Football’s Spinal Tap Moment and January Incomings

Football’s festive Spinal Tap came yesterday. As the back pages lauded their title challenge, the front pages underlined the Swamp Dwellers are footballing pygmies. The dirty streets around their unfinished and unusable ground “ruined the Tottenham experience”, they claimed. Nothing about an “unfinished and unusable ground” ruining the fan experience.

Bad luck to the Hoffenheim fans who caroused their way through “Last Christmas” at the weekend.

Perhaps the festive Spinal Tap is yet to come. It certainly appeared to when the idea was floated that we don’t need any more centre-backs. A quick peek at the squad shows the numbers aren’t there to play the favoured three at the back.

We could adapt quite easily to a back four but the harum scarum moments currently endured put the idea in the backburner. We would, I think, have reverted to it before now, particularly with the injury situation as it was recently.

If a back-three if your preferred defensive option, then you need six centre-backs at the club. Not all will be specialists; Monreal covering the left but, to be honest, Lichtsteiner looked distinctly uncomfortable in the role on the right. He, for me, isn’t part of the solution unless emergencies arise during the 90 minutes.

The FA Cup and Europa League further place demands on the players on top of the second half of the Premier League season; we need to heed the lessons of the past.

Mavropanos missed the first four months of the season and seems likely to miss most of the fifth. Koscielny’s injury came after a long-standing problem wasn’t addressed. Mustafi, Sokratis and Holding all minor or horrible injuries without warning for varying lengths of time. Arguably, our second best defender is out for the rest of the season. We can’t afford another serious injury.

As Rare As Hen’s Teeth

I understand the theory we should promote youth but if that was the plan, we would surely have done so in the Carabao Cup and Europa League. A quick half-dozen games to bring in some experience surely prepares them in some part for the Premier League, surely?

Were there another Tony Adams coming through, I think we’d have seen that. I haven’t seen enough of the academy sides to say definitely yay or nay either way. However, logic seems to dictate there isn’t but you never know.

One centre-back in the January window would make all the difference. As the race for top four wends its merry way to its conclusion, there’s enough evidence to show we need experience at the back to have a fighting chance of returning to the Champions League.

We’re don’t have the money for massive investment. The reality is that Enos won’t dip into his own pocket so we need to use our imagination in recruitment. Little wit is required to work out a loan solution may serve us better for the remainder of the season. I’m sure our altogether more intelligent recruitment team are more creative than that.

Is bringing back Bielik from Charlton an option? The last time we recalled a player from the Valley, it worked out well for half-a-season. Same again? It depends on why Bielik was sent there: development or shop window? If it’s the former, there’s a decision to be made. The latter sees him left in situ.

This is a test of Sven’s squad-building skills. Missing out on a fee for Ramsey is hurting our ability in the transfer market so a January solution is the answer. The ball is in the player’s court; if he doesn’t want that move, it isn’t happening.

One and One Is One

Perhaps there is something afoot in that sense. A club which struggles to be the first to announce signings isn’t going to trumpet that kind of departure without some good news to counter it. You know “Woohoo! We raised £30m with a sale” will be met with “Spend some f****** money then!”; it’s the Arsenal Way.

The answers will be found in due course. No business this winter having lost one defender isn’t too much to ask, surely? It’s not as if I think we should be signing the midfielder we need as well…

’til Tomorrow.

12 thoughts on “Football’s Spinal Tap Moment and January Incomings

  1. @LSG

    Rugani might not be in our price range BUT offering them Ramsey plus cash is something Juve do like doing. Look at Bonnuci, they wanted him back and wanted to offload Higuain with Ronaldo coming in so parts were moved. Maybe a bit ambitious but why not try.

  2. Well, now Miki goes down. He actually just scored in the past few games and is now out for 6 weeks. Sheeeeesh, the Arsenal can’t catch a break:-( – the refs could actually help the entire league by protecting the players, but that is a big ask.

    Need to bring up some you for defensive cover or buy-simple really or 8th place here we come.

    Everyone enjoy your time off doing whatever you wish to do!

  3. For Beilik, I think it could have been a couple reasons, namely getting him fully fit and continued development as a ball playing CB. We can’t forget he lost quite a bit of time to injury which surely didn’t help as he transitioned from a DM who burst on the scene in his homeland at 16 to the ball playing defensively strong CB he is turning into.

    Here’s the thing for me, if we were to bring him back, surely he, Kos and Mavrapanos would be able to provide a bit of rotation in the FA and early knockout stage rounds of the Europa plus having Nacho would allow for a back 4 or back 3. The other thing that is crucial moving forward is the fitness of Bellerin. Sure Lichsteiner can and has done a job at RB but Bellerin has taken the next step in his development after plateauing/inconsistencies last season. He is flourishing and we are a much better side with one of the best RB’s in the PL with the potential to be one of the best RB’s in Europe.

  4. Damn, habe to feel for Mhkitaryan because at the very least was offering us an attacking option and sure his final ball was inconsistent, he was a threat.

  5. As noted, just when Mkh started to find a bit of form. But the defensive injuries are much more serious. I’m anxious about Anfield on the 29th. We need Nacho, Kola, Sok, Mustafi and Bellerin available to blunt an in form Salah and Mane attack. In the meantime we can’t afford to drop points away to Brighton even with a threadbare defense.

  6. Like LSG, I fear what could happen at Anfield. When we’ve been at the top of our form and had wider selection options this season, I would have expected a respectable performance. With a heavily improvised defence, not so confident.
    I like the little I’ve seen of Bielik, so that’s one option, but with two long term outs and the possibility Kos will never completely be back, I’d still advocate signing a senior CB.
    In the meantime, hasn’t Elneny played CB for Egypt? More suited than Xhaka, at least?

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