Seven wins out of our last eight, does that mean we are out of the slump?
I would say no but we are getting better though. Our confidence is building and team spirit is improving but we are still a way off winning the league, FA cup or Carling Cup not to mention the Champions League!
The hard reality is that it may take a season or two to get over the loss of Fabregas, Na$ri and Clichy.
Yes we have brought replacements and given time some of them may go close to replacing these old players but that time is not here yet.
Our worst result for many years is still emblazoned in our minds, I know we had a lot of players missing but 8.2 is a drubbing however you dress it up. Since then we have gone on a little run and the teams we have beaten have troubles the same as us in one way or another, so we can’t start praising ourselves up until we inflict some damage to some of those teams at the top end of the table.
The teams above us are there for a reason, they have set targets for themselves that we must reach but have we got the team to do that?
I don’t know the answer this season, unlike previous ones when I have always thought that our team was good enough to compete with the best in our league. It’s hard to say just where we really are this season as we haven’t had all our best players playing at the same time yet. Injury or suspensions has rendered that question impossible to answer.
Supporters are more upbeat than they have been since the start of the season, seven wins out of the last eight seems to have lifted spirits but we are still not playing impressively.We still hold our breath when we face a free kick but thankfully the players have started to deal with these a little better and supporters may have started to fidget less in their seats but they still expect a calamity to happen any minute.
Dependability has gone out of the window and we have gone from confident side to a team that plays one game at a time.
Wenger has started to introduce his latest crop of youngsters and early signs look encouraging but whether he uses them in the first team remains to be seen.
Per Mertesacker has taken a while to fit in but now seems to be settled in and has started to form a good understanding with Kos.
Arteta, who many had thought was a replacement for Cesc, will never be as there is no replacement for our ex captain, he was a one-off and his pin point passes and defence splitting runs is now just a distant memory. He has done a good job and although he maybe guilty of holding the ball too long but when you have no one running for positions what do you do?
Santos has been used spasmodically but with Gibbs injured so often, he’ll feature more no doubt.
As for some of our longer term players, Mr ‘reliable’ Sagna, injured right now with a broken leg, Alex Song, Mr I’ll run through walls for you is still doing his best and Arshavin, who is not one of my favourites is starting to improve. Mind you, maybe playing him in his preferred position helps!
Robin Van Persie has been like a breath of fresh air, his fitness has improved and he has found the back of the net, enough said, I don’t want to jinx him.
Rosicky has done what he needs to do mostly good but not enough, Theo Walcott ‘I’m not a winger’; well his form has been dreadful! He runs around like a headless chicken, where he’s running to nobody knows. Having played as a winger for four years or so, he now thinks he might be a striker.
A striker he may be but he has a lot of competition and Ju Park has just thrown a spanner in Theo’s works and with Chamakh, Gervinho and not forgetting the Ox and Ryo all looking for a start, Theo may be better off staying on the wing.
Chesney seems to have cemented his place as our No1 goalkeeper and from what I have seen of him, he’s probably the best of the three.
Thomas Vermaelen is again like a new signing and supporters want him back but where to field him? Wenger will have to scratch his head and work that one out. Jack Wilshere has been out since the start of the season and I doubt we will see much of him, maybe the last couple of months.
Aaron Ramsey’s form has started to improve but I think he misses Jack and Chamakh, well he has a lot to do and if he doesn’t soon, I think he’ll be off. Frimpong is in there battling with Coquelin for a place in midfield but both will soon become a fixture I am sure.
We also cannot forget that Diaby is yet to feature this season.
There are more that have started waiting in the wings and from what I have seen or heard about them, it’s encouraging for the future of our club.
Chelsea on Saturday, how are we going to do against a top team?
This is where we see if the team’s confidence is high enough to do battle and come out on top.
We will have to wait and see but with our old nemesis Drogba suspended our chances are far better. Chelsea have an ageing team and reading between the lines not all is well in their camp, you can throw money about all you like but ageing players mean slower players, we have to run them ragged.
I believe we will.
Written by Steve Palmer