Do Arsenal need so many players to win the title next season? by OI
I read Jamie Carragher in the Daily Mail writing once again about Arsenal. This time he believes Arsenal are living under a certain illusion of their team being great again. No, Arsenal aren’t great yet, he avers. If they want to be great again they must buy players.
So, next season he suggests Arsenal buy Petr Cech for Ospina, one more defender to back up Koscielny and Gabriel. Paul Pogba or Diego Godin to back up Coquelin. Then strikers in to take over from Olivier Giroud. He suggests; Luis Suarez, Sergio Aguero or Karim Benzema.
After reading that piece, I understand once again, the crappiness of English football commentators. Often, so prescriptive and aloof. For a team whose foundation was laid on youth bought early or trained within the club, Arsenal would never be good enough. Szczesny, Gibbs, Bellerin, Wilshere, Ramsey, Coquelin, Walcott, Gnabry are never good and will never be good. Because they started young at Arsenal. So Arsenal becomes the most underrated team in Europe.
Truly, as far as these commentators are concerned, the only way Arsenal will ever be good is when Arsenal bought all the players in Europe. I really don’t understand how these analysts think. What Coquelin and Bellerin’s form this season showed us is that many young players who are not given chance to play are even far more talented than the so-called great players playing excellently in ‘average’ clubs. Remember they made the Arsenal team only because our ‘regulars’ were injured and became unavailable, forcing Wenger’s hand. They have played against expensively assembled Manchester clubs, and we saw who won the battle.
Buy, buy, buy. That was how two seasons ago, Tottenham ,after selling Gareth Bale, went all the way and got in a full barn of unbelievably poor squad; same as Liverpool last season, and they are crumbling like a pack of cards. Those players in Tottenham and Liverpool, the English press made endless hype of them during the transfer period. Many commentators trolled Wenger endlessly for not buying some of them. I can’t remember how many in the English press that went so hard on Arsene for allowing Ballotelli slip through his fingers. No one is now talking about Falcao. But who will forget what the English press wrote the day Falcao went to Manchester United and Wellbeck to Arsenal?
Truly, Arsenal need consolidation, but surely not to go chasing all these players mentioned by Carragher — some who are not even available and some who are not as good as the players in Arsenal. Imagine asking Cech to replace Ospina. Cech is a good player, yes, but one who sat a whole season on the bench. Ospina played 12 times in league games and kept 6 clean sheets. Even Arsenal’s third choice goalkeeper had kept goal in a Champion’s league match. He was on form and did very well when Arsenal defeated Dortmund away. Ssceszny may not be fantastic, but he is above average anywhere in the world. And at Arsenal he is now second choice. Not even the first.
Arsenal’s defence is complete. Let me tell you how; because any one more ‘super star’ you buy will presume he must be given a starter’s shirt. Kolscieny is already fantastic, Gabriel is new, and the way Gabriel has played, everyone is sure he is a quality player who can hold his own against any team. Mertersaker is slow, but he is one of the most intelligent defenders in the game, and he makes up with his intelligent positioning and ball sense. I can’t remember when last Arsenal lost a game and it was blamed on Mert being too slow. And there is young Chambers who can only grow into his game. Apart from them, Debuchy and Monreal are utilities who can play at the centre as well. With all these players on ground you go and hire another defender just because you have to buy?
Yes, Coquelin needs back up. But did I hear you say Pogba? No doubt a quality player, but Pogba is not what Arsenal needs. Arsenal is not looking for a box to box. So if anybody Schneiderlin is best fit if he is available. Meanwhile, I don’t know why a fit Arteta is not a back-up, as Carragher says. He is slower and getting old, but he is no less a quality player. He can play in low profile games while Le Coq plays in big games. Meanwhile there is a certain Bielik who had played in Europa league before coming to Arsenal who will fancy his chance to play in the first team from next season.
Attack. Yes Arsenal needs support for Giroud. Someone who could score goals if Giroud is not available. That and no more. Otherwise, our creative side is full to brim: this is a team in which Walcott, Gnabry, Rosicky and Wilshere, cannot yet get a start. And even the Ox, if he returns, will wonder if he was not missed.
The biggest danger of assembling an expensive squad of presumed super stars is competition. Keeping everyone happy is a challenge. Every week you have to alter the team to make someone who did not play last week happy. Because, despite not being good enough, all of them would still fancy to play week in week out. Yet, like in Manchester City they keep messing up in big games. Is it any coincidence that the resurgence of Manchester United came with the likes of Mata, Young and Felliani permanently replacing expensive purchases who were flopping big time.
Over the years, Arsenal’s problem has always been balance. Each season Wenger always left one side of the team weak, and it becomes our Achilles’ heel through the season. This season, the deep midfield was going to be that until luckily Coquelin came to the rescue. So, what we have now is the most balanced squad in the last ten years. And you can see it from the way the team play. Maybe not excessively talented compared to the Invincibles, but no less a talented squad that can confidently play any team in today’s game.
So if you ask me what Arsenal need now is only two players — a defensive midfielder and top striker — plus, now the caveat, any other player(s) of pure class like Ozil and Sanchez who suddenly become available in the transfer market. Yes, that and no more.