made captain, but he seems to spend most of the time sulking or berating his colleagues for the poor passes.
However, Henry being Henry, still proceeds to break the club record, though he is not playing at his best. He announces he wishes to stay at the club yet he does not sign a new contract. The feeling on the terraces and with the fans at large is that Henry is playing out the season and will leave in the summer. If this is the case then he will go down people’s esteem. He announced he wishes to stay, and then he should stay and sing a new contract or go and speak to AW and tell him he wants to leave in the summer. This will give AW time to find a replacement.
Henry has given us many years of pleasure, of amazing goals and wonderful football. The fans adore him, but he must be honest with us and we will respect him for that, whatever the decision is.

January Signings
In January, Arsenal signed several youngsters, Armand Traore (16-year-old French defender), Carlos Vela (16-year-old Mexican midfielder), Theo Walcott (16-year-old English attacker), Abou Diaby (19-year-old midfielder), Emmanuel Adebayor (21-year-old Togo striker), and today Carl Parisio (16 year old French defender). This shows AW’s trend in signing youngsters and this will always be appreciated. Add to that list Alexandre Song, 18-year-old Cameroon midfielder.
Some of these signing, Adebayor and Diaby should have joined in the summer and played alongside Vieira.
What is lacking from the list of signings are players in 23-28 year old category, experienced players to help the youngsters progress.

Style of Play
Arsenal under Wenger have always played quick passing attacking football, players dribbling past their opponents. This has not happened at all this season. We have gone instead for 4-5-1 where the emphasis was not to get beat, but where we have lost the ability to create chances once the opposition scores a goal.
With the introduction of Adebayor we have played too many long balls in the hope he will do something. This is fine if you have players joining up with the attack, but too often the midfield is sitting 10-15 yards behind the strikers leaving them isolated.
The team needs to play as a unit, link up better, and pass the ball to each other quicker.

Plus Points
Robin van Persie has emerged as a great talent. He has an eye for goal and score from any position on the field.
Kerrea Gilbert has been thrust into first team football but he has coped well, He is an attacking defender as shown against Everton and Wigan with great runs behind the defence.

Rest of the Season
The first aim is to get Clichy / Cole fit. Once we have our left side back in operation, this will encourage Pires / Reyes to link up with the LB and Henry and create the havoc we are used to on the left side.
The club needs to get van Persie fit. Too often he has played 4 or 5 games only to be injured for 3 games.
With the players back to fitness, there is no reason why the team cannot finish in the top 4 and claim that Holy Grail – Champions League football. A UEFA Cup place could be beneficial in the long term for the players. They will be playing against lesser team with not so much attention (though it will ruin my Thursdays!). A good UEFA Cup run will be better than a mauling in the Champions League.
Whether or not we past Real Madrid in the CL will depend on which Arsenal and which Real turn up.

Summer 2006 Activity
This summer will determine which direction Arsenal will go. The right signings will see us challenge Chelsea. Another summer with a lack of signings will see us challenging for a UEFA Cup place.
We will say a sad farewell to Bergkamp and Pires in t the summer. Both have been great entertainers and footballers at the club.
The summer could see the departure of Henry and much doom and gloom will be prophesised around the press, but supporters must hold firm and believe that Arsene has a plan.
Other departures will be Cygan and one or two goalkeepers.
The future of Campbell is still unsure and we must prepare ourselves either for his departure / retirement this summer or in 2007.
Wenger has signed a whole clutch of youngsters and add those at the club Reyes (22), Clichy (20), van Persie (22), Senderos (21), Djourou ( 19), Eboue (23), Flamini (22) etc, what we require in the summer are some experienced players.
A centre back to help guide Senderos, Toure, and Djourou .
A central midfielder or probably two, a definite target should Nolan of Bolton. This will add some steel to the team and an English player.
A wide player. Pires will leave, Ljungberg’s power is on the wane, leaving Reyes and Hleb.
IF Henry stays we will have 3 strikers, meaning 1 signing is required. If Henry goes, we will need two strikers and two top quality strikers at that.

Failure to sing the experienced players will see us go through another disastrous season.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Jern Lizardhous said:
that's just an excerpt from Panicios book, it will be in the shops next week. :thumbsup:
:thumbsup: Written in a moment of anger and deep reflection.
 

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So what would your 06/07 Arsenal team look like Panicos? As well as your bench, since you have a big jump to make to equal Chelsea.
 

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it's about to start playing some good football for me, the placings are irrelevant, i just want to see some good stuff, i miss it. :hopefull:

it's about moving the ball fast, passing well, being competitive in the middle of the park, all the things that the Arsenal built their name on. :proud:
 

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We can not play AW football when he is not able to field his first 11 since May 2004. Our best football is based on constant movement both on and off the ball. It was the new generation of total football, based on almost telepathic understanding
among every member of the Arsenal. Now we're just a mash unit trying to re-learn the basics of the game be it passing, marking, tracking your man etc etc

In order to get back to that hey day of Arsenal we need a fit side, can not continue to rotate so many positions week in and week out. Secondly we will need months of training to produce that sort of trust and undestanding among the squad before we will come close to producing the 03-04 era of dominant Arsenal.

Sadly a WC year does not help in the least.
 

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good work mate. right on the money. hope we can sign some experienced players in the summer.

if henry goes, that will leave us with a ton of cash available for wages. would we perhaps go for a high profile signing?

michael ballack would be nice! dont see AW signing him though. he's over 20 years old.
 
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