Samba Could Have Saved Arsenal’s Season

By on May 10, 2011

Arsenal went from defeated the Champions-elect Manchester United by a goal to nothing to being outplayed by Stoke City and defeated 3 – 1 strangely convincingly. How could that happen? How could a side with title ambitions, although small ones, be beaten without so much as a whimper against a side they should expect to beat? It isn’t good enough, but this sort of thing has been happening all season long for Arsenal.

Against Stoke, the defending was unimpressive. It was not the defending of Champions. Manchester United’s win against Chelsea showed Arsenal what they were missing, with an excellent show of togetherness to match their name – United. Arsenal’s defence are very much disunited, with mistakes too common, too avoidable and just plain silly.

Cast your minds back to Arsenal’s visit to Newcastle early February, and all of Arsenal’s defensive frailties were highlighted for the world to see. Four goals up and cruising, there should have been no way back for the Magpies, but somehow, something happened to enable a 4-4 draw to be the final result.

Was it the players mentality? Was it their ability? Was it Wenger’s tactics? Whatever it was, it was a dreadful result, and one that teams up and down the League saw and thought it very possible to wobble Arsenal, shake those young players brains and come out with something.

Arsenal have missed Thomas Vermaelen, no doubt about that. They missed his no nonsense, uncompromising, robust, strong, and committed defending as well as his excellent leadership qualities. Arsenal knew he was going to be out for a while, but how long he would be out for proved an issue. Wenger had said in the build up to the January transfer window that if Vermaelen didn’t look as if he would be fit for the season, he would go into the transfer market and purchase a defender – a replacement.

It looked as if they had found the perfect replacement too in Christopher Samba of Blackburn. He is strong, athletic, a towering presence – one who can command his area with power and has a dominating physical presence. Arsenal, he revealed were close to signing him in January:

‘I think a move to Arsenal was very close in January but that is life.’ “Everyone knows I am ambitious. You only have one career so you need to make the best of it. I’ve committed myself to do my best for Blackburn and then we’ll see in the summer.”

The 27 year-old is not short on experience in the Premier League and would have been a fantastic buy and addition to the Arsenal defence. Could you have imagined the meltdown against Newcastle in February occurring with a strong, forceful, experienced and mentally together defender in the side? Though no one expected the extraordinary breakdown anyway, Samba’s presence surely wouldn’t have been a bad influence. Those Arsenal players needed a presence like that in the defence, and not signing Samba was a big decision.

Arsenal’s season could have been saved, or if not, hugely improved by the addition of a commanding centre back like Samba. In narrow losses or draws, the Gunners may have been able to grab some extra points out of the game, and who knows, Arsenal may be up there at the top challenging Manchester United until the last day.

The Carling Cup could have been theirs – it was a defensive mistake that saw that slip, and Barcelona may have been a different story in the Champions League – although that may seem unlikely.

As it is, Wenger did not buy, a move he has since expressed his regret for, but an experienced manager like him really should have known better and been able to bring in a player to accommodate for Vermaelen’s absence.

Tell me what you think!

Submitted by DBSFootball

12 Comments

  1. bulime solomon

    May 10, 2011 at 10:02 am

    i do agree with you but to add on that Arsenal need such players who takes playing for Arsenal as a life time opportunity unlike the others who think that they are just helping the team so samba would have played all his heart out to see the team prosper and we also needed his physical and aerial presence plus the seniority

  2. billy

    May 10, 2011 at 10:31 am

    Arsenal should be buying a keeper defender midfielder and striker 1 of each then we will win titles but arsene wenger to busy holding money

  3. Festus

    May 10, 2011 at 10:35 am

    I think Wenger made the greatest mistake of a manager by not buying Samba in January transfer and that simply cost another season without a trophy. Arsenal need a top defender, mid-fielder, and a top finisher if we are still to compete for trophy next year. It is high time we understand.

  4. samuel

    May 10, 2011 at 11:55 am

    The 4-4 draw was due to inept refereeing by another of England,s finest refs. who
    failed to give Joey Barton a straight red card for a reckless challenge on Diaby who in turn was red carded for his retaliation,two dubious penalties
    two dubious linesmen decisions a clear
    onsides/level 4th goal scored by van Persie vs Spuds but incorrectly ruled offsides a blatant handball by Vidic vs
    Trash United not seen by inept linesmen and another fine English ref. and still the Arsenal fans whingeing continues wh
    y?

    • ben.n

      May 20, 2011 at 12:22 am

      exactly
      2 pens at newsactle
      arshavin goal v sunderland called offside
      van persie goal at tottenham called offside
      liverpool’s late pen
      thats 12 points stolen by bad refs

  5. sam

    May 10, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    ITS ALWAYS COULD’VE WITH ARSENAL.THEY’RE A JOKE

  6. Arse

    May 10, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    Wenger is not good enough tactically!! but he has good young team!

  7. Pingback: Arsenal’s Nicklas Bendtner to hold talks with Arsène Wenger over role at the club – Telegraph.co.uk | Arsenal Football Club Stuff

  8. Steve of Chiang Mai

    May 10, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    Wengers biggest problem is the lack of a second string willing to, wanting to and able to step up when the first team lose form. At the latter stages both Arshavin and Nasri were below par but there was no one to step up and provide the quality. When Song was lacking or broken all that was available was Denilson as Diaby was mostly injured or struggling for form himself. When Clichy was below par where was the latest English wunderkind Gibbs – Arsenals perennially broken left back who when given the chance was equally as poor as Clichy or worse. We simply had no impact from the bench either. Bendtner, Chamakh, Rosicky all made little to no impact when coming on as replacements….This cost us just as much as the lack of a solid defender. Averaging an extra half goal per game would have won us the Premiership but our attack too often failed to deliver, a fact that I believe cost us more games than our defence. If we could have turned some of our 2-2 or 1-1 games into 5-2 like Liverpool last night no one would have caught us. (Set pieces of not!)

    • Steve of Chiang Mai

      May 10, 2011 at 2:21 pm

      Should read “set pieces or not!”

  9. Oli

    May 10, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    It’s clear to anyone that Arsenal do not need another defender. Every player on that team has enough quality when it comes to technical ability. What they do need is to be willing to fight – and thats not just against your big teams. They’ve got to want it against the likes of Stoke and WBA. Who missed the header for the first goal on Sunday..Van Persie did and that proves that the problem lies further deep than the defence. A possible lack of training on set pieces? No. Wenger is no idiot, he looks at statistics which state most Arsenal goals are conceded from set pieces every bloody day.
    All these players need is a kick up the arse – whether it’s from the manager or the captain, they need to know some nast **** is going to be ready to rip their heads off if they **** up.

  10. dickto

    May 11, 2011 at 7:31 am

    Even now we still needs Samba to bolster our defence.AW knew TV was injured why shdnt he sign Samba? he takes too long to sign a player and jan. windoor was just a month only.

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