What must Arsenal change, If we don’t buy by JH
Yet another typical Arsenal transfer window is approaching its end. Targets have come and gone, and we are yet to sign an outfield player. Fans and pundits alike have been screaming for a new DM and a starting CF, the latter being most important.
The likes of Martinez, Benzema, Dyabla, Aubameyang, Mandzukic, Vietto have all been linked and have either gone somewhere else or stayed at their current club. Constant links to Bender, Krychowiak, Rabiot and the like, have once again yielded nothing.
With just one week to get something over the line, I would suggest we may have run out of targets, I believe AW is now waiting for one of the big boys (Real, Barca or Bayern) to go splash the cash on a new star so Wenger can pick up their surplus, It worked well with Ozil and Sanchez, but we aren’t the only side looking to buy more players, we are not the only side who need an injection of quality. There is no guarantee that even if a big team spends big money (which is not looking overly likely) that we will be the 3rd team to benefit.
With that in mind, if the unthinkable happens, and we are left with just Petr Cech as our solitary (although fantastic) signing, where do we have to improve or change in order to be competitive this year. And I apologise in advance guys….. This could be a long one.
First off I will start with what I believe are the untouchables, 5 of our back 6 I think are certainly everybodys first choice.
Bellerin Koscielny Monreal
These 5 are our best options, Cech is miles better than Ospina, his performance on Monday showed why we signed him. Last year with Szczesny or Ospina, we would have lost.
Bellerin – though young, he is very good defensively as well as going forward. At such a tender age he is going to improve massively in the coming years. His pace is of course the best of his assets, it allows him to make the odd mistake but get back to his man and correct it. I think we look much better with Bellerin compared to Debuchy, who despite his experience and solidity, slows down our attacks much too much.
Koscielny – Comfortably the best CB at the club, and I believe the best in the league, Irreplaceable.
Monreal – whilst lacking the pace of Gibbs, Monreal offers a defensive stability that I’m afraid Gibbs probably never will.
Whilst I rate Coquelin hugely, he gets in by default, he is our only defensive midfielder.
Alexis Sanchez on the left wing is another unquestionable one, he is probably our most gifted player.
Mesut Ozil in the No.10 role is another that is set in stone, he has created more chances than any other player so far this season, he cannot be blamed for the fact that only one has been converted.
This leaves 4 positions open for debate. CB, CM, RW and of course CF.
I shall start from the back.
Per Mertesacker, a world cup winner, a recognised leader, a liability? Per’s reading of the game is superb, 9 times out of 10 he is in the perfect position to intercept balls meant to split our defense. He is very composed on the ball, and is actually a very good ball player. But then we have his weakness, and boy what a weakness, Pace. Mertesacker’s pace or lack thereof hinders our defensive efforts time and time again.
I also point to his lack of fouls as a weakness in his game, yes it sounds all well and good a defender who wont give away free kicks, but there are times a CB must commit a foul, there have been countless times where he has been beaten for pace and should have took a yellow card and brought his man down, but he doesn’t. Since joining Arsenal, Mertesacker has committed just 57 fouls in the League and Champions league since joining Arsenal. In 4 full seasons, he has averaged just over 13 fouls a season!!! In the same amount of time Koscielny has committed 120 fouls in the league and champions league an average of 30 per year.
Now I know it is hard to say that Gabriel deserves his place more than the BFG, Aside from him starting the Liverpool game, the only other game I remember him playing was at their Merseyside rivals Everton, I remember him being very impressive then as well. I believe Gabriel has done enough to prove he deserves a good run in the side to prove himself. He has great pace and anticipation, in fact he is a CB in a very similar mold to Koscielny.
CM is perhaps the toughest debate, Santi Cazorla is currently holding this position, he has spectacular technique, great vision and his defensive ability has vast improved in such a short space of time, he is also very disciplined in his role, he very rarely ventures too far forward. There are many players vying for this spot, but only two I feel are realistic. Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere.
Aaron Ramsey has 2 advantages over the other 2, first off is his engine, Aaron Ramsey is capable of going box to box for a full 90 minutes, something which I cannot see the other two accomplishing. He is also much more of a goal threat than the other two, if you had to pick one of these three to get a chance for Arsenal it would be Aaron Ramsey. However his strength is also his weakness for this position. He likes to venture forward too much, he is not yet disciplined enough to take this role, but he could surprise us, he’s done it before.
Jack Wilshere has the ability to switch through the gears and surge up the pitch with the ball, something we have lacked this year. We pass all day long, but when it doesn’t work who do we have in the 11 that can go past players with the ball? Sanchez, thats about it, Jack is also used to playing in a deep role for England, he has excelled in that position, probably England’s best player for some time now. I feel with the added protection of Coquelin next to him, he would be fantastic in this position.
Now my conclusion for this position is a bit of a cop out… Rotation. All 3 have different strengths to the other, but all are important, but with Arsenal hopefully going far in all competitions, so all of them can get sufficient time.
RW is the simplest. Ramsey plays there at the moment. Theo Walcott is now apparently a striker. The Ox is the only choice. Ramsey is slotted in at RW and while he tries his best he cannot fight his natural instinct to move to the middle, thus overloading the middle and leaving the right bare. The Ox has the pace, drive and dribbling ability to make a real impact, he has good awareness and good vision. He is built like a tank, and I believe he only needs a good run in the side to make an impact. The Ox is the only true RW we can choose. It has to be him.
CF, Now we all agree we need a new striker, a world class finisher, but quite frankly that is looking more and more unlikely by the minute.Right now we have Olivier Giroud, or we have Theo Walcott, I don’t think you could get two strikers any more different. With Giroud you have the height, the strength, the Hold up play, but you also have the lack of pace, the inconsistency, the many wasted chances. With Walcott, you have lightning pace, directness, intelligent runs, better finishing and the ability to interchange with Sanchez when the chance arrives. but then you get the lack of height, lack of strength and an inability to holdup the ball.
With such a vast difference between the two it is tough to pick, but I would go for Walcott. He gives the team a real burst up front and counter attacks would be frightening, I also see him as a much better finisher than Giroud. He also helps put more pressure on opposition defenses with the pace of him and Sanchez chasing down every ball.
So my team for this year,
Bellerin Gabriel Koscielny Monreal
The Ox Walcott Sanchez
Without additions, I think we are just lacking the quality to finish top, although 2nd is possible, lets just hope that Arsene finds the right man, here’s hoping that man is a striker.
What do you think? Do you agree with my team? What changes would you make?