Captain’s Log, star-date new year new me. Scotty pointed out that I’ve put on a few pounds over the last few weeks, so I’ve decided to hit the gym. In other news Scotty’s shore leave has been cancelled for the duration of our 5 year mission.
7 points from 4 games. That’s about right for us at the moment. That’s where we are as a team. Just above average. Some of that is down to injuries/suspension. Some of that is down to the manager. However you look at it, we came through Christmas and it could have been worse, but it was never going to be better.
The festive period was always going to be tough, especially considering that 3 out of our 4 fixtures were away.
If you’d have offered me 7 points from Liverpool away, QPR at home and West Ham and Southampton away I would have taken it. Against West Ham we could so easily have dropped points. QPR with 10 men could have cost us but didn’t. It’s no stretch to imagine that those 7 points could have been 3.
It will pick up for us starting this month. Özil will come back and speed up our game. Giroud will come back from suspension and Theo and Koscielny will get their form back. That’s 4 first team regulars. We can only get better from here on out, provided we don’t lose Alexis. (Let’s all pray we don’t lose Alexis). My big worry about him isn’t even injury. It’s Bayern Munich. Pep Guardiola brought him to Barca. He’s got two wingers in Robben and Ribery who aren’t getting any younger and he’ll be looking at Alexis as a viable target, especially if we don’t make it into next year’s Champions League. Alexis would have figured out by now that we won’t be winning the title or European Cup any time soon. Will he stay happy playing for 4th and a cup run with Pep whispering sweet nothings in his agents ear? We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it I suppose.
Back to the league, our record against other top sides remains abysmal. Liverpool are terrible this year, truly awful, yet we still can’t beat them. We can’t seem to beat anyone with Champions League aspirations or above. We may have beaten Southampton at home in the league, but we’ve now lost away and lost at home in the league cup.
This is our league form so far this season against the six teams who finished immediately around us, Man United, Spurs, Everton, Chelsea, Liverpool and City.
D D D L L D
4 points from a possible 18 is shocking and if you go back to last season it gets worse. Much worse. For this you have to blame the manger. I know that there are a lot of Wengerites who read Gunners Town, but even they would have a hard time explaining this record. You can’t blame money because Everton don’t have any. You can’t blame injuries because United have as many as we do and they still beat us as home. You can’t even blame World Cup hangover, because Chelsea and City had plenty of players in Brazil and they’re doing a fair amount better than we are. It’s the manager. Be it bad man management, not enough players signed in the summer, tactical ineptitude or bad training methods, something has gone wrong, (and has been wrong for a while).
Speaking of bad training methods, Peter ‘Le Grove’ Wood pointed out something Ray Parlour said as being quite pertinent, and I’m inclined to agree. Ray mentioned that he was at the training ground recently and the training hasn’t really changed since he was there. This is important as it shows that Arsene hasn’t kept pace with the game. Look at the stats about how much faster the game is now than when Ray was playing. Are the training methods of 10+ years ago still adequate for today? Do they lead to injuries and turgid performances? Probably. Peter has a very good point, and it goes some way to explaining our current predicament, especially in relation to injuries.
At any rate, our injured players are starting to come back, just in time for Arsene to justify not buying any new players this month. They will help us push on and hopefully we can put a run together. If not we’re in trouble, because things look like they’re clicking into place at White Shart lane.
So it is Hull in the cup next today. I have a bad feeling about this. They’ll be up for a bit of revenge and we’re missing a lot of talent. If we lose this one our season is effectively over and all we’ll have to look forward to will be our annual scrap for 4th, which we might not win this season…