It seems that everyone wants experience these days, the Arsenal squad is apparently full of kids that will not challenge for trophies. Even cannot in some people’s minds. Yet no-one defines this ‘experience’ they desire, no-one tells us where it comes from and more importantly, none of the names I’ve seen suggested carry the ‘gravitas’ that you would normally expect to see in such cases. Ryan Babel? Talented player but anymore experienced than Tomas Rosicky? No. Talented – Yes, a more natural left sided player but not more experienced. Curtis Davies in for William Gallas? Please. Let’s be serious when naming players we want in, ones who are going to improve the side. You may think that Gallas is opinionated and out for himself but replacing him with a player who has spent one season in the top flight? How on earth is that going to make things better? Oh, I see, you think he’s more talented. But this does not fit with the ‘experience’ that you so desire. You may think him more talented – he isn’t in my opinion, he could potentially be but that is not what you want; you want the ‘experienced’ pro and you want him now.
If someone could bottle football experience, they would make a fortune. The trouble is, I might disagree and say that it is not enough, there are not enough Champions League games under the ‘bottle’s’ belt. Ask another supporter and they will say that part is fine but not enough Premiership appearances are captured in your magic vessel. Perhaps that is the crux; You can never satisfy everyone all of the time. If I take a look at what I think will be Arsene’s starting XI at the moment, it illustrates the point quite well.
Lehmann; Eboue, Toure, Gallas, Clichy; Hleb, Fabregas, Gilberto, Rosicky; van Persie, da Silva
with subs: Fabianski, Hoyte, Djourou, Walcott, Adebayor
The spine of that team is experienced – Lehmann, Toure, Gallas, Gilberto – until you get to the forward line. Even then van Persie has well over four years in top flight football – like it or not, the Eriedivision is top flight football; you may think it weaker than the Premiership but I am not convinced that the lower half of the two divisions are that much different in standards. Even so, RvP has the talent which negates the need for more experience. Da Silva? Unknown quantity but career stats indicate he is in the same boat. So where is this lack of experience letting us down. Defence? Gael Clichy is young but he was one of the most consistent performers last season. Eboue? He’s an international, has played half a dozen years in the top flights of Belgium and his native Ivory Coast. As for Hleb and Rosicky, please don’t try and tell me that they are not experienced.
The bench I will concede is inexperienced aside from Adebayor. Yes, he is experienced, an international, been to the finals of the World Cup and ACN; played in the Champions League before he’d signed for the Club, been part of a Champions League run before he arrived.
In any case what those howling for experience miss is that arguably the most experienced pairing that the Club had last season looked the most vunerable. Toure and Gallas have a wealth of experience between them but you would have to say that they did not look comfortable in each other’s company. That is down to understanding and no amount of experience can bring that. That is consistency of selection so that you understand each other and how the other plays. How do you get that? Experience? No. Consistency. Of performance. Of selection. But not experience.
So what people actually want is consistency and I agree with that. But that is not about the transfer market. That aspect is about talent. If Arsene identifies someone who is going to add to the squad, let him sign them. But leave it to him, not some tired hack. Ask yourself this. Of all of the players linked with the Club, how many were genuine targets? How many did we actually lose out on? If we did, what did it boil down to? Ribery? Must have been the fee and I agree with baulking at £17m. Babel? £13.5m? He was available for £6m two weeks ago. Something not quite right there.
And more importantly, which mode of doing business do you prefer? Do you want the media hype where you throw enough names out that some of them actually work. Do you want targets identified who you know you have no chance of signing? If you do, catch a plane to Madrid, that’s your sort of Club. I’ll sit quite comfortably here waiting patiently for signings, if they are coming. If not, then you have to put some faith in the manager to actually have a plan. The Henry era has ended sooner than some thought, later than others were expecting. But it is over. You have a new forward who the manager believes to be good enough. He’s seen more than you have of the lad in question yet the anguish over how he’s not good enough goes on. You even admit that. Ask yourself this; before Toure, Vieira, Henry, Fabregas, Ljungberg, and the like, how much of those players had you seen before they broke into the Arsenal first team? Less than that of da Silva. How do you know that da Silva will fail as you seem to think? People hold Bendtner up as the Great White Hope, to use a boxing analogy. Why? One season in the Championship? A decent scoring record in half a dozen internationals. On both counts , da Silva has better stats.
If this is you or someone like you, the font of all knowledge, why are you not manager of Arsenal instead of slinging your poison arrows in all directions, lobbing so many that you hope one will stick. Is your view on life so negative that you see not one shred of hope, nothing positive at all?