View From The Town End - Arsenal

Scott Heavey

Ready for this? I'm not.... i'd be lying to say I expected anything other than a home defeat but hey, stranger things have happened. Still, things are hardly rosy for Arsenal right now and with that in mind we spoke to Ted Hughes from SB Nation's Arsenal Blog, The Short Fuse.

After a bright start, Arsenal's seasons seems to be slowly slipping away, what's been the problem?

The main problem has been consistency generating scoring chances, lately. Santi Cazorla is not turning out to be the playmaker that some thought he was going to be after his first few games, and Arsenal have struggled to generate any real consistent threat. The defense has had some brain farts, but overall is doing better in terms of sheer goals against than they were last year.

The press had a field day after the defeat to Bradford, with plenty predicting gloom for Wenger. Where do you think the fans opinions now reside on your manager?

The fans have probably never been more divided on Wenger than they are right now, a fact which is understandable given the club's form this year.

Some think that the rest of the league has caught up to his methods while he's failed to adapt, and thus should go; some feel that he hasn't been given enough of a chance to put things right this year; some feel that he's been hamstrung by the board; some feel that he's done a terrible job in the transfer market over the past three or four years; some feel he is too tactically inflexible...there are a lot of nuanced opinions out there about Wenger. His contract runs through 2014, and it is unlikely that anyone else would come in before that runs out. I personally think he needs a chance to put things right this year.

I suppose I can't avoid talking about it, so what were your thoughts on the 7-5 a few weeks ago?

My thoughts were that was probably the wildest street fight of a match that I'll ever know. It was about as wide open as one could imagine, wasn't it? I actually didn't get to see it live, which is probably good considering that I was at work and the updates coming through were distracting enough, but getting manic texts from the other blog writers about what was happening was making me laugh on the bus home.

It was the kind of match where I wish there didn't have to be a winner, where I wish both teams could come together at the end in some sort of harmonic understanding and ascend to some kind of cosmic paradise together.

Anybody that Gunners fans are worried about from the Reading ranks?

If they are fit , Pogrebnyak and Robson-Kanu scare me a little bit, and it's not just because of their names. Arsenal's central defenders have been struggling to cope with two-striker formations lately, especially Vermaelen. That being said, Hal Robson-Kanu is the best football name I've ever heard.

Anybody Reading fans should be particularly worried about?

This is going to sound strange, but honestly, the main creative threat right now for Arsenal is Tomas Rosicky, and there is every chance he won't start. Other than that, mainly Olivier Giroud, whose hold-up play has been great this year, and who has looked to be Arsenal's biggest threat in some ways.
Score prediction?

I think it'll end in a 1-1 draw.

And finally where do you think both sides will finish?

It's pretty early yet, and January could spark some change; what I will say is that I think Arsenal are probably the 5th or 6th best team right now, and Reading, as currently constituted, are going to struggle to escape the bottom three, I fear. I hope January brings some good fortune and progress for both sides!

Thanks again to Ted and you can The Short Fuse on Twitter @TheShortFuse.

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