By Avenell Dave
It’s been a tough few days for everyone involved with Arsenal.
The great transfer mystery, the reasons why big names, quality players, have not been signed and why we find ourselves in this mess.
As my neighbour at Emirates said this week, there are dark clouds hanging over each and every one of us, a sense of betrayal and frustration that we are not being competitive because of the failure to make the most of our resources.
We will probably never know the full story of this summer and it’s far harder to speculate compared to previous years when money was too tight to mention.
There’s no doubt that most of us have been really patient over the past few years but the lack of world class players, many of whom are lauding it elsewhere, smacks of the sort of mismanagement that blighted us in the 1970s.
Whether this was always the strategy or whether our people cannot conclude deals in the way our North London rivals seem able to is a matter for discussion but the key now is to bring in the right players, top quality players, as soon as possible.
Right now, we have to dust ourselves down, get behind the team and hope that Saturday was a low point in a season that will finally deliver.
Turkey is no easy place to go and Fenerbahce have players such as Raul Mereiles and Dirk Kuyt who did ok at Liverpool.
The atmosphere will be white hot and we will need to be patient.
Arsene Wenger may have a point when he says that playing away can be a positive.
If we come away with an away goal or two, it will have been a good result and I’m sure we can do so.
We just need to ensure that we get no more injuries, that players don’t get suspended and that we show the same level of focus that we did in our last Champions League game against eventual winners Bayern Munich.
As far as the team goes, if the players in the squad are fit, I would keep it much the same as Saturday’s starting line-up.
The only change I’d be tempted to make is to put in Cazorla in place of Theo Walcott and give him a roaming role, even if he looked short of fitness on Saturday.
Walcott was diabolical when the game went against us, lacking the fight and focus real winners should naturally have for 90 minutes. I suspect he’ll play but I’d be tempted to show him he can’t take his place for granted.
A final word for Laurent Koscielny as well. We all lament the lack of a defensive midfielder which certainly played a part in Villa’s first penalty on Saturday.
But Koscielny dived in and was left kicking air when he had the chance to boot ball or man and while everyone makes mistakes, I do hope he remembers that standing up and showing a forward one way of the other is preferable to diving in and getting mugged or, as was the case later on, giving away a soft penalty and two soft yellow cards.
Sagna Mertesacker Koscielny Gibbs
Wilshere Ramsey Rosicky
Cazorla Giroud Podolski