Is it time for Arsenal to reconsider their footballing strategy?

By Avenell Dave

Let's be honest, everyone involved with the Arsenal would have been happy with a draw last night.

Had the Marseilles stadium been completed and an extra ten thousand baying Frenchmen been in attendance, I wonder how the team would have coped.

And when both Santos, with his tricks and lackadaisical attitude and Alex Song were booked early, I feared us going down to 10 men and taking another step back in our bid to find some momentum and form.

RvP had an effort late on and Theo Walcott could have done better when he latched onto a mistake in the penalty area but in all honesty, we looked devoid of ideas.

Arsene Wenger would be justified to talk about our character, keeping going until the end and getting what in all honesty we deserved thanks to Aaron Ramsey's late winner.

Didier Deschamps could lament the fact that even with extra goal line referees, Carl Jenkinson's handball was missed - although we had a good shout for a similar offence from a corner as well.

But while I could not be more delighted by our win, perhaps we need to rethink the club's strategy.

There's no doubt that in the past we've played some phenomenal football, but - dare I say it - so have M*nure and the Ch*vs. It's just fashionable to label us as the stylish side with a brittle backbone.

When there's been a stalemate, a moment of magic from Overmars, Pires, Bergkamp, Henry or Fabregas would get us out of trouble. That's the difference between being good and being great.

Right now, I simply can't see where that magic will come from if RvP is contained.

Andrey Arshavin has been poor for a long time, Walcott has nothing but pace (despite what the Nike ad says) and Gervinho runs into people.

Mikel Arteta is of course a different player to Cesc Fabregas and it would be unfair to compare him. But he was brought in to bring flair to the side and we've seen little of that so far.

Of course, it's easy to forget what upheaval the squad has gone through in the past six months.

New faces include Jenkinson, Santos, Mertesacker, Arteta, Gervinho, Benayoun, Park, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Miyaichi.

That's a hell of a lot of new faces to adjust to a new team, a new ethic and, in many cases, a new country.

But when you look at the outstanding performances last night, most notable were from Song and Laurent Koscielny and it's a shame the latter has made such high profile mistakes. Along with Barcelona, this was his best game for the club and shows what he could do if he found consistency. Or maybe he's just better suited to European football.

Even with Mertesacker having his worst game since he joined, the patched up defence did well to contain Marseilles because they were disciplined.

I don't want us to lose our flair but the fact is, in the last six years we've won plenty of admirers and none of the silverware we possibly deserved.

Perhaps getting the basics right and making a clean sheet a priority will help us regain the aura of a side difficult to beat and make us more competitive with the players we currently have.

With only one striker firing at present and our creativity stymied, not conceding would be a great platform from which to build.

And with Stoke and Ch*vski coming up, two clean sheets would be very welcome.