OUR DEFENSE WILL WIN US THE LEAGUE by Uche
Hello everyone. It seems like every week, we lose one of our supposed transfer targets. Paolo Dybala chose Juventus and Jackson Martinez is off to Milan. But I don’t know if I am the only one who isn’t really troubled by any of this.
I have a question for you all. What do Cristiano Ronaldo, Alexander Lacazzette, Sergio Aguero and Harry Kane all have in common? They all scored over thirty goals last season. Three out of these four won the golden boot in their respective leagues and yet their teams won absolutely nothing. And there are many precedents like this too going back a few seasons. In Luis Suarez’s last season in Liverpool, he also won the golden boot and was part of an attacking force that scored over a hundred goals, often winning games by putting four to five goals past their opponents and yet they ended the season empty handed. Yes they came really close to winning the league but as they say, nearly does not kill a bird.
The reason I am pointing to all these incidents and stats is because the transfer season is here. Everybody is weighing in on what Arsenal needs to do to win the league next season and there is so much emphasis on the kind of striker that we need to buy. For many of us, even Jackson Martinez and Gonzalo Higuain are not good enough. For me, while strikers are important, it is not that one super striker signing that will win us the league. When I look at our current squad, I will happily settle for the addition of a Benteke or even a Charlie Austin because I know that they will do what is required of them as strikers. With the right supply, any of these guys will get us twenty five goals a season, which is enough to win us the league if you consider that our defense rather than our attack is the most crucial factor in winning us trophies.
Diego Costa scored just a little above twenty goals last season and Chelsea won two titles. Chelsea itself only scored two goals more than us last season and yet they beat us to the title with thirteen points clear. Say what you will but stats show that it is the defense that wins you titles. Two seasons ago, Barcelona had Messi and Neymar on their side and still finished the season empty handed. In his last season at Arsenal, Robin Van Persie scored thirty seven goals in all competitions. We won nothing.
For all the noise being made about strikers, Peter Cech (if he comes) and Francis Coquelin (if he stays fit) could be our most valuable players next season. Already in this past season, David Ospina and Francis Coquelin were the two players that transformed our fortunes. Yes Sánchez grabbed the headlines more than any other player, as expected. But it was not until Wenger dropped Wojciech for Ospina and brought back Coquelin that we started playing like a title winning team. These stats are important. We must factor them in while predicting and recommending the things Arsenal needs to do in order to win the EPL.
Yes a quality striker is very important and I will happily choose the best of them for our team, if it was up to me. But as far as the current squad is concerned, I will get me a solid goal keeper and a defensive midfielder to back up Francis first before even worrying about buying a striker. In our last two games of the just concluded season, we scored eight goals, playing our best football. Theo Walcott led the line in both games. Extending his contract for me, will be our biggest signing as far as offensive players are concerned. He knows the team and we play our best football with him up front. Unlike new players, Theo needs no period of adaptation when the season starts. Even if Higuain comes in, I will start him on the bench for the first few months with Theo as first choice striker. Beginning of the season is usually when we drop the most points mainly because of injuries and new players adapting to the team and league. If we can avoid that by starting a settled team with a solid defensive commitment, we can really shock our rivals next season, no matter who they sign. Think about that folks. Peace.
Lagos – Nigeria