Reflections on our European exit

Here are the views of 3 fellow Arsenal fans who sit near me at Highbury (I refuse to call it “The Emirates” – it sounds silly) on our pathetic exit from European football on Wednesday night:-

David Barnett (the dad)

A defence that can’t defend corners and free kicks
A midfield that cannot score any goals
A strike force who require at least 5 chances per game to score
A team without a leader
A team without any width or speed in wide positions
A manager whose tactics are totally predictable with NO flexibility

Everyone agrees we play beautiful football when other teams let us but there are no prizes or points for beautiful football.
I cannot see the bright future we are promised without a drastic alteration in tactics and players to match.

I really hope I’m completely wrong about all of the above but…………………….

Elric Heslop (the optimist)

Don’t worry David, it’ll come good. You have got to remember that most of the team are fairly new, and I know every season we seem to talk about a transition period, and at some point we have to accept the team we have. That said however, Hleb, Rosicky, Baptista, Walcott, Denilson, Adebayor, Clichy, Gallas, Djourou, Traore, etc only really broke into the 1st team this season, with the likes of Van Persie, Diaby, Eboue, Senderos, Hoyte, Aliadiere not having had much of a run out previously either.

I actually love the way the Arsenal play under Arsene, although admittedly at times I wish there was a Plan B. We do need to work on set pieces (understatement) and we also need to learn how to break teams down who just come to defend. But it’s a young side still learning their trade and I can only see us growing in strength. I do think however we are carrying a few players, Ljundberg, Hleb and possibly Baptista also, albeit it is early days for him (took Henry & Pires a long time to adapt).

So all in all, although I’m gutted about no silverware this season and being dumped out of the CL, we have actually done a lot better than we did last season and only 2 weeks ago, we still were in every competition (including final of the CC).

I don’t often join in on these e-mails, however I just thought I’d throw in Heslop’s eternal optimism into the pot. As no-one plays the beautiful game like we can, and EVERYONE witnessed our fledglings out-play for most of 90mins the no expense spared Chelsea all-stars. We’ll be stronger next season, I have every faith

Come on you Gunners!

Jon Sahir (the other optimist)

I agree with Elric, the future’s really bright. This team will mature together and get better together. We’ve had some great performances this season and also some very disappointing ones. Inconsistency is often a byproduct of a young team that is learning. The season has just been too long for them, with all the extra cup games. I’d like to see a return to 4-5-1 next season for the European games only.