Opinion – Arsenal have a talented group but need the quality in depth 

Do we have a squad? by Vuyo Mataka 

After the loss against Nottingham Forest the fans feel as if we were embarrassed by a lower league team but, actually, we lost to a good Championship team that could be in the Premier league next season. The team were focused and had the fans behind them, and Arsenal did not take the fixture as seriously as our opponents.

Our team was mostly filled with squad players, plus Saka, Odegaard, Martinelli and a start for the rising star Charlie Patino. The squad was also weakened due to players leaving for AFCON. The team looked as if they could win but it was not enough to cut down the Forest. 

The result showed we lacked in mentality and in depth, especially in midfield. With the transfer market now open, it’s time to focus on building a squad with the quality to reach the top 4. With the defence, Holding and Cedric were not up to standard. Lack of game time could have affected their game but they are simply not at the level the club needs. Centre-backs should not be a focus, William Saliba should have the opportunity to prove himself. For right back, the club should look at options like Tariq Lamptey or Noussair Mazraoui to make the position more competitive.  

Regarding midfield and striker, the club are in a predicament. With the club chasing Dušan Vlahović and with the midfield looking thin, will the club be able to do both or focus on one this transfer window. I feel the club has to prioritise midfield, with the likes of Bruno Guimarães and Mattias Svanberg so that the midfield is properly bolstered to help us secure too four.  

It would be a dream window to be able to bring in Vlahović and improve the quality in midfield. With the owners spending big in the summer, it is unlikely that they would do so again. Midfield has to be the main aim, with Partey being injury prone since arriving in Arsenal and Xhaka being very likely to get red and yellow cards throughout the season, we need the players coming off the bench that are able to perform at the same level.  

Arsenal finally have a recognisable XI with our young players performing. When an injury crisis occurs, will we still be able to get top 4? The club needs a better midfield to secure or even stay within top 4.

It’s time to make signings. 

Vuyo Mataka

Tags midfield striker


  1. Totally agree. We need to be able to field a team that retains a strong and talented spine regardless of injuries etc. We are not there yet, but the January and summer transfer windows should get us there.

    1. Bring Saliba and guendouzi and we will have quality in depth. Even Bellerin used to be top right back with so many top teams chasing him. It’s down to how the manager gets best out of the player.

      1. vz. Its daft and wrong to claim Bellerin was once a top right back. He has never been able to defend at all and is far too week and weedy. So glad he is gone from our team, even though still TECHNICALLY our player.

        As with some other GOONERS, I THINK YOU CONFUSE BEING A GOOD HUMAN BEING WITH BEING A GOOD PLAYER. He is not and and never was, , never will be either, a good player, but a poor one who cannot defend at all.

  2. Loaning Arthur Melo will be a wise decision and we could also try Akinola first. I heard we’re currently in an advanced stage of signing Melo, although my friend who’s an avid Barcelona fan said Melo could only pass the ball around like Andre Gomes

    We should’ve loaned a CF too, instead of splashing the cash on a highly popular one. This is probably the most important position in our team, so we can’t afford another expensive flop

    As for our RB, he stays behind for most of the time. So we’d better sign a tall one like Mazraoui or Djed Spence

    1. Melo doesn’t inspire excitement if he is signed. I mean a player often on the bench at Juventus is questionable in terms of his form. Is he the only one available? we could look into EPL for other DM. Our game against Tottenham would be a big reality check for us. Splashing some cash in January for a good player may be wise for Arsenal. Though risky.

      1. Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp and Patrick Viera were all bench warmers when we signed them for Italy,

        just saying.

    2. Melo doesn’t inspire excitement if he is signed. I mean a player often on the bench at Juventus is questionable in terms of his form. Is he the only one available? we could look into EPL for other DM. Our game against Tottenham would be a big reality check for us. Splashing some cash in January for a good player especially CF may be wise for Arsenal. Though risky.

      1. He’s flopped at Barcelona and Juventus, so hopefully he works harder at Arsenal. I think he is the only high profile deep-lying playmaker available for loan and it’s a pretty safe move since he’ll only play for four months

        I’d prefer Marc Roca though

      1. He seems a problematic character

        He abstained from international duty for three years, owing to a dispute over his country’s set-up. He was also somehow connected to a sexual assault in Brighton and got arrested for it once

      2. Bissouma and Tielemans in the summer £100m the pair
        Sell xhaka, maitland-niles, Elneny, Torreira and guendozi for £70m

        Job done

      1. Maybe because Melo is in his prime, available for loan and has plenty of experience

        It’s underwhelming because he didn’t thrive at two top clubs, slow, small and unproductive, but the coaches will be able to directly monitor his progress

        I wish we can try Soares in the DM position

  3. Are our Youths and Academy Products that poor?? Give 1 or 2 of them a chance and save the bucks. Why waste money to sign Melo on a big money weekly wages, try Akinola or any of our U23 midfielders.
    Give the kids a chance to prove themselves and if they don’t, Buy a proper midfielder in the summer.

    1. That is a worthy concept Qutie but nowadays fans want instant success, so you play kids at your peril….

  4. IMO, we don’t need Melo, the EPL requires strength and skill, one reason Odegaard can’t hold our midfield, we need Guimaeres, Wijnaldum,

    I think Arteta should have put Saka and chambers in the midfield in our FA match, the midfield is the spine of every team, a little change won’t harm us,

    Hopefully we can field a lot of experience in the midfield against Liverpool and spurs,else we would be beaten blue black.

  5. There are quality players available in this window
    that would immediately make Arsenal one of
    the favorites to clinch CL futbol but do Kroenke
    and co truly understand the magnitude of the
    moment and allocate the funds necessary to
    make key additions to the squad. The following
    quality players are all available if AFC are willing
    to act like a Big Boy club and show some
    freaking ambition.

    Y Bissouma
    Y Tielemans
    Bruno G
    R Sanchez
    D Zakaria
    A Tchouameni
    F Kessie
    D Vlahovic
    A Isaak
    J David
    A Cabral
    P Schick

    Loans to Arthur Melo and Luka Jovic would add
    the required depth to the squad but quite frankly
    isn’t enough IMWO to see Arsenal win the race
    for a CL spot

  6. We ALL know we need several quality players. Nothing of any insight in simply stating the obvious, as this article does!
    For what its worth , ALMOST all clubs could also say just the same.

    I far prefer articles that actually say something we all did not know already, as anyone can state the obvious but not everyone can write a worthwhile article.

    1. We seem to be blessed in producing some great young talent right now
      We have the youngest team in the prem
      With this comes inconsistency
      We do need to strengthen but I believe we need a few old heads who are proven leaders that can steer some of our youngsters when levels are dropping
      Forest was a prime example where where I thought we started slow and just got slower as the game went on
      For me it’s actually Nice to hear people in the media saying we have a great shot at making a top 4 spot rather than saying we will be lucky take to 8
      Even though we feel frustrated at times with some of the teams performances we need to patient
      We are definitely on an upward curve
      Onwards and upwards

  7. As far as I am concerned we currently have a squad of 34 players. 9 of those are now on loan, yet I would say 18 of those 34 are probably available for transfer and the remaining 16 includes 3 keepers one of which is not really happy being the cup keeper.

    The ones defo for next season
    Ramsdale, Leno? Okonkwo
    White Saliba
    Tierney Tavares
    Odegaard, Smith Rowe

    As 8 have said there 8s so much work for Edu and Arteta to do. Who do you keep from the 18? Who do you add from the academy? Who do you buy?

    Obviously the glaring areas are
    Right back, centre back, centre midfield x2, right wing, left wing and striker x2, plus a keeper if Leno wants out?

    For me deputy right back can easily be filled by retaining one of Bellerin or Clarke. 4th centre back Ballard. Right wing I would promote Hutchinson

    The rest will need to be bought either this window or in the summer.

  8. So Arsenal’s “squad players” were
    Leno – German international
    Cedric – Portuguese European Championship Winner
    White – £50m English European Championship Runner Up
    Tavares – Portuguese U21
    Sambi – Belgian International
    Saka – English European Championship Runner Up
    Odegaard – Norwegian international captain
    Martinelli – Brazilian Olympic Gold Medalist
    Nketiah – All time leading England U21 goalscorer
    Tierney – Multiple winner of the Scottish League
    Lacazette – French international
    Kolasinac – Serbian international once voted best left back in the Bundesliga

    I’m not sure we should be saying but Forest are a really good championship team. It’s so embarrassing. Accept we were crap and outplayed.

    1. Well now we are offering 8 X his salary he is already kissing the badge and bringing out photos of when he was 5 wearing an arsenal shirt with Henry on the back…..lifelong gooner allegedly😁

  9. Ramsdale
    Tomiyasu white gabriel Tierney
    Odegaard Partey Smith Rowe
    Saka lacazette Martinelli

    Leno, chambers holding Tavares sambi xhaka Pepe nketiah aubameyang

    For me that is a decent line up to see us through the season once auba and Pepe return from international duty. For now patino/eddine and Hutchinson should step in for those 2. The rest of the squad should only be included for injuries, suspensions and covid

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