Gunners not firing on all cylinders

WATCHING Derby getting whacked 4-0 at White Hart Lane the other week, I found myself wondering who could’ve possibly dropped points previously, to Billy Davies’ pitiful relegation certainties in-waiting.

My question was answered during the first 45 minutes on Sunday, by an utterly impotent Pompey performance, where I hardly recall the visitors venturing across the halfway line before the break.

The South coast side offered slightly stiffer opposition in the second-half, but by the time the edited highlights appeared on the box later that night, the Gunners came across as veritable world-beaters. We’ve looked just as good in TV clips shown of our other games to date and while it might be true that we have seen rare glimpses of greatness, most present will confirm that this Arsenal side is still some way from finding a genuine groove.

I only hope that the electrifying forward play that I’ve seen on TV from the Scousers is a similarly deceptive reflection of their real form. As for the Arsenal, the fact that the Trojan efforts of our full-backs, Clichy and (an out of position) Flamini, made them my only stand-out men-of-the-match, in a 3-1 victory, just about says it all.

Nevertheless, we’ve little cause for complaint (by contrast to so many others), as the fact that we remain undefeated whilst struggling for form, speaks volumes as to the strides made by Wenger’s squad towards the development of the sort of team spirit that Arsène constantly attests to.

As the transfer window came and went, with managers clearing the shelves of players many desperate to blow every last bean of their additional TV income, we witnessed the unannounced arrival of Diarra from Chelsea. Despite Wenger’s frugal tendencies, I wonder if we’d have shown a similar interest in the French midfielder, if it wasn’t for the satisfaction of taking him from Stamford Bridge? Seeing the Liverpool squad that turned out against Toulouse last week, if I’ve concerns about the Gunners, it is that our squad might prove to be somewhat shallow for the ensuing marathon.

The annual high drama of the Champions League draw only served as a reminder of the need for strength in depth, as outings to Seville, Bucharest and Prague were added to our already hectic fixture schedule. When injuries and suspensions take their toll in the months ahead, I can’t help but envisage a time when we might end up having to ‘make do’, with players playing out of position in a patched-up squad.

Then again, according to Arsène’s strict principles he’s only ever going to bring in players he believes will add something to his squad, as opposed to merely bolstering it with more bodies and we should be grateful for Le Prof’s parsimonious attitude — as has been said, you’d think he was spending his own money! On the opening day of the season I watched a succession of interview’s with Man City fans, who virtually all declared that they couldn’t give a monkey’s where the money came from, so long as there were so many millions available for the purposes of producing a team capable of sticking it to their Mancunian enemies.

I guess I’d have to be a Spurs fan to know what it feels like to endure several decades of uninterrupted humiliation. However, I had to wonder at my own moral stance, if faced with the same dilemma and it seems as if the chickens of just such a quandary are all too close to coming home to roost, with the events of last week. Our ex-vice chairman cashed in his chips to the tune of £75 million (€110.9m), while justifying his highly-lucrative actions with the argument that there was no choice for ambitious clubs but to accept investment from foreign mercenaries. Yet it seems that Dein must’ve bit the Ruski oligarch’s hand off, without stopping to ponder the accusations concerning the origins of the fortune belonging to the geezer he was getting into bed with.

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