Yes, We Need Experience, But…

By on January 4, 2010

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… we also need the kind of youthful exuberance and enthusiasm that was shown by Aaron Ramsey following his equalizer at Upton Park. The 19-year old ran straight into the 500 traveling Arsenal supporters followed by Carlos Vela to celebrate his superbly taken equalizer.

Slightly older players like van Persie and Eduardo enthusiastically celebrate goals but not like Ramsey today or, for that matter, Cesc. Now, that’s NOT a criticism… young players that have been at the club for a while have been forced to grow-up quickly under Arsene Wenger. And that is necessary. But it’s also nice to see goals celebrated in the manner of Freddie Ljungberg in his first few seasons at the club.

Now, on to the match… By the hour-mark, it certainly looked to be one of those days when Arsenal just fail to find a final ball to break down a 10-man defense. Arsene obviously set out to win the match having selected both Gallas and Vermaelen and saying after the match that “the FA Cup matters.”

However, the two youngsters, Wilshere and Merida, both had disappointing matches overall. Obviously, the substitutions of Nasri and Diaby in their place changed the match. They began to take control of the match like they hadn’t since the 20-minute mark.

Ramsey and Eduardo goals made the difference-both assisted by Carlos Vela, the latter two switching positions at half-time. For the first 15 minutes of the second-half, Vela failed to make anything happen when he had possession out wide on the left, and Eduardo continued to look largely ineffective.

But, thanks to the substitutions, the increased pressure from the middle allowed Vela more space and more options when he got the ball out wide and he took advantage of it, both by putting in a touchline cross and coming inside.

We all want to see Eduardo get some goals and get his confidence back and, after seeing the header live, I thought, “What a fantastic header!” But the more I see the replays from the reverse angle, the more it seems that Eduardo headed but it deflected a bit off Upson’s head as well.

That’s not to take anything away from a great goal. He did beat Upson to the ball and get a good head on it. I just hope he doesn’t realize there was even the slightest deflection so he can take the confidence he deserves from the goal. But, as Arsene said after the match, “In every game, he gets better.”

Alexandre Song did his usual job and, after the match, Arsene complemented the midfielder by saying, “In the system we play, he is just the ideal player to play in front of the defense.” But he also acknowledged that Arsenal “will have to find a new balance” when he leaves this coming week for the African Cup of Nations.

With the replacement of experience for youth, Song had more confidence to get forward and get an equalizer. He was at the heart of Arsenal’s best pre-goal move only being kept out in the end by the second of Green’s great double-save.

Recently, we’ve seen Arsene make some key, game-changing substitutions. I, generally, consider Wenger to be a bit conservative and slow with substitutions. To me, he has seemed to make substitutions far too late in a match to have any real consequence. It’s nice to see him being more proactive when it comes to making changes and it’s even nicer to reap the benefits.

Following the dropped points in our last visit to Upton Park, the result was especially satisfying. Arsenal are the kind of side that needs to exorcise their demons for confidence to be at its fullest and they did that by getting through at the ground where they had conceded a late 2-goal lead just over two months ago. The fourth-round draw has provided us with a trip to Stoke City in three weeks’ time.

In other team news looking forward to Wednesday’s match with Bolton, Wenger said that Arshavin “should be available on Wednesday night,” and

Denilson would face fitness tests on Monday and Tuesday. However, when asked about Walcott’s return from another rib injury, he just said, “I don’t know.” He went on to say that he hopes it will be less than a month.

Activity during this window seems likely, for when asked about the transfer window, Wenger said, “I have the money, I have the desire, but I have not the player.” Wenger has acknowledged that we are “short” in options up top and he looks relatively eager to bring someone in… if he can find the right player at the right price, of course.

Well, that’s it… I could talk about the boot to Diaby’s shoulder or the overall cunt-ness of Diamanti, but this piece is already long enough. On to Wednesday!!!