HOW COMPETITIVE CAN ARSENAL BE STARTING WITH LIVERPOOL AND LEICESTER, GAZIDIS?
If we are to believe the Arsenal Chief Executive Ivan Gazidis and assess Arsene Wenger’s previous statements, then we are finished at the transfer Market. Arsene Wenger was once quoted saying we will just sign 2 or three players. Well, we have signed Granit Xhaka, Takuma Asano and Rob Holding. The three players happen to be coming to reinforce departments in the side that fans have been crying for so long about…so fans, your cries have been heard loud and clear. Asano will bolster striking options, Xhaka will help our midfield and Holding will come to the aid of our defense. Don’t forget we have goalkeeper Guy Smit on trials to bolster the goalkeeping department. What more can ask for?
I digress, assuming that we have finished in the market like Ivan Gazidis seems to be claiming, I want to question if we even have a functional first XI to field against Liverpool and later Leicester. Unless there is a system change at Arsenal, I want to assume that we will start with a possibility of two losses or a loss and a draw. If those are the “competitive’ results that Gazidis is thinking about I can assure him that after match day 2 someone will have to win in two games with possibility of not having conceded. Once you start with such pressure it invites a few bad things for the season. Lower ranking premiership side will begin to fancy themselves against us and that means an extra confidence boost to our enemies. The second thing that would happen is that our big boys coming back will start to strive too hard trying to catch up. That’s the time injuries begin to show up and the morale in the squad goes down.
My argument – we must start off well and since we will not have our big boys in the squad, we can only make up for it by deploying a new system. With Ozil, Sanchez, Ramsey, Koscielny and Giroud all missing due to their various tournament engagements, here is the pattern and squad that may help out in the first two matches and how it can be most competitive as soon as the big boys return, seamlessly.
For the first two games:
The First XI for the rest of the season
Arguments: I think Wenger should abandon this fascination with the wings if he cannot sign players capable of executing effective wing duties. We failed to fight for Mkhitaryan when he was available and now Gazidis says we will not be signing Mahrez or even Turan – who Alexis is asking we pick up. We have just one accomplished Winger in the squad as the rest of the wing capable players (Oxdale Chamberlain, Walcott, Iwobi, Campbell) have issues that make them not effective. For Walcott, his time to prove himself has passed by, Ox Chamberlain has had extensive roles here and has remained inconsistent. Campbell is also inconsistent and Iwobi is still too young to be relied on leaving just Sanchez as the dependable winger.
Our most solid area is the central midfield, especially in Central Defense. In there we have the following players who can execute a more than decent shift – Coquelin, Xhaka, Elneny, Cazorla, Ramsey, Chambers and Wilshere, Zelalem. That’s a lot of talent that the team should just be organized around. Three players from these contingent can actually make Asrsenal squad such a strong one. With the three anchor midfield and two strikers, players like Ramsey and Cazorla capable of hurting teams especially with freedom to roam the channels. Then there are the well-known capabilities of Bellerin and Monreal to pop up from the wings with powerful attack plays. Cazorla and Ramsey (Coached some discipline) can break any attack thrown at Arsenal and begin the attacks themselves. And we have Xhaka whose weakness is said is his discipline in the heart of the midfield, but we have Coquelin and Elneny to slot in in case things are bad. Xhaka’s qualities to shield the back four were well on display at the Euro 2016 tournament.
If Ramsey is whipped into shape and only roams when there is enough confusion and cover in his areas, Arsenal could match the invincibles in shutting out any form of opposition, big and small. As for attacking, you know you have potential to score so many goals when Sanchez gets to help Giroud with striking responsibilities. Giroud’s partnership striking credentials were there in display at the Euro 2016 for all to see. For all his time at Arsenal, we have always know about his link up play capabilities. It doesn’t get better for the opposition when Alexis Sanchez can turn up at any spot, from any wing through any channels. And it’s worse that he can receive a precise pass from Xhaka, Ozil, Cazorla, Ramsey, Giroud etc – scary. And what’s more Cazorla and Ramsey are in range to appear just at the right moment and trust me a fired up Ozil could do some 10 goals.
Unless Gazidis and Wenger have this kind of a pattern in mind…we are in for some super thrashing this season if he and Wenger’s words are to be taken at face value…