Arsenal of the Future by ElusiveArsenal..
The nerve wracking, nail biting, drama of a transfer window is finally over, and with it we are blessed with two extra weeks of half part-boredom, half part-anxiety. Boredom over the meaningless international friendlies and the ever present fear of one of our own inevitably getting injured. Luckily, our English core have made it through unscathed, and if my Google search is right, so have our German contingent. That leaves our French brothers (Koscielny a doubt). Barring any Shawcrosses, both Debuchy and Kos should return unharmed. This gives at least a week for new boy Danny to make nice with the majority of the team.
As it is a slow week, this article will have less directed aim and will be general ramblings of an Arsenal fan… One I feel will be quite long.
Let’s start with the obvious: Transfers: I would give our transfer a solid B.
This has been an excellent window for our club with very good upgrades all around the pitch. Most departures this window aren’t even felt by the Arsenal fans thanks to their quality replacements-a feat Arsene was regularly criticized for the last 7 years. More importantly we didn’t lose any of our star players: Another stigma which has hounded our club for years.
It’s not an A because we have a glaring hole in defense but that can be sorted with a free loan on Sept 9 (Another gift from the international break). I’m less worried about the DM issue and I’ll explain why late in the article. So whoever says we had a bad transfer window need only look at the trade in of Bendtner for Welbeck… need I say more.
Of all our signings, the most polarizing would have to be Danny Welbeck, which I fail to understand. He is no Radamel Falcao or Diego Costa, but there are several qualities he has which is reminiscent of our greatest strikers. I could pull out stats to point out the stigma of his lack of goals is very misleading, considering his high shot accuracy, conversion rate and goals per minute but the most important aspect I would say is something which does not show up in stats… TENACITY!
Before I continue I want to make it clear I am definitely not putting Adebayor or Welbeck on the same level as Theirry Henry, but there is a similarity amongst them beyond their speed. They all terrorize defenders and midfielders of the opposing team occasionally winning the ball high up in the opponents pitch.
They do not just win it though. These players are capable of linking up with onrushing midfielders or turning and launching counterattacks of their own. What this does is relieve a lot of pressure on the midfielders as opponents are more wary of bombing forward for fear of a rapid pincer counter-attack.
I say Welbeck may be one our best signings yet, because not only does he possess these attributes, his style of play will allow Arsene with one of the biggest selection issues: Ramsey or Wilshere. In the recent past it has easily been Ramsey because of his goal scoring form, but Wilshere this season is clearly returning to full form after a decent run of games without that niggling ankle injury.
This is my dream Arsenal make up…..
Alexis/Ox Ozil Walcott/Ox
Gibbs Kos Mert/Chambers Debuchy
There is a reason Arsene refuses to believe in a pure DM and that is because Arsenal never needed one in its glory days. Most will point to Viera. But apart from being big, scary and tough, he was definitely not a DM. In fact I would say his partner Petit was closer to being a DM than he was.
Both men were B2B players, bombarding up and down the pitch without fear because of their unique understanding. If Viera was rushing forward, Petit would hang just slightly behind, and if Petit was the one rushing on, Viera would hang back.
This brought a dangerous unpredictability, worsened by Henry’s habit of popping up on the wings with Pires or someone else occupying the open space created by dragging his marker out. And with Henry, Pires’, Ljunberg’s and basically everyone’s tenacity in tracking back, the opposition found it hard to break through with all flanks protected and the middle a fortress with a sniper from behind creeping up on them should they stall too long.
You don’t need to be big and black to be the DM Arsenal need. (I’m looking at the Carvalho wagonboys who know nothing of the boy except youtube clips yet are convinced he’s our next Viera.)
No one complained about a DM when Arsenal were flying high pre-Walcott and Ramsey injury even though Ramsey and Wilshere got paired quite a bit. Reason was we had our flanks well protected by Theo and a persistent midfield battlers in Ramsey and Wilshere. (Even when Wilshere was on the flanks, he was relentless in tracking back.)
Then Walcott got injured.. then Ramsey and for quite a while Wilshere too.. This left us using Ozil and Cazorla on the flanks or Oxlade in an unfamiliar CM role (a la Chelsea) and when Chamberlain and Gnarby both got crocked we were left purely without true pace. Terrible defeats coincide with this period of deformation within the team.
I will get crucified but I believe that if we return to 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3 with the hardworking players we currently have, Ramsey and Wilshere can both play together (provided they have a similar understanding to Petit-Viera).
Both have shown their impressive pressing without the ball in the City match where they shut Toure down. Wilshere has shown his improved confidence, ability and tenacity for the tackle in recent games and Ramsey still has his goal scoring form with 2 goals in 3 EPL games. Of all the drubbings we received last season, the only one I felt we had no chance was the Liverpool game where our players seemed unable to handle their ferocity. Manchester City’s 6-3 could have gone either way if we were more clinical much like Chelsea’s recent game against Everton. Our patch-up squad against Chelsea failed spectacularly and Everton’s game was as a result of negligence on the left wing: something we won’t have to worry about with Sanchez.
So it is my firm belief that sometime somewhere in the near future we will see a lot more of Ramsey and Wilshere in the Centre of the pitch.
We might change against the big clubs to a 4-1-4-1 for that extra body in midfield and should we choose that formation it should be:
Sanchez/Ox/Campbell, Wilshere, Ramsey, Walcott/Ox/Campbell
With this we have that extra body without sacrificing workrate. In my humble opinion Ozil and Cazorla should never be together in such a setup. Even if Wilshere or Ramsey are having a bad match, they will at the very least hound the opposition. Ozil and Cazorla press depending on their mood. And while it’s okay to have one of them with Wilshere or Ramsey, having both on the pitch will allow opponents to breeze past and force Flamini into a red card at some point.
Would also like to point out that with either formation we have goals coming from EVERYWHERE on the pitch: another characteristic of the golden era. Post-Henry to Pre-Giroud we were forced to defer to one or two players for most of our goals. They were mostly our strikers which is why Giroud still gets a lot of stick. Last two seasons Giroud allowed midfielders to chip in with goals, but they were still few and far in between, mostly because Giroud is inherently incapable of occupying too many defenders by his lonesome. He just lacks the pace to successfully draw them out then release someone else. Also because he was mostly a focal point without an option of him beating defenders on his own, we were too predictable. No focal point= No focus point for opposing defenders.. and let the chaos reign from there on..
Now I’m tired, my dog is fighting with my cat for bed space and since I have neither I think I might be hallucinating and need to hit the hay.
I know its a long but slow week.. Might have some more ramblings later this week. Till then…
Constructive criticism appreciated.. This is MY squad and what I feel can be possible with our hardworking front three.. Feel free to disagree, and please give good reasons why you do. We’re all Arsenal fans and debates like these help pass the lonely periods between matches… What do you think???