Thursday, 11 August 2011

Life After Cesc.. Is it all over?

Morning all and what a miserable one it is,

It has been an interesting 6 years. We have gone from being title challengers and genuine contenders to "has been’s" and "also ran’s" in the media’s eyes. It has been a drastic change from the days of the "Top Two" to the "Top Four" and now the apparent "Top Six"! We have changed from a team with a poor disciplinary record who played fast unplayable football to a team close to the top of the fair play charts, renowned for a beautiful passing game. Perhaps one of the worst developments of our image is being described as the "Poor Mans Barcelona" which has sent me into a rage one to many times.

We are at a similar juncture to that of 5 years ago where influential players were leaving and we had to build the team around a new lynchpin. Someone with the ability and mindset to carry the team forward. Just like Vieria before him Fabregas has managed to become everything that encompasses the team. He is the person people look to for guidance and for that little bit of magic when things get difficult. Yes, they both have the same effect on the team despite being so very different. Fabregas could create a chance out of nothing where as Vieria would win the ball back, go on a surging run and drive the team forward, both having the same effect but being completely different. We are about to lose another crucial clog in the wheel that is Arsenal. Will we cope? Or do we just give up and cry?

Let’s start by getting all the technical stuff out of the way. We have finally succumbed to the summer of verbal torture from the Scum and Barcelona has won. Yes that’s right I said they have won. I say they have won, not only because they are taking our most talented player but also because they are paying nowhere near his true value. We are being underpaid for our best player so it is by no means a good day. It seems that we are getting between £25.5m at a minimum to around £35m at a maximum from what I can determine. It also seems that the £35m is made up of additional payments which may or may not come. This is nowhere near the amount of money he is worth especially given the length of contract.

Another effect of this transfer is the fact that this does not send out a good message, not only to the media but to our other players. We have key players who are to enter the last year of their contract and I can’t imagine them queuing up to renew their contracts at the moment. It is unbelievable that this has happened and to me could have been avoided. Had we matched the ambition of some of our best players and not allowed him to get bigger than the club then I feel we could have still hold on to our best player.

A lot of people across the internet, in the media and at homes seem to have all decided that if Fabregas is lost then we have no chance (maybe there is some truth in that if we all just lie down). A lot of people have rightfully demonstrated not only his brilliance for the side but also his importance and what he represents for the club. But Arsenal Football Club was here, challenging before we made him the player he is and we shall surely be challenging long after he joins the scum that is Barcelona.

I am not as convinced that his inevitable departure spells the demise of Arsenal and our chances to win silverware. Granted, it will be almost impossible to replace Cesc with a talent equal to his. I am not denying any potential replacement that has equal/similar ability that may have the same impact is one that we would not necessarily consider buying (not that there are many out there).

I do however feel that this is a very good opportunity to rebuild the team, not around one individual but rebuild the team. At the moment we are composed of a team that needs Cesc or someone in that role to dictate play with the use of great and incisive passing. This means that when we are up against it and we are not seeing as much of the ball as we’d like we have struggled to get a foothold in the game. I am not suggesting we should abandon the beautiful game we have made our own but with some clever tweaking of tactics we can minimise the impact of the loss (as much as it can when you lose your best player).

The first step would be, not to be overly reliant on the role that Cesc occupies. This means not only trying to find the perfect ball but using the players on the wings better, having a go at defenders and going back to a counter attacking style utilising the new found pace we have in the side.

On the surface this sounds like a huge departure from the way we play but we only need to go back 5 years and this was exactly how we were playing. Whilst still being hailed for playing beautiful football we were direct, quick and ruthless. We were not reliant on a 50 pass move to get us a goal every time. It is clear we have, across the team, some very technically gifted players who are very capable of playing this passing game and that should continue regardless who Cesc’s replacement is. All I am saying is perhaps by not building the team around Cesc and his attributes we can again look at some of the other attributes which have bought us success in the past.

I have long been complaining about the lack of pace in the side since we changed the type of player we are after. Whilst we are by no means going for the tall, strong and fast players of not so long ago we are getting a bit more of a combination. The players coming in this window, whilst all technically gifted are all exceptionally quick (I’ve included Miyachi in this) which gives us options unavailable to us in the past few seasons. I know there is a danger of even regarding these players as first team players due to the unnecessary expectations and pressure we heap on these young players but unfortunately it seems like we are going to rely on these players far more than any of us would have liked.

I am not saying Cesc is awful because that would be lunacy as he is one of the most gifted players our great club has seen and that’s saying something. It is clear though, that we have either become overly reliant or overly accommodating to Cesc which either way has left us with one way of playing which is great when it works but awful when it doesn’t.

I feel if we use our new wingers effectively with then a combination of Wilshire, Ramsey, Song, Arshavin, Rosicky, Frimpong and Cesc replacement (Mata?!) in the middle that would give us a good nucleus to build from. Not as strong as this year but not as disastrous as some are suggesting. Accompany this with the additional pace we have we can finally have other options if things aren’t going right. This would not sacrifice any style we have developed over these years but would give us more flexibility.

All of this, combined with a very big IF of Van Persie being fit all season and it is impossible to say we won’t challenge. Call me overly optimistic but I think we would, with the right work ethic, attitude, selections and injuries have a chance to win the league.

Not only are injuries important for us to continue challenging but absolutely VITAL to us having any chance are incoming transfers. I would say that the money from the Cesc sale plus the £20m - £30m we should still have left must ALL be reinvested into the squad. This essentially gives us as much money as any of our rivals and that is not including any income from a likely Nasri sale. It seems we could easily fund the purchase of 2 Centre backs, a left back, another experienced and fast winger as well as another striker. I am not saying it is at all likely but it is certainly possible. We need these players and we could buy superstars with the money we have but I am not expecting that. It is clear to me though that we could afford Sneider and Mata which would be great replacements. Of course it will never happen due to wages and other issues but it is possible and we ARE in a position where we COULD buy these players.

But this is Arsenal, it is impossible to assume that anyone in our team will be fit for the majority of the season nor that we are likely to buy 5 players in the next 20 days. So I am not saying we are going to win the league just feel that this doesn’t have to be as bad as it could be. This is in our hands and as suggested it is not nearly as bad as it could be.

The purpose of this post was to highlight that the situation is nowhere near as bad as we are led to believe by the wider media or even those within the Arsenal media. Like I said in my first post I am a very optimistic fan and as such get carried away. This is likely the case now but at the moment I am going to support my team as best I can and that is with positivity, supporting the manager and getting behind the players we have!

Have a good day and don't let yourself get too down!


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