Does Arsenal have a good enough squad for the Premier League? By Twig
It has yet again been a really anxious Summer transfer window for Arsenal. Yet again, Arsenal is dominating the transfer rumour market but with little solid transfer to show for it. Let’s leave the transfer market for a moment and assume we’ve finished business for this window. I know this will be a very difficult exercise for Arsenal fans to do, but believe me it is very possible we wouldn’t be signing any new player. Recall last season when Wenger captured Petr Cech and then went on not to sign any outfield player?! Also recall Wenger said we wouldn’t sign more than 3 players and in Granit Xhaka, Takuma Asano and Kelechi Nwakali, Wenger has ACTUALLY signed 3 players just like he said he will?
So assuming we have finished business for this window, do you think we have the squad to win the league? In Ozil, Cazorla, Sanchez, Koscielny and Cech we have genuine world class talent who can match up to any of their counterparts on their day. In Giroud and Monreal, you have very good players who will get the job done without grabbing much headlines. With Wilshere and Ramsey, you never know what you’ll get. Both players are injury prone and they’ve really not had the opportunity to show what they can do. However, they both seem to be favourites of Wenger and will play if available. Then there’s the exciting talents of Bellerin and Iwobi, whom as you’ll expect from young players, will be a bit up and down, with occasional mistakes. And then there’s Welbeck, who will score crucial goals for us towards the end of the season when it’s probably too late!
In short, the squad looks a bit here and there. The team seems to lack a bit of something. Without a new centre forward, we’ll definitely struggle to score goals as it’s increasingly clear that Giroud is more of a second striker who creates for others rather than score himself. Ozil and Sanchez are our best players on paper, but neither player has given us consistent game-changing performance over an entire season. (Think of Eden Hazard two seasons ago and Vardy and Mahrez for Leicester last season). Ozil came very close last season, but faded very badly towards the end of the season, eventually failing to beat Henry’s assist record, even though he looked certain of smashing it. Sanchez is increasingly injury prone of late and takes a while to get back to form after an injury. More worryingly, it seems the league’s defenders have figured him out, especially when he’s been played on the left wing.
Elsewhere, our rivals are spending very ambitiously as expected. Chelsea have just got Batshuayi and Kante – two players, who’ll add speed, youth and aggression to their ageing side. Manchester United have made a massive coup with the signing of Ibrahimovic and Mkhitaryan. With Mourinho as manager, Manchester United look to be the team to beat going into the new season. Although City have been relatively quiet, they’ve got themselves a manager who wins wherever he goes. Meanwhile, if Leicester manage to keep Mahrez, I don’t think they’re much weaker than they were last season, even with Kante’s departure. Ahmed Musa is relatively unknown, but he’ll surprise many fans with his pace and athleticism. It might yet be another steal by Ranieri.
With everyone fit, it seems this will be our first eleven. The biggest battle for selection will be in central midfield where we have very good technical players in Ramsey, Wilshere, Cazorla, Coquelin, El Neny and Xhaka (one midfielder too many?) Currently, it seems Ramsey is guaranteed a starting spot after his starring role for Wales in the Euros. Cazorla might have aged a bit but he’ll add experience, technicality and leadership to the side. Xhaka was one of the best players in the Euros and will probably be accelerated into the first team setup. So Gooners, do you trust this starting XI to go all the way and win the TREBLE for Arsenal next season?!
_______Sanchez Ozil Ramsey
Monreal Koscielny Mertesacker Bellerin