At every Premier League football club you are likely to find a number of players who get nowhere near enough minutes as they would like to on the pitch. You only have to look at Chelsea’s loan system to tell you that clubs are notorious for having far too many players for each position. However of course a fair amount of players is necessary for a number of reasons, including an injury and suspension crisis, squad rotation and for a higher level of competition for places in the squad.
At Arsenal I don’t think there is a position on the pitch that has quite as many players as our central midfield does and although it’s good to have so much competition for places in the centre of the park, I can’t help but feel that certain irregularity as to who will be in the starting eleven may cause a little unrest. Players becoming frustrated at a lack of minutes is another consideration to make and it may be the case that at least one or more players may choose to leave or be put on the transfer list this summer.
At the moment we seem to be going with a midfield duo of Granit Xhaka and Aaron Ramsey. On days like yesterday, the duo seems to work wonders, however it doesn’t take much to remember how it got torn apart time and time again against Tottenham Hotspur a week earlier. Xhaka and Ramsey should, on paper, work well together because they are both good passers of the ball (on their day), and whilst Xhaka is more defensively minded, Ramsey holds more creativity. However time and time again such a combination doesn’t pay off and as a result, Wenger has to toy with the idea of completely replacing his midfield options.
Francis Coquelin is considered to get a fair amount of game time, with the Frenchman usually starting or at least coming on to add cover to the defence. He’s a slightly unstable character on the pitch, often being quite reckless in his challenges, but I think his position in the squad is safe given the job he can do in putting his body on the line.
Mohammed Elneny is a player who in my opinion, should probably go during the summer. A bargain buy under Wenger, for a cool £5 million, but the price tag reflects how he doesn’t bring a lot to the team. Besides a lot of sideways passing and good positioning, I don’t think he brings a lot to the team and I wouldn’t consider him a starter let alone Arsenal quality. In my opinion Id rather Wenger introduce a youthful player on the fringes of the first team, than stick with Elneny in midfield.
Cazorla is a player who needs no explanation, but as to whether he’s going to make a comeback into the Arsenal team, I’m not so sure. He’s really struggling with injures and with age not on his side, I think his role in the team is going to be limited. He’s one of those players who you’d think is almost guaranteed a starting role when fit, but if others are pressing for his position in the squad, Cazorla may no longer get to start.
Jack Wilshere may not be a player currently playing with the squad, but he’s still on Arsenal’s books and set to return for Arsenal’s lineup next season. Wilshere has had a really strong season in terms of fitness until his recent season ending injury, and it was promising to see that he could still potentially have the fitness levels to remain with Arsenal. However he hasn’t really persisted with his attacking gameplay at Bournemouth in the sense that his performances aren’t backed up with goal and assist statistics. It’s a slight concern for me next to the injury problems of course, and it may be a consideration for Arsenal as to whether our former wonderkid can truly become the Arsenal great that was expected of him.
In my opinion at least one of these players will be making the move during the summer because although six players for two positions may come in handy when there’s an injury concern or suspension, it leaves some players on the bench or not in the squad at all. This is not to forget that players like Zelalem, Crowley and Maitland-Niles also remain on the fringes of the Arsenal first team and could be considered for bigger roles in the not too distant future!