Season Analysis, Summer Improvements Needed, 2008/09 Predictions

By K-PO, Proud Hardcore member of the Gooner Forum.

So it was a season of two halves for the Arsenal this term. From August to early January we dominated practically every game, played brilliant football, and lost only twice in all four competitions, all of which we were still involved in at that point. The highlight of these four months was the 7-0 victory versus Sparta Prague where we played better than Brazil in the ’70’s and Walcott got his first Champions League goals.

Then three events saw the beginning of Arsenal’s downfall.

  • Tuesday, January 22, Arsenal’s 5-1 loss to Spurs
  • Saturday, February 16, Arsenal’s 4-0 loss to Manchester United
  • Saturday, February 23, Eduardo breaks his leg against Birmingham
Starting with our dismantling at Spurs, between then and our last fixture of March, the win at Bolton, we have nose dived in terms of results. We drew 6 times in all competitions, against AC Milan, Birmingham, Aston Villa, Wigan, ‘Boro, Liverpool, and Liverpool. And we lost against Chelsea. Then the final blows were dealt.
  • Arsenal’s 4-2 loss against Liverpool at Anfield
  • Arsenal’s 2-1 one loss to Manchester United at Old Trafford
So three depressing events let to our season ending. Two were avoidable, one wasn’t, and if one hadn’t happened, we could have been winning the title, not Man Utd. Also, we exited from both competitions because of questionable penalties.
Basically we need to look at the time when we fell apart, February to April, Birmingham to Man Utd, and ask our self what happened. Well here are all the results
Birmingham: 2:2 Game of Eduardo’s injury. McFadden 29, 95, Walcott 50, 55
Aston Villa: 1:1 Senderos og 28, Bendtner 94
AC Milan: 2:0 First English Team to win in San Siro. Fabregas 85, Adebayor 92
Wigan: 0:0
Boro: 1:1 Aliadiere 25, Toure 86
Chelsea: 1:2 Sagna 58, Dorgba, 72, 82
Bolton: Taylor 14, 44, Gallas 63, van Persie 69, Fabregas 90
Liverpool (UEFACL): 1:1, Adebayor 24, Kuyt 26
Liverpool (EPL): 1:1 Crouch 42, Bendtner 54
Liverpool (UEFACL): 2:4 Diaby 13, Adebayor, 84; Hyypia, 30, Torres 69, Gerrard, 85, Babel 90
Manchester United: 1:2 Adebayor 48, Ronaldo 53, Hargreaves 73
Now, one of two things happened in everyone of these games. 1. We went in front and ended up drawing or losing. 2. We went behind and then could only get a draw.
So, moving onto the the topic of this summer, what could we do to make sure that doesn’t happen again? Well, to find that out, we have to ask ourselves a few questions. What do you need to keep a lead, or come from behind to take the lead?
For Question #1, you need a solid defense. Clichy-Toure-Gallas-Sagna has one weak link. William Gallas. He is not a leader, nor a true Arsenal style player, nor a good partner to future legend Kolo Toure. We need a huge, dominating, no nonsense, inspiring centerback, a new Sol Campbell. That could be anybody, but I expect Wenger to sign a center back, even if it is just as a replacement for Senderos. Next, you would need a Defensive Midfielder, experienced and inspirational, to break up opponent’s moves, and start counter attacks. This player will be first on Wenger’s list for this summer.
For Questions #2, you need goals from midfield, and reliable goal scorers up front. Up front we have three reliable scorers in my opinion in Bendtner, van Persie, and Adebayor, and Eduardo, is he makes a full, healthy return. However, more importantly than reliable strikers, is goals from midfield. Three of four midfielders should be giving regular goals. Rosicky (when fit) and Fabregas are the only ones that can do that right now. However, I have faith in the emerging Walcott to become a regular goal scorer on the right wing. Hleb and Eboue cannot offer us regular goals. I’m just hoping Rosicky’s surgery works.
So my dream team for next year is this:
—-Adebayor—van Persie—-
—–Fabregas—Y. Toure——–
bench: Fabianski, Song, Gilberto, Vela, Bendtner/Eduardo
Second Team:
Bench: Mannone, Nordtveit/Bartley, Merida, Gibbs, Barazite
If van Persie’s injuries continue I think Eduardo should take his first team spot for 2009/10, and Bendtner will come in on the the bench. If Rosicky’s injuries continue, he will be replaced my Carlos Vela, if he is a success in England.
I think that this squad has the perfect blend of youth and experience, and has a good enough second team. This team will challenge for the title next year, to the very end, and i predict AT LEAST second place in the League, and probably another trophy else.

13 Responses to Season Analysis, Summer Improvements Needed, 2008/09 Predictions

  1. coys says:

    your allowed 7 subs just to let you no.

  2. josh says:

    Nice article. I agree we need a no nonsense defender 2 partner kolo or gallas, doesnt matter which 1 really becos they r both good defenders but cant head so need a partner who can head and b no nonsense. Also, we need more goals frm midfield like u say, a goalscorin winger like ben arfa wud b magic. adebayor has 2 go, end of for me, he is clueless, sell him 2 italy for 15-20 mill and direct replacement in villa and cud get silva aswell cos valencia r shit. signing those type of players will instantly transform us 2 title winners, no doubt. finally, walcott and vela hav the potential 2 b the next big things and i cant wait 2 see them next year!

    My dream team: Almunia clichy toure richards sagna silva fabregas song hleb persie villa subs: fabianski gallas rosicky walcott vela adebayor eduardo

  3. the little mozart says:

    Barry seems to be the flavour of the month, but is overrated in my opinion and his englishness will make him vastly overpriced.
    i believe we need a physical, 6 foot plus ballwinner for the dm position, something we havent really had since vieira left.
    it looks like ben arfa will come (unless this is another wenger smokescreen), and so with him and vela arriving, the left wing position is well covered.
    If hleb leaves, he will need replacing: kranjcar has been touted but im not sure if he is of the necessary quality and would be expensive. At least he can shoot though! alternatively rosicky could be moved to the rm position if he is ever fit again.
    Finally, Gallas is a world class player, its just that he and toure are very similar. we definately need a dominating campbell-esque cb, i suppose well find out who soon enough

  4. Really that’s your dream team?
    Ill garuntee you now that gallas will still be in the team and Barry will not. Arsene will get a new center back, a winger, and attacking midfielder.

  5. Ja_Gunner says:

    Hey I think the teams look good. I would have Ben Arfa though as well cuz you can never predict with Rosicky. Also I dont know if Diaby has enough patience, I hear he really wants a first team spot. If he is second team I feel he will ask to be sold.

    Unless Arsene can convince him to spend one more year on the second team and develop his confidence and defensive abilities. He has all the attributes to play in the central except the defensive side.

    Also it seems you assume also that Hleb is definitely gone. If he goes we can also look to add a player that has his technical gifts so we can switch from the direct to possession game if necessary. So I say we could also try to get Miralem Pjanic or Nuri Sahin.

    You can critique my response if you wish.

  6. charlie says:

    Big central defender………Patrick Viera on the way back. Some time ago Wenger spoke of him that he will be a great central back at the end of his career.

  7. Ryan says:

    I really can’t see us signing Barry.

    It’s an awful lot of money considering Wenger has bought/made countless better players for a fraction of the price.

  8. norfbank says:

    micah richards all the way

  9. timao says:

    Some Czech doctor has been saying all season that Rosicky needs an operation and our medics refused to accept it. But now he’s having an operation. I know our guys and Gary Lewin in particular did a great job reacting to the Eduardo injury. But maybe our long-term handling of players with these muscular problems of the type that have hampered Rosicky and RVP needs reviewing?

  10. hr says:

    we’re not gonna get barry but yaya toure is a posibility

  11. will says:

    Your plan weekens the squad too much. We need one winger as it is, and if Hleb and eboue leave we will need 2 (ben arfa and nasri being my choice).

    Also. don’t know why you rate toure so much, his positioning and concentration lets him down far too often. Gallas is by far the better defender with a lot more experience. If gallas is partnered with a “terry like” defender such as mertesacker we will be unstopable. we have seen how good that partnership was at chelsea.

  12. I agree with you of dream teams. Your teams are very good because season ago, center back had problem and there were not attacking midfielder who was strong and support center back. In new season, Arsenal should look for reliable center back who is strong and prudent. New attacking midfielder who will be encourage center back. He is strong, tall and barve (In the past, there were Patrick Veara)
    Those are not enough. Arsenal will get anew center back and attacking midfielder more than now because in Decamber to Fabruary, players are wounded every season.

  13. robson says:

    Micah Richards is a must signing. Young, Strong, Quick, ENGLISH, Winner. Will be Captain within a couple of years without a doubt. Yes he will cost alot of money (around 20 million) but he will give us at least 10 years!! 2 million a year is nothing for a player of his calibre. But no, i know we will not buy him, we’ll buy some french or african player of potential for peanuts and he wont be as good. I can see him joining either Man Utd or Chelsea and if that happens then Arsene Wenger is to blame because the boy is a massive Arsenal fan, if he had the choice of any club he would go to Arsenal.

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