It was last spring that the Gunners season was on the line, when they had do or die matches. This season it comes in November. Manchester United, Aston Villa, Manchester City and Chelsea are our next opponents in the Premier League. Ironically it comes at just the time when half the team is injured or suspended. Walcott, Sagna, Adebayor, van Persie, Gallas, Eboue, Rosicky, Eduardo are all to some degree damaged goods. We don’t know when they’ll be available and at what level of fitness.
It all seemed so easy in August. A quick glance at the schedule and I thought we had a great chance to break ahead of the pack. Losses to Fulham, Hull and Stoke! Draws with Sunderland and Tottenham. Yes, we’ve screwed up but the team needs to refocus now or else we’ll be in the middle of the table by early December. While Gunner fans are angry and frustrated, they need to support the team at this moment or else it could get a lot worse.
Certain players need to step up their games and show they have the quality to play for Arsenal. Bendtner, in particular, needs to show he deserves the playing time he craves. He’ll probably lead the line for most of November, a perfect opportunity to show what he’s got to offer.
Cesc Fabregas needs to up his game as well. So far this season he hasn’t played his best. We desperately need him to produce. We need Nasri to step up as well. He could be our only genuine wide player for several games and we need the width he can provide.
Song, Diaby and Denilson need to play their best as well. I suspect Wenger will play Song in tough away games and Denilson in the home games. Diaby will probably feature as a fifth midfielder in our away games, similar to the role he played against Fenerbahce.
Wenger should consider playing Djourou in the centre of the defense. Why he didn’t play against Stoke I don’t quite know. Perhaps he should even consider him to play the holding midfielder role (which Djourou has said he’d like to play). The defense needs to pull itself together for these key games. They also need Almunia to take control of the penalty area and show he’s worthy to play in goal for Arsenal.
Will they succeed? Will they succeed and then blow it against a weaker team in December? I don’t know, but the season stands on the edge of a precipice and they need to come together right now. This is time for Arsene Wenger to earn his salary.
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