Saturday, September 01, 2012

'Trust' + Liverpool Preview

Written by William McMenemy

‘In Arsene we trust’ -  A phrase uttered by so many fans on so many occasions and today, that trust is being tested again. Our illustrious leader has put his trust in the current squad, despite the fact it ‘looks’ so…..meh. But looks can be deceiving.

The mythical ‘DM’ that we craved did not come despite the options being there (Essien, M’Bia, De Jong all made deadline day moves) but it seems Wenger has put his trust in the chiselled god that is Arteta. He’s ‘anchored’ the last 2 games while Diaby ticked things along and while Arteta has shown supreme discipline so far, we have lost out on his fine ability to get that ball forward quickly as that responsibility falls on Diaby, who so far has been a bit off it.

Trust has been placed in little Jack’s fitness. The whispers about him are good with some suggesting he’ll return to training within 3 weeks. It is a lot to ask of him to help tick over the midfield but my doubts about him are always washed away by THAT performance against Barcelona. Any doubts will be about his fitness, not ability.

As annoying as it is when Wenger says it, we have lost one midfielder in Song and gained 2 in Diaby + Wilshere this summer. Surely all is not lost? And just because Arteta does not rampage about ’Frimponging’ everyone does not mean he can’t be defensive. If Wenger is placing his trust in Arteta so be it. It’s not like we are going into the season with a raw Song and Denilson back there is it?

People are quite annoyed about our lack of depth at the back but is it all that bad? We have looked relatively solid so far and that’s with 50% of the first choice defence missing. We won’t suffer the same luck that we did last season with the defence. I’m certain of that and I do believe we are seeing a Bould effect right now.

That ‘Bould effect’ also reaches up to the attack. Last season Van Persie scored 30 league goals but we had one of the worst defensive seasons for years. Hypothetically, if the defence were concede 10 less goals this season (which is certainly doable), then we’d only need to cover 20 of Van Persie’s goals. Is it too much to ask of Giroud and Podolski (and Cazorla) to chip in with 20 league goals between them? That’s Van Persie’s contribution covered and personally, I think we will better that hypothetical outcome. I think we’ll concede less than 39 goals  (ten less than last season) and those 3 new players will get more than 20 between them.

The thing the fans have every right to be disgusted with is the lack of ambition. If we wanted to win the league, we would of made signings simple as that. But the league is not the aim, despite what Wenger says publicly.

Our squad is more than capable of a top 4 finish. Patience and a little bit of trust will see us kick on soon enough.

So, this weekend we have a second heck of an away game in a row to contend with at Anfield. This Liverpool team are very Jekyll and Hyde at the moment. They go from playing the champions off the pitch to an almighty struggle against an average Scottish team. I’m expecting the former from them on Sunday. They’ve had just as bad a deadline day as us (if you want to look at it that way) and they will no doubt want to send a message to their fans.

Koscielny’s return will be a sight for sore eyes at the weekend as the potential sight of watching Mertesacker contend with Suarez would be a little to much to bear. Our new style defence will most definitely be tested and it’s up to them and Bould to deliver.

Another plus point is they won’t sit back. This is a home game against Arsenal, they’ll be right up for it and for a team still adapting to Rodgers’ style, little errors and gaps will appear. I’m confident we are going to open our account for the season on the goals front.

I’m just glad the window is over. Time to focus our attentions on the more important stuff, like the actual football on the pitch. The season really starts on Sunday and I for one cannot wait. UTA.


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