Man City 3 – 0 Arsenal: Ireland 45, Robinho 56, Sturridge (pen) 90 Highlights here..
Yesterday we saw a second defeat in a row for an Arsenal side which was very poor. Yes, we had several first teamers out, and yes, Gallas has put the club and captaincy into turmoil, but you would have expected more against a side who have struggled to win games this season.
Almunia was named as captain as Gallas didn’t travel. We conceded 3 relatively soft goals, but it could have been more really. We had one good chance after Ramsey came on and put Bendtner through, but apart from that it was a poor game.
Wenger looked resigned to defeat, and the players just couldn’t get a grip on the game, even Clichy was making uncharacteristic errors, a mix up between him and Silvestre allowing Ireland to get the first goal just before half time.
We might have been better starting Ramsey, because he was the best player in the second half after he came on, and putting Song to CB with Djourou at RB. That might have added some creativity, because for most of the game we had none.
Our squad is threadbare at the moment – Toure, Sagna, Fabregas, Rosicky, Eduardo, Walcott, Adebayor were all unavailable, and they are all first choice players for me, not to mention the fact that Gallas isn’t going to play any more. I applaud Wenger for dealing with Gallas and I think a new captain will do us good but there are some problems in the squad which have been apparent during the building of this new generation.
We don’t have the strength and depth to play at the top at the moment. Our team this season is probably the weakest that we have ever had under Wenger – conceding 18 and losing 5 before December shows you have far we have fallen.
I think the first team would be acceptable if all the injured and suspended players mentioned above were fit and playing, but we still would have very little depth in the squad. Players like Denilson and Song aren’t ready, neither was Hoyte yesterday, and at the moment Bendtner doesn’t have the quality to be a first team player either.
Wenger is a fantastic manager, but he seems to have got himself into a bit of a mess. Losing Flamini, Gilberto, Diarra and Hleb last season was disastrous, and we haven’t got a midfielder who can fit the defensive role.
Leadership is another problem, Gallas has exposed some deeper problems in the team, and I think we need to make a clean start, bring in two or three new faces in January, name a new captain (Fabregas?) and get on with trying to build a successful team.
Obviously we are lacking in confidence, but we have gone from a team which was last year only a few points away from the title, to one which now may struggle to get 4th place.