By Avenell Dave
Well done to RvP for scoing his 100th Arsenal goal on Saturday, something he has long deserved and that put a gloss on a workmanlike performance against a turgid Bolton team who will go down if they don’t improve soon.
One thing my esteemed colleague Graham McNorthbank says to me regularly at the moment is that we have no superstars and he may be right.
Without Cesc Fabregas (NOT Nasri who never lived up to that bill), PV4, Pires, Bergkamp, Henry, Wright, Adams, Seaman etc, we miss some star quality, the sort of player that makes opponents tremble and Addicts get out of their seats.
The fact is that it doesn’t matter if we work as a team and start getting results but when we struggle, as we have done this season, it simply adds to the pressure that we have no one to excite the crowd and create that moment of magic that can win tight games.
AA23 was supposed to be that man but I suspect he will be allowed to leave in January or next summer with only a year left on his contract and having played a particularly peripheral role over the past year.
Robin van Persie is a different case and probably the closest thing we have to a superstar.
His scoring record this calendar year has been superb and puts him up there with the best strikers in the world.
The problem, of course, is that he’d probably be nearer to double that figure if he didn’t spend so much time on the sidelines with all manner of injuries which have blighted his career.
Since he arrived at Arsenal, gone is the headstrong agitant and in his place a calm performer whose only red card was that ridiculous expulsion at the Nou Camp that no one in their right mind can justify.
He’s carried us as we’ve gone into a period of transition and without his goals, we would not even have made it into Europe this season.
With a year and a half to go, of course he has to weigh up whether he wants to commit to Arsenal for what will be the final, biggest pay day of his career.
Could you blame him for not committing or even deciding to leave? I certainly couldn’t at this moment in time.
He only has to look at how PV4 and TH14 won trophies in the twilight of their careers by moving to Italy or Spain to see how one last move could make the difference between finishing his career as a winner or as an also-ran.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not for one moment saying that Arsenal have no hope, but we are certainly a team in transition and too many delayed signings and sales have put us in a tricky position where players are yet to fully gel.
We could argue that RvP has a duty to commit to us after the way we stood by him while he was injured year after year (and I fully expect another lengthy absence this season).
But football is not like that. It is a business and a short career and he has to do what is right for him, even if we hope and believe that that means staying with us.
What makes it all the more concerning is that we’re actually terribly weak in attack, with no one else in our squad scoring with anything like the regularity we require.
Would Park or Chamakh get into the sides of any of our rivals?
That, Addicts, is the litmus test for how good our team is and at present, we’re sadly lacking.
What we need to do is integrate as many of the promising young players and new faces into the team as possible, cast T*tt*nh*m aside next Sunday (which will be as tricky as ever) and be thankful that for this season at least, RvP is one of us.