Analysis: Identifying problem areas at Arsenal that need reinforcing

Arsenal The Squad: Identifying problem areas and transfer expectations by ArsenalAfroArmy

A continuation of my conspiracy.

A typical matchday line-up would have most conclude that Arsenal squad has a strong attack, mediocre midfield and weak defence. Another commonly repeated statement is our left side is superior to our right. A closer look at the squad tells a slightly different story.

  Laca (0) Auba (2)
Saka (1)   Ozil (4) Pepe (2)
Tierney (1) Xhaka (0)    
  Luiz (1) Mustafi (3)
Mari (0)      
Martinez (3)

Players sourced from*

Numbers next to players names indicate the number of players available to cover excluding starting 11*

Top right Heavy

Our right is superior to our left from almost every aspect including making more money and rocking amazing hair. Our left is young/unproven, short of depth, but highly talented and balanced in terms of personnel. The current fix is to shift players (Auba and AMN regularly feature on that side) but rumours of players being unhappy playing out of position tells us this may not viable long term.

We need a Doctor!

2 out of 5 have no backup, the CF/CAM operational area is being unnaturally occupied by Laca, the spine itself is defensively frail but none of that is more confusing than our RCM area and it is not from the lack of trying. Ozil, Torreira, AMN, Guendouzi, Willock and until recently Dani. A passing specialist, a defensive specialist, our most versatile player, a foreign talent, an academy player and a former Spain youth captain. If rumours are to be believed, we might be throwing another €50M at the problem. I will concede some issues are unrelated to football but even when all are available, the midfield duo just doesn’t seem to be effective enough, despite various combinations. And a final note on Laca, for fans quick to sell him, Barcelona has spent upwards of hundreds of millions and has yet to solve it.

Nothing to see here

An interesting time for the squad, as I cannot remember the last time we had this level of quality in the GK unit. We had talents or close to retiring players before, but 2 different quality GKs close to their peaks, problem solved at least for the next 3 seasons assuming we keep both. I have nothing on Macey.

End of conspiracy.

Thank you for reading!



    1. Natural right footed striker most productive in the Right ST operational area. Surely we can agree he is at his best as a right sided ST?currently he is deployed on the left due to how weak that side is. In trying to balance the team, he gets shifted to the left and we slot in a RB to cover the gap between Pépé and Mustafi.I cry every time he twist or moves awkwardly from being on the wrong side.

      1. @ArsenalAfroArmy

        Auba scored 27 times from the left wing. Nearly all of the time with his right foot.

        1. Such is his quality😁
          Maybe he is better as an inverted winger, I’m happy to be proven wrong as long as he scores tonnes

      2. How many strikers do you know who can be lethal coming from the same side as their stronger foot? Did Thierry move left because he was forced to do so? Does Messi drift right because he’s forced to do so? Robben? Mahrez? Hell even Giroud usually angles his body to have his right foot towards the inside of the pitch. Do you know how difficult it is to play with your stronger foot outside you? Do you know why it’s so rare? There’s very few who can effectively do it.

        1. Arguably the best striker this season Lewandowski.
          Goal strike rate and range highest slightly right Middle.
          His furthest goal this season was on the left though.
          I think there’s a certain advantage to having to turn ur body To use ur preferred foot but I will not argue some players are better as inverted wingers.

      3. Secondly, we play a formation with a single leading striker. I bet my bottom dollar, if we played Auba and Laca in a twin striking combo, Auba would still drift left and Laca would move central. This is because, one is a natural CF, and the other is more like a support striker.

  1. Great post. I have always told my Gunner sphere here in Cape Town, South Africa, that while i concede Arsenal have a weak back, our major handicap is the bloated midfield, convulsive combinations that lack football intelligence and sophistication. We need to fix our bowel to mitigate the diarrhea at the back.

    1. I’m simply confused on what else they can do with the Bottom right area and the midfield pairing. The defensive unit has trouble shouldering this area, be it a Grealish or a Pulisic, they really seem to like it there don’t you think?

  2. ArsenalAfroArmy no my friend i dont agree with you at all. Auba has been playing on the left not the right, and has been most productive on the left as opposed to the right witch he doesn’t play. Im struggling to get where or how you came to this conclusion!

    1. Previous club
      ST=147 app +100 goals 27 assist
      Rw=55 app 23 goals 10 assist
      Lw=10 app 2 goals
      Highest strike rate is slightly centre right Which is consistent with expectations of a right footed striker.
      Ideally he will begin from a RM position drifting into right ST area instead of LM into left ST area.
      If you would like to argue inverted wingers ,sure but to say he doesn’t play on the right is simply untrue. As I have mentioned he is played on the left for team balance .such is the state of our team.
      I am open to being wrong but a season or so doing well on the left does not negate what he has done in his career for so long.

      1. A much hoped for proper analysis started with a falsehood, as Auba is NOT on the right at all, despite the writers lame and plain silly reply to Gunner Devs accurate post above mine, but left sided. AT ARSENAL, which is what counts!!!

        Just as suddenly, the article ended abruptly without telling us much at all. I will be honest and say that as someone who is always happy to attach my REAL NAME to my, admittedly at times, strong opinions, I slightly mistrust a dubious chosen profile of “Arsenal Afro Army”.

        Arsenal football club has no army in Africa nor in any othe location on Earth. We DO though have fans around the globe, reassuringly too.
        Bottom line for me is this chosen profile has now lost my respect and trust. To the writer , if you are prepared to use your personal name and stand by the comments you write, then fair enough. That equally appies to all on here, IMO!

        1. I guess I wasn’t clear that I theorised he is being deployed on the left due to the fact no one is capable of what he does there and our options are the young Saka and Martinelli( pure natural occupiers of the top left area with the latter being more central and former wide) I’m just simply putting him where he naturally belongs,somewhere in the set up that allows him to drift into what arguably is his best performing area of his career which is slightly right centre.
          Xg90 since joining arsenal
          Last season 0.77
          This season 0.47
          Last xg90 before joining 1.05
          Once again I am using statistical proof to simply show where he is deadliest. And if your argument is because we’re playing him in the left it must be his best position then prove it. If my reply was lazy,I will take pointers from yours. So what do we have? I am lame and silly because only what players produce at arsenal matters. What a is is followed by a rant. Did I miss anything?
          If the criticism is amount of substance then sure, I’m still new at trying to contribute.
          I take it you took the time to read so thank you.

          1. Have to disagree, go watch his highlights at dortmund, while on the team sheet he might be RW more, watch his highlights hes more often left centre than right, definitely scored more goals from centre left.

          2. Anyone who has watched football for more than a year knows that most right footed attackers will be more comfortable shooting from left center , and the reverse is true. It’s in very few occasions , I’d say maybe Ibrahimovic, Ruud Van Nisterlooy, and most route one english and german strikers that can shoot from the same side as their stronger foot. Besides , why would you want to narrow your key striker’s shooting angles ?

          3. Yout trouble was that your article stayed a ridiculous untruth aboyt hwer Auba plays WITH US, not in his past which is irrelevant. You also and in great detail laid out your positional stretegy with himon thr right, so NO WONDER masny other GOONERS ALSO criticized that falsehood. When any article lets itself so badly down by a massive and plain wrong statement as yours did, it is BOUND to lose all credibility. And you have.

            BYW, as many others also have said over the years , mere “stats” are never “proof” and are not more than aguide. Good judges use their eyes and then a keen brain, aided on ocaasion by SOME meaningful stats but only aided BY THEM , NOT RULED BY THEM.
            I do not know you but you have not impressed me so far and I find your choice of profile name to be bordering on racist too.

            An “army” implies you have thousands of others in your thought camp and I SEE NO EVIDENCE OF THAT ON HERE. QUITE THE OPPOSITE, TO JUDGE FROM MANY REPLIES TO YOU, APART FROM JUST MINE.

            I am almost seventy and have been attending AFC since 1958 and fancy I know a great deal more about life and about Arsenal than you do, to judge by your own fallible posts and lame attempts to justify your clear falsehood about Auba.

        2. Sorry, but is it more than the above article. Come on, make your point and if you want criticize, do it with decorum. We are here to share and not to fight you know?

  3. The defence has no problem at all.
    The best centerback pairing is Mari…Luiz, then Mustafi/Saliba can cover for Luiz b’se They’re predominantly right-sided and Holding (predominantly left sided centerback) can cover for Mari. That’s it.

    The major problem is midfield, precisely the lack of ball-playing (technical) central midfielders.
    If we can get Partey (who has steel and technique) and Ceballos (who’s the only technical central midfielder we have) then its sorted.

    Box to Box player
    I wanted us to retain Mkitaryan because he’s the one that can play this.
    However, if he’s sold then it can be partially solved by retaining and training M-Niles to this role (playing him more centrally/right).

    No. 11:
    There’s a problem there since these guys decided in selling Iwobi. That’s why they are looking at Willian, Coutinho…blah..blah.

    1. Luiz is not a problem, he is the main problem. He is slow and on top of that he makes too many silly mistakes he is worse then Mustafi on a bad day. How many penalties did he give away this season and for how many goals we conceded he was either involved directly or indirectly. He is not a reliable CB. I don’t know what we were thinking when we gave me the extension, the guys should not have been bought on first occasion. We need at least one good CB to either company Mari or Salina or back up for both.

  4. So Herbz, you think Saliba has been signed as a back up?He is supremely talented, and our only CB with real pace,yet you consider the ponderous Mari and equally slow Luis to be our first choice pairing.With respect are you feeling ok?

    1. Supremely talented you say???!!!

      Come next year we’ll see who’s right. And I’ve never been wrong at my analysis.

      I don’t rate Saliba that highly at all. Mavropanos is far superior to him and was loaned out, so his place is on the bench.

      1. Never been wrong in your analysis?? Surely then you would be some sort of multi millionaire betting mogul? Professional tv analyst? Football manager? No? None of those things? Ok cool.

      2. Herbz, you lost me when you said the defense has no problem at all, yet Arsenal conceded 51 goals at an average of 1.34 goals per game!
        Yes, some of that is due to a porous midfield, but to exonerate the defense is going too far.

    2. Saliba is just 18, he wont go in immediately to our XI like many are predicting. We have enough CB’s that he will be eased in. I still think we start next season with three CB’s.

      New CB (probably Gabriel)-Luiz-Holding

      I dont think arteta belives this side is ready to play a back 4 again yet.

  5. My apologies Herbz.As an ex player and football scout I have been wrong on numerous occasions so I bow to your superior knowledge which I may say is surprisingly not shared by numerous professional Managers and players who rate Saliba very highly.The fact that we paid 25m for a 19 year old is also an indication of his talent, is it not?

    1. Yup the fact he said he has Never been wrong in his analysis undermines his whole point, I for one cant wait to see him in an arsenal shirt COYG

  6. Nice one… lovely article Admin Pat… feeling excited about next season already…. happy Sunday you all😄😀🤩🤩

    1. Credit where credit is due.
      That was written by ArsenalAfroArmy, who has only recently become a regular contributor to JA.
      Congrats AAA!

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