Analysis: Great start – but Arsenal still need a few more signings

A few more signings and we’ll be all set! by Konstantin Mitov

Well, lovely Arsenal people, we beat Chelsea 4-0. It’s only a pre-season friendly, so the result doesn’t matter that much, but there are a few things to take away.

We looked fitter and more determined to win than Chelsea. We looked more like the team that knows it’s best 11. Chelsea were pretty poor and that was far from their best squad. Obviously they are going to sign more players and playing them in the league will be much more different, but as of right now, we should be targeting that 3d position in the league next season.
Our starting 11 looks really nice. Bill Saliba is a player that I’d like to see start against Palace. His stature and composure are unbelievable for a player aged 21. The famous Wenger quote “like a new signing” is somewhat true here.
The actual new signings of Jesus and Zinchenko fit in straight away too. I’m glad we got cover for Tierny and if I’m honest I think he’ll have a tough fight to get his spot back. His injury record is not great and that cost us last season.
In the Premier league nowadays, every position counts. Full backs are vitally important. Look at TAA and Robertson at Liverpool. Cancelo at man City is a game changing player. We covered left back, but I’m looking at the right side and I’m worried.
Tomi won’t be fit to play at Crystal Palace and I suspect it’ll be Ben White at RB. While that’ll give us better control of the ball I’m worried about dealing with the likes of Zaha. We start the season in 12 days against Palace and we only managed 1 point off of them last season.
So I’d like to see us go and buy a proper RB. It’s highly unlikely, but this would tell me that we are dead serious about not leaving any potential holes in the squad.
The other position that can obviously be upgraded is Granit Xhaka. I know he’s a great character and he’s very liked in the team and every manager loves him, but if we upgrade him, we’ll be a damn proper side. The other reason I really want a new midfielder is that we’re just one Thomas Partey injury away from big Mo starting every week.
We’ve all heard the names – Tielemans, Paqueta, Milinkovic-Savic, I’d take any one of those, with the Belgian being the obvious choice, due to his PL experience and being the cheapest option as well.
Another winger is also something to look for. There’s no real cover for Saka and Martinelli. Smith-Rowe scored a good amount of goals last season, but the overall threat and work rate of the previous two makes them clear starters.
Then there’s Pepe, where it just hasn’t worked out. A good player in my opinion, but just doesn’t suit what the manager wants. Looking at it this way, I understand why we bid for Raphina. I will probably repeat myself here, but too much pressure fell on Saka last year.
He’s a generational talent, but having the cameras pointed at a 20 year old player when we don’t win is not right. Foden is impressing at City, but he’s surrounded by experienced players and we lacked that last year.
To top it off, in a dream world, another striker is also on the list. Ivan Toney for me, would be a very good signing, just to have the option to whip balls in the box and actually have a target to hit.
That said, we’ll hardly see more than 2 more come in and for me a CM, then a Winger or a right back is what is top priority. The problem with bringing players in is that our squad is too big.
I look at the Arsenal on tour videos and there’s Bellerin, a player who obviously doesn’t want to be here, on massive wages that we’re struggling to move on. AMN is another player who’s time here is done for me. Remember when Wolves were giving us 20 million pounds for him?
We didn’t take them and now we have a problem. I remember a MoTM performance against City in the FA cup, playing as a full back. That was his chance to grab that position and make it his own, but he wants midfield and he’s not good enough for us there.
Then there is Pablo Mari. We don’t have a left sided CB apart from Gabriel, but if you have to select 4 CB for this season, who would they be? Gabriel, White, Saliba and?
It’s probably Holding, although that’s another player that has some really good performances and some shockers. We even won an FA cup with Holding and Mertesacker as our two CB a few years back. The odd good performance is not enough reason to keep a player though.
Midfield is another area where we have a lot of players, yet we need to improve. If we play the same game of name 4 CM, ideally I want – Partey, a new signing like Tielemans, Xhaka and Elneny in that picking order.
Torreira will probably leave. He didn’t settle in England very well, he’s mentioned it a few times and we should be moving him on. I think there’s a player in Sambi Lokonga, but a loan might be good for him. Nuno Tavares should also be loaned, or straight out sold. Going forward there’s an argument for him, but defensively he cost us a few times.
Finally the goalkeeping situation is a funny one. We’re trying to move on Leno, but in reality I’d keep him. Seeing how Matt Turner let one fly in the middle of his goal gave me Runarsson vibes. There’s a reason why keepers are expensive, I’ll tell you that. I’d keep Leno if we could, as I think Ramsdales second half of the season wasn’t as good as his first. Preseason as well, I’ve not been overly impressed, but sadly I think we’ll roll the dice here and let the German leave.
Overall that’s a lot of players to move out – Leno, Torreira, Mari, AMN, Bellerin and Pepe. Then loan Nuno and possibly Sambi and Balogun as well. That’s 6 to 9 players which can massively reduce our wage bill and if we can recoup 30 mills for them, that’s enough for Tielemans already.
Overall, I like how our pre-season has looked so far, I can’t lie. Edu and Arteta seem to be aware of what’s needed, now it’s time to open the Kroenke checkbook and get it done. I’ve fallen victim to the preseason hype train before though, but all that matters is the game at Selhurst Park. We need to hit the ground running. We missed the top 4 by 2 points. Were we better prepared to face Brentford at the start of last season, who knows where we would’ve been right now?
It’s all ifs and butts, and we shouldn’t be dwelling on the past, but just learn our lesson and be ready. In my job, we are thought that if anything is possible to fail, it will, and we should be prepared to handle it.
Please Arsenal, do the same and add the missing pieces!

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  1. Interesting ands a welcome thorough piece, packed with detail and giving Konstantins honest personal take on things. Lots to agree with for me and a few bits to slightly quarrel about but overall a fine and worthwhile piece and this is the sort of article I REALLY WISH far more writers would offer us , instead of brief platitudes which say, essentially nothing at all.

    So more like this please Konstantin. I did not even mind the “Bill, rather than William Saliba and medium sized Elneny being called”BIG Mo”.

  2. Gakpo In, Onana and/or Tielemans in. I doubt we can get Savic.

    Watching the game against Chelsea, I realized that there is going to be a lot of space outside the box as our front three will be dragging the defense in frequently. And that’s where a goal scoring midfielder would come in really handy, and that makes Tielemans a better move imo. He lacks defensively, but if he plays instead of Xhaka, he would find the net much more frequently I think.

    Also we should get Onana as well, with some coaching he can be a beast of a DM. And both Tielemans and Onana will cost less Savic alone.

    Also, need Gakpo. Then Arsenal attack will be scary as hell this season.

  3. I agree we shouldn’t get carried away, despite the great results in pre-season. Tuchel didn’t use his favorite three-CB tactics

    Edu said we have enough players for Paqueta’s main position. So I don’t think we’d sign another AM, although Paqueta would likely be a great addition to our squad

    In my opinion, Jesus and Martinelli are the only attackers at Arsenal who can get past players frequently. I think Saka, Smith-Rowe and Pepe made too many backward passes, so I also understood our interest in Raphinha

    1. Chelsea used 4-3-3 first half and switched to a 3-4-3 second half so they used their formation albeit not from the start of the game.

      Tuchel wants to switch to 4-3-3 next season so let’s see how it works out with their team.

      1. I’m glad they shipped out Lukaku, because he is very dangerous aerially. They seem to have weakened their squad’s set-piece department

  4. Didn’t watch the match against chelsea buh with the extended highlights i saw, there were at least 3 occassions where Saka dribbled past his marker, one of which led to his goal. As far as am concerned, Saka is the better dribbler among all three. Maybe you try and see his highlight reels and come back for an edit.

  5. All good points but Leno wants to leave so we have to be realistic, plus it brings in money for Tielemans – the one missing piece imo.

  6. More signing? I don’t think we are going for a cm.
    An experience forward that will bench Martinelli from our starting 11 and help our young forwards settle to develop. I feel we lack experience in that area. It’s one of the reasons we fell short last season

    1. How will the young forwards settle to develop if they don’t play games?

      Mbappe and Vinicius developed on the bench?

  7. Already good sign of progress but really need a winger and Cody G can do then a CM where You’re T. Can attack, score and even defend an we are good to go

  8. Tielemans and gakpo or the mystery winger is all we need.i trust in cedric and mo elneny to do a great job at RB and DM respectively when called upon against small teams in pl and europa.

  9. It seems that more balanced articles are appearing with some regularity on the site.
    For too long the site had appeared to mainly be a platform for those who wanted to do a hatchet job on the manager or senior management at the club.
    It is good to see some reasonable analyses of the strengths and potential weaknesses of the squad as well as other useful discussion points.

  10. Let’s ship in Gakpo for the winger position, Savic for Partey competition, and Grimaldo…Then ship out Tavares ( loan),AMN-sell, Pepe -sell and Holding- sell.

    Your piece of work is always seasoned, Constatin.
    Kudos man.

    1. Is it that most fans on here do not research on some players linked to Arsenal.

      I keep seeing people wanting Savic to replace Partey? Do you guys watch football at all to know a players position for their club before wanting them at Arsenal?

      Savic is a B2B/AM and not a CDM

      Someone with over 20G/A doesn’t play the 6 position

  11. It will not be over ambition, to say that we shall be League Challengers. After all, if you analyse the last League table and the goal differences between AFC and the top four clouds, with the young AFC team last year and a plague of injuries, then the story will surely be different. We are certainly more prepared now than ever before to start a new season.

  12. The writer is spot on just about everything.

    He recognizes what the gaffer was trying to do by attempting to sign Raphinha.
    He recognizes Xhaka contributions and knows only a massive upgrade can replace him.
    He recognizes as good as we look last night an injury to party and we are in big trouble.

    Am not worried about Crystal Palace on the 5th , this team will beat them anywhere at any time, it’s the depth am concerned about, what happens when Saka or Party is out.

    We must break the bank now and sign Savic, a winger is a must as well

    1. Agreed sir, I too appreciated the acknowledgement about Xhakas contribution to the team (rather than the usual mudslinging by some on this forum). Where I slightly disagree is where the author opined/asserted that selling 5 quite useful players in favor of buying Tielemans would be beneficial…lack of squad depth was one of the main things that did us in last season

  13. Arsenal have already spent more than anyone else in Europe. There must surely come a point where the spending has to stop or EUFA rules will be breached.

    Arteta now has to deal with a change of perception. Up to now he’s been the plucky manager battling against the odds. After this spending spree it’s no longer the case, if he doesn’t deliver he’s in trouble.

    I don’t know why fans always seem to think next season will be a continuation of last season. Where Arsenal finished last time is irrelevant. Chelsea are already looking weaker and Spurs stronger, no one really has any idea what United or Newcastle might do. That’s before the season starts, who knows what the mid season World Cup will do.

        1. so far this transfer window,it’s gross spending and not net spending.

  14. Konstantin, well written piece, i do believe right back is that weak tomi and Cedric as back up looks decent. More pressing and a must for me is the cm and winger having seen zinnny play left back last night .overall we’ll have to wait and see how the transfer window in terms of outgoings

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