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Liverpool Pies

Liverpool v Arsenal: not just a tale of two penalty decisions, but a tale of two squads

Arsene Wenger was understandably furious at last nights result. A soft penalty "gifted" the tie to Liverpool, according to Le Gaffer, and there weren't many pundits who disagreed, especially after Arsenal had a stone-waller turned down in the first leg.

It could be argued that Arsenal were the better team over the two legs, but the history books will show that Liverpool won 5-3 on aggregate and in the cold hard light of day, that's all that really matters.

So as us Gooners contemplate another season without silverware, the inquisitions will start, but my criticism of Arsenal boils down to just one point - albeit a fairly major one - and I think we can all take a lot of positives from a season where we were tipped to finish outside the top four.

My gripe was all too obvious as I watched last night's game: Arsenal simply do not have a big enough squad to compete with our major rivals...

We all know that Chelsea and Manchester United have huge squads to call on when players need rested or injuries occur, while Liverpool's Rafa Benitez is infamous for his squad rotation. But let's face it, Benitez gets it right time and again in Europe and his players looked really fresh last night as the Gunners' legs turned to lead.

Cesc Fabregas looked exhausted and it's no wonder given the number of games he is called upon to play, while injuries to key players such as Robin Van Persie, Eduardo and Tomas Rosicky have undoubtedly harmed Arsenal's campaign this year because we do not have the quality players needed to fill in for them. And to say that we missed Bacary Sagna last night is the understatement of the year.

Forgive me for repeating myself - because I say this every week - but the whole point of committing hundreds of millions of pounds to moving to Emirates Stadium was so that we could compete at the same level as Europe's top clubs. I am not jumping on any bandwagon when I say I'm frustrated by Arsene Wenger's refusal to sign experienced, world class players, and what was obvious from last night's game was that we need to add some real depth to the first team squad.

One of Wenger's tasks over the coming weeks will be to keep the core of his team together. Inevitably we'll get the Fabregas is going to Barca or Real Madrid stories over the summer, but before that Le Boss will be hoping that he can get Mathieu Flamini to sign a new deal.

There are calls for the club to sell our most frustrating player, Emmanuel Eboue, but I think it would be foolish to let him go, unless we get offered stupid money. Justin Hoyte is probably on his way out, leaving us short of cover at right back - Eboue's position until last season. I go back to my earlier point of having a big enough squad to cover all positions on the park. Keeping Eboue as cover for Sagna would be a good move and for those who say the Ivorian isn't up to it, don't forget that he's been playing in a new position this campaign.

Also rumoured to be on their way out are Gilberto and Jens Lehmann, which should also allow Wenger to bring in new faces, but I'd argue he needs to bring in five or six players to give us the kind of squad that a club the size of Arsenal needs if it's serious about competing for trophies at home and abroad.

My wish list - a goalkeeper, a right winger, two strikers (one proven, one emerging) and an imposing central defender. We're already relishing Carlos Vela coming to the club, which will hopefully provide competition for Rosicky on the left wing, but while I'm indulging myself, maybe I could add someone to the list who is a free kick specialist.

Anyway, enough of this rant. It would be good to hear from you lot who you think Arsenal should sign in the summer to give us a chance of making the Champions League final in Rome next year.

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Posted by Gordon Masson on April 9, 2008 9:55 AM in Debate of the Day| Players| Rants| Transfers
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Many things can be said about this Semi-Final, but the one thing that cannot be said, is that Arsenal received fair and equal treatment by the referees over the 2 legs.

Yes, they looked tired. Yes, their defence was shocking at times. But Arsenal supporters have every right to feel hard done by the referees.

I expect we will find out that yesterday's referee is also Torres' hairdresser.

Posted by: SFGooner | April 9, 2008 4:41 PM

Many things can be said about this Semi-Final, but the one thing that cannot be said, is that Arsenal received fair and equal treatment by the referees over the 2 legs.

Yes, they looked tired. Yes, their defence was shocking at times. But Arsenal supporters have every right to feel hard done by the referees.

I expect we will find out that yesterday's referee is also Torres' hairdresser.

Posted by: SFGooner | April 9, 2008 4:42 PM

Always blaming your losses on the refs.

Posted by: Typical gunners | April 9, 2008 7:50 PM

I've been thinking about it, and I think that the problem is that we need to keep our older players.

Young players will not sit on the bench or be out of the squad for large periods of time. They have a career to make. But older players do. For instance, Gilberto could be useful until he is about 34, but as it is he'll probably go now.

So I think as well as getting players in, we need to keep older players a bit more.

What does Arsenal Pies think about this one? I'd like to see an article with your opinions.

Posted by: Jack | April 9, 2008 8:10 PM

Please, please, please can we ditch Senderos?! He looked so shaky on the ball compared to the other Arsenal players. He's from the "if in doubt, hoof it out" school of football, which doesn't seem to be the way any of our other players are playing. Plus he was at fault for two goals on Tuesday. We desperately need another player with the ability of Toure and Gallas.

Bring back Adams and Keown!

Posted by: ken drillsdon | April 10, 2008 12:56 PM

Arsenal failed because its tactics failed.
And they've failed because they've become predictable. Ever noticed how opposing sides seem to know what the team plan to do, as if they've read the script in advance.
The fact is they probably have - its the same script Arsene Wenger has used for decades.
Its based on fast, precision passing using acute angles.
Most opponents have now woken up to the fact that they only need to survive 10 minutes of opening pressure - work out these angles - and then its simply a matter of them suffocating the attack and exposing weaknesses at the back.
How many 5-1 thumpings by Spurs will it take before someone at this club stands up and points out the bleeding obvious.
Right team - wrong tactics - lousy substitions.
Arsene Wenger is a master ( sorry, a grand master ) at blaming others but its about time he took a good hard look at his own contribution to the club's failure to win silverware.
I wonder if the Arsenal board has Jose Mourinho's mobile number. You know, just in case.

Posted by: gregory | April 10, 2008 5:16 PM

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