We can all see it - why can't you, Arsene???

By Avenell Dave

I have a confession to make.

When Manu Eboue had that disastrous cameo against Wigan a couple of years ago, I was one of the frustrated fans who booed him.

I'm ashamed of myself even now.

I was furious at his ineptitude and lack of application, but in truth, the harder he tried, the more mistakes he made.

There are marmite players at Arsenal - always have been, always will be.

Denilson, Eboue, Alex Song, Abou Diaby, hell even Andrey Arshavin divides opinion.

But one player who cements opinion is Manuel Almunia and his performance on Saturday left a lot to be desired.

Some referees would have given a red card to him for the challenge that earned West Brom a penalty and though he atoned with the save, his second half performance was shambolic.

Wenger has put himself in a difficult position.

The concern about Almunia has been clear for some time and if Wenger is to be as strong as he was with Lehmann, the Spaniard has to be dropped.

But with Lukasz Fabianski also lacking the ability to establish himself, will Wenger really show the strength to put in Chesney or Vito Mannone? And would that be advisable?

It makes the failure to sign a decent number one even more ridiculous - and there is nothing we can do about it.

But to blame Almunia entirely for Saturday's disastrous defeat misses the point entirely.

The truth is, Wenger got it wrong.

Without Cesc Fabregas, the side lacked a playmaker - and Diaby showed once again that he lacks the required dedication and application to be a starter for Arsenal.

I'm sure Wenger learnt that he needs more creativty in the middle of the park and despite wanting to protect his new young starlet, he has to start Jack Wilshere, especially when Cesc is unavailable.

The kid changed the game when he came on - along with the only starter to earn his salary, two-goal Samir Nasri - but by then, it was too late.

You can carry one or two off-performances in a team (goalkeeper excluded) but when the likes of Diaby, Clichy, Sagna, Eboue and Arshavin all have bad days, it makes it very hard to win a game.

Sadly, there were signs of the Hull game a couple of seasons back when, whether down to unprofessionalism or tiredness or just a lack of ability on the part of one or two, we seemed to think the game would win itself.

We let ourselves get taken apart with our fullbacks both putting in lamentable displays - and even Laurent Koscielny had a rotten second half, totally justifying his withdrawal.

It says a lot about the manner in which West Brom approached the game that the home fans appluaded them off at the end - they didn't 'park the bus' and they played fair.

They beat us fair and square, and that's what hurts most.

As the geezers who sit behind me said when we went 3-0 down, though - that's not the time to rush out, to start getting on the players' backs and booing.

The players need us most when we're 3-0 down - whoever it's against - not when we're 4-0 up and taking it easy.

I should know - I made that mistake when Wigan came to us a couple of years ago - and I'll always regret it. And never do it again.

Once the game is over, we can moan and complain and debate why and where things went wrong, but not while the players need us.

The next week is crucial - lose at Stamford Bridge and we've got a problem.

Win and this can be put down to a blip.

Who plays in goal could make or break Arsene Wenger and our season.