Arsenal are two players away from winning the EPL – Discuss by MA
Almost everyone seems to be agreeing with that statement, apart from the one person who really has the say, Arsene. Interestingly they are all pointing at a center foward and a recognized DM. So my question is, why do “we” think so?
A few years ago Arsenal were in the category of a one man team. Lets start from Thierry’s time to RVP’s era. We had, as some other teams did, a talisman-dependence syndrome. That is, in each and every
season, there were two or three key players who could make us tick, but take one or two of them out and you see us tumbling everywhere. Be it Henry, Fabregas, Walcott (like two years ago when he was scoring from all sorts of angles before his injury), Jack, Ramsey, Mesut and, most recently, Alexis.
During those times, when one of them got a long term injury or a temporary loss of form, we could hear and also feel us struggling. All the pundits and analysts would say, “Arsenal could have won the league if this player played the whole season,” “Arsenal’s title challenge was extinguished when Theo got injured”, or my personal favorite – “RVP practically carried Arsenal to the top four”. And they could
justify it to a level where we kept on wondering what would have happened if Ramsey and Theo never got injured in the 2013/14 season, when we led the table almost throughout the season? Didn’t you ask yourself that question at one point?
Now lets look at our current team and try to analyse the key players who could hurt our BPL challenge
should they get a long term injury. First – Are we still a one man team?
Who is currently irreplaceable?
From a goalkeeping position I believe having David Ospina as a backup to Cech is a dream not so many of us thought possible last season! So should either of them get injured, we’ll have a more than capable backup.
Last season we struggled a lot when Kos was out injured, he seemed to be our main man in defence and still is. During his absence, we had all sorts of problems filling his spot with all sorts of players trying to fill that gap, including Nacho Monreal who did extremely well. But with all that we still struggled and lost so many important points last season. But with the arrival of Gabriel Paulista it looks much better now and I believe we can still do alright without any of the first choine central defenders at the moment.
Right and left back positions are as competitive as I can remember us having. I mean even Arsene isn’t sure of his first choices of the four! So to me at the back we DON’T have that one man at the moment.
We have three types of midfielders, a Defensive, Box to Box, and Attacking midfielders. At DM we currently have Le Coq, Flamini and Arteta. These three, as we all have seen, have their strengths and
weaknesses which I won’t go into because I believe we are all aware of the problems, but as the stats show, our balance is much better when Le Coq is in our starting XI. Take him out and we are back to the same lightweight midfield team again. Arteta and Flamini could do a job against smaller teams, but against quick and strong opposition we will suffer. So to me thats one key player who is hard to replace at the momment.
Box to box – we have more than enough. In fact the likes of Jack and Ramsey are living in fear because Santi seem to have displaced them. In Attacking Mid we also have more than enough, bearing in mind we can actually win comfortably if we miss one or even two of these players.
Here again it’s a little bit complicated because we have players with different abilities. OG has that presence and creates a lot of chances for others, although he misses as many. But his presence and holding of the ball seem to give us a lot. Theo, Danny and Alexis can all play on either side or in the middle although they struggle sometimes against some oppositions while playing through the middle. Here I still feel OG is still key, as with him we seem to score more goals and defend much better because of his hold up game. But we also lose out when it comes to counter attacks and finishing, especially in tight games. What if we get a player who can do all of the above at the same time?
So to me the two positions that we dont have enough or equal replacements is the DM and CF. To me we are no longer a one man team but we still have weak points to work on.
Now my question is, my fellow Gunners family, can Arsene do something about these positions?