We all know that Arsenal had a terrible start to the season with a glut of draws against average opponents, and we all blamed Arsene Wenger for failing to bring in another top-class defender and a young but promising defensive midfielder.
But we all know that the real reason for our misery was the unrelenting injury problems that left us with only half of our squad for the first six months of the season. Now that Francis Coquelin has comeback as a new man in midfield (and signed a new contract) and the recent arrival of the beast-looking Gabriel Paulista to shore up the defence, we are now looking like the finished article at last.
As well as Le Coq and Gabriel we have also seen our injury list eased, and we all saw that, even with seven changes from the Leicester game, we still managed to field a top quality starting XI against Middlesbrough and produced arguably one of our best performances of our season so far.
Arsene Wenger feels we are definitely now well-stocked with quality players as he said after our win yesterday: “We have a week now to prepare for the Crystal Palace game and I did rotate today as well. I changed two defenders from our last game. It shows that everybody’s focused and has the quality to compete for places in the team. At the moment, in every single position, we have two very good players.”
Many JustArsenal readers thought that we also needed a top quality striker to actually challenge for the title, but Olivier Giroud is now looking like the real deal, and both the youngster Chuba Akpom and the ex-Man United Danny Welbeck could be adequate understudies against the weaker teams. Wenger remarked about Welbeck yesterday: “One of the reasons I bought him is that he can play central striker and wide. I believe he’s doing extremely well and is contributing to the team very well.
“He can play central striker like he did for a long time but the most natural centre forward we have is Giroud. All the strikers we have can play in different positions. The only one who can only play centre forward is Giroud, so when Giroud plays the others have to move out wide.”
It would seem now that Wenger’s major problem for the rest of the season is to rotate just enough to keep all our stars happy, as the quality in depth is there for all to see. So now we have the majority of our players fit and well, do you STILL think Arsenal needs to buy in the summer (except to replace ageing stars) or have we now got all the pieces in place to challenge for the title next season?