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In The Recovery Position

It's strange to think of Arsenal in terms of a club undergoing treatment to restore itself to full health but I guess that's been as much the prevailing mood as anything over recent weeks. The underwhelming end to last season, which, lest we forget, promised a great deal at one time, followed by a miserable hangover at the beginning of this has affected supporters confidence as much as, we're told, it has the players.

The summer break saw us stripped, not only of core talent with Fabregas and Nasri departing along with first teamer Clichy but, though much maligned, established squad players such as Denilson, Bendtner, Eboue and Vela were also on their way. With somewhat depressing predictability the start of this season has also seen us robbed of resources as injury removed Wilshere, Vermaelen, Sagna and Gibbs when we need stability most. Six players who joined us in the summer have already played a prominent part in the 13 Premier and Champions League games since the season got underway and many of those six only joined us after the transfer window closed and we`d already played 4 games in both competitions. I guess then 'in recovery' is as good a description of our current state as any.

Watching the Marseille game certainly left the impression of a team not yet at ease with movement at the pace and precision that we've become accustomed to over many seasons, even if the results have sometimes been disappointing. Arteta isn't as incisive as Cesc but you can see other strengths in his game. He takes fewer chances, holds the ball a little longer, plays it a little safer and looks to plug gaps. Though he does have the capability to make a telling pass he also has the experience to sacrifice artistry for the pragmatic needs of the game and will look over his shoulder as well as forward. Many of the qualities we've seemed to miss at key times in recent seasons. Mertesacker is looking more assured in each game and even if he does find himself dumped on the seat of his pants at times that's an occupational hazard for any central defender if he's reading the game properly. Similarly Santos seems a player with lots of natural ability but with enough mileage behind him to curtail that when needs must.

It may be a less entertaining experience watching Arsenal games, at least for the first part of this season but, especially amongst supporters, the appetite for flamboyant risk taking doesn't seem to be there at present. Boring Arsenal may be back in vogue for a while but hopefully the recovery process will enable us to get back the confidence to play the game most of us probably enjoy seeing.

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The Journalist

Writer: Amos Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Friday October 21 2011

Time: 10:38AM

Your Comments

Simular to the foetal one me thinks - Sometimes, when a person has suffered extreme physical or psychological trauma (including massive stress), they will assume the fetal position.
.:LEX:.
The “winning ugly” bit is to restore some confidence to the troubled Arsenal psyche and to get rid of this reputation of perceived defensive vulnerability. In time the players will loosen up, get rid of the creative constipation and start to return to the beautiful game. It’s the week of the Orcs with Stoke and Bolton visiting us and two good results here will give us a sense of belief for the Chelsea game. But slowly, slowly, one step at a time. If we can get ourselves within sight of fourth place by Christmas and a couple of decent signings in January there is no reason why we couldn’t be in the top four by the end of the season.
Sir Henry
All our so called tippy tappy and short passing has won us zilch. I jsut dont care how we win, as long as we win.. However, hold your horses before claiming we are on the road to recovery. Stoke is around the corner.
Sajit
Stoke's 'kick 'em in the face and lob the ball into the box' has won them zilch, too, Sajit.
damiano_tommassi
Do Stoke have the same expectations us then Damiano? If not, then there's not really a point there. We've had a million and one of these false dawns over the last few years, i'm just not gonna get my hopes up again under Wenger I don't think.
shewore
Do Stoke have the same expectations us then Damiano? If not, then there's not really a point there. We've had a million and one of these false dawns over the last few years, i'm just not gonna get my hopes up again under Wenger I don't think.
shewore
Nono, probably not; it's just that sometimes people seem to equate playing ugly with success, and playing beautiful football with failure. So "tippy tappy and short passing has won us zilch" is firstly wrong because our most recent trophy successes under Wenger were gained by playing pass-and-move football, and secondly irrelevant because big players that kick people don't necessarily win games.
damiano_tommassi
It's not wrong, we had a lot more direct and less tippy tappy when we were winning stuff. We just had the right balance and far superior footballers.
shewore
You make a very good point about Arteta, who I've really liked. It's worth pointing out that it's essentially Ramsey that has played Cesc's old role. He has 2 goals and 3 assists in just a touch over 8 games minutes wise. He's getting there and was in the right place at the right time in the box on Wednesday. I still think this could be like 08-09 where we recover by increasing our defensive solidarity until the attacking players click. None of Wednesday's starting back 5 had represented Arsenal 18 months ago, which is another point worth making.
Little Dutch
I'd love singing "1-0, to the Arse-a-nal" till the end of the season if that's what it takes to restore all our confidence. I'm looking forward to seeing what Mertesacker can do against the Knuckledraggers this weekend too!
Rocky7
I don't think Arteta holding on to the ball longer than cesc is a strength. As soon as cesc received his head was up looking to play the early ball if it was there, one glaring opp against marseille where the instant through ball was on to Perse who had arms outstretched begging for the pass, he chose to dribble/dawdle, chance gone. One area where I'd love him to improve but I don't think he's ever had that facet really so it won't suddenly materialise now.
nikolaijns
damiano, so we played tippy tappy with Pires, Henry and Vieira in the team.. I didnt know...
Sajit
Damiano, I didnt say we should play like Stoke.. What I meant was exactly what shewore meant.. We have had far too many false dawns.. So dont even think that we have turned a corner..not yet. Ill say we have when we finally win a ******** trophy.
Sajit
PLEASE stop this "turned a corner" stuff-I hear our players saying it too, I wish they'd stop. It just puts on more pressure for this fragile squad and as others have pointed out we've heard it so many times before only to be disappointed. I don't believe in any "turned a corner" stuff after a couple of wins. One game at a time. I'm just taking it one game at a time. I don't care how we play, I don't care if it's unconvincing, if it's a horrible game and we play the worst football known to humankind, just fkg win. Just win, that's it. JUST WIN THE GODDAMNED GAME AGAINST THAT TOWELRUGBY ARMY OF MORLOCKS AND ORCS. (sorry to all you morlocks and orcs out there: I realize you're prettier and smarter).
jaelle
I like the passion jaelle!
Sir Henry
 

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