Did we do enough to repair the squad this summer? by Konstantin Mitov
Okay so transfer deadline day is here and like many others, it looks to be a quiet one unless some ridiculous bombshell drops which the media will surely pick upon. So we brought in 5 players who are likely to feature, so did we do enough?
Bernd Leno joined us to help improve on a position that cost us a lot of points last season. We also saw a much better Cech in pre-season which might be due to the competition. I have a feeling Petr will be the one between the sticks against City. And it looks like this is the end for Ospina at Arsenal. After seeing Chelsea drop 70 million for a keeper I never heard of playing for Bilbao, I think we’ve done quite decent in this department for the crazy prices being thrown around.
In defence Sokratis comes to steady the ship, but his pace is a major issue. We won’t have to wait long at all to see him test it out against the lightning attack of City! The problem is that even though Mustafi looked decent in pre-season, he is still a liability. We gambled with slow defenders like Mertesacker and it sometimes worked and others it backfired, even though the german was a very intelligent player.
It is surprising to me that we loaned out Chambers. I think right now he is better than Holding and we did give him a new deal, then we shipped him with the newcomers. We obviously have Mavropanos as well, and Koscielny might return from injury mid-season, but I think in central defence there is a clear lack of experienced options.
On the right we added Lichtsteiner as competition for Bellerin, who sadly looked pretty poor again in pre-season, but I fear he will start against City. Another major problem with Bellerin is the fact that we lack a true winger to support him in defence, so when he moves forward we’re often exposed at the back. On the left, the injury of Kolasinac is a problem and so is the age of Nacho, who has been Mr. consistent for Arsenal. We can cover with Maitland-Niles though so this should be alright.
Overall the defence continues to be the missing piece in our puzzle. But defence is not just the back, it includes how the team behaves without the ball, the pressing, and of course the help it gets from the midfield, where we’ve added 2 interesting players – Guendouzi and Torreira. Do you think any of them will start against City? I think the young frenchman was the most impressive player in the summer and deserves a spot.
The uruguayan on the other hand is finally that defensive midfield player who supposedly shouldn’t want to be number 10, although he wears 11. If I had to chose the starting 11, the 3 in midfield I’d pick would be Torreira, Ramsey and Guendouzi. It looks like the Welshman is staying, as Chelsea took Kovacic on loan and literally no time to replace Ramsey if he leaves. I have a slight feeling that we might put Xhaka instead of Matteo and go for experience but I so much liked the youngsters forward thinking passes, I hope we’re willing to risk it as he did have a full pre-season.
Up top, the three candidates are Ozil, Laca and Auba. All three looked sharp and they will need to carry the squad this season. It is extremely interesting if we’ll give Ozil the armband. Honestly who do you pick for captain. Cech, Nacho, Ramsey and Ozil will be my shortlist, with neither being real captain material honestly, but I want a player who will be a regular in the squad.
It is extremely interesting what style of play will we put out this season. The friendlies showed glimpses of a more direct play and periods of the old Arsenal showing through, which is understandable considering the amount of time we were stuck with Wenger. I think we have quality and apart from Liverpool and City, there isn’t that much more of a quality gap between us and the other top 6 teams. We need to improve defensively and better our away record from last year. If we do this I think that top 4 will be on the cards. For Emery’s first season, this will be good enough.
Hopefully we’ll get to a positive start. Have a lovely end of the week!