There were three glaring weaknesses this season:
- Could not keep a clean sheet. Especially at set plays
- Seriously lacked width
- Real problem in scoring from open play. Especially
after Henry and Van- Persie got injured.
Arsenal Analysis resident season ticket holder at the Emirates, South Stand: Row 5 using his “hands on experience” discusses the team’s weaknesses and comes up with the names to fill in the vacancies at Arsenal Football Club.
Could not keep a clean sheet. Especially at set plays
I watched every single home game this season live at the Emirates – except Bolton and CSKA - and a few of the away ones (It’s always fun going to the Lane!) and my mind is clear as to what the problem with the defence was (is).
Neither Kolo Toure nor Gallas are comfortable in attacking the ball at set plays or from long throws. For this reason Gilberto was usually recruited. But in doing this he was getting dragged out of position – remember he is not a centre back – and if the ball was not cleared effectively there was no player on the edges of the box to stop the opposition from resuming their attack.
Both Gallas and Toure are exceptional defenders, but they are too similar. They both like using their speed as their main asset. However their pace comes in handful as the fullbacks are hardly ever in position to defend and the central defenders are usually there to cover.
Seriously lacked width
We have missed Reyes and Pires a lot this year. They are the two players that made it viable for us to play a 4 5 1 formation, especially in Europe. Reyes provided natural width and in the process helped create space for Fabregas to dominate the midfield, and I always thought Pires would find a way to score. His link up play and his understanding with Henry created so many goals.
Without the natural width we have struggled this year. Rosicky and Hleb tended to drift towards the middle making it an even more congested midfield and very complicated to get the ball to the strikers.
They are not really wide players are they? They are more your roaming attack minded midfielders. More like a traditional number 10 and this is why they probably drift infield rather than stretch the right or left backs on the line. Not, as Henry has suggested, because of the wide spaces of the new stadium! Everything is being blamed on the new stadium! We don't buy that! Wenger is in denial… again
Real problem in scoring from open play. Especially after Henry and Van-Persie got injured
We have missed way too many easy chances this year. If we had converted only a third of them we would have been at least second in the league, gone to Anfield for a Champions League quarterfinal and played an FA cup semi final! At least.
Think about it.
Aston Villa, Boro, Chelsea, Everton, Newcastle and West Ham were points thrown away at home. Man City and West ham were games we should have won away.
The crucial question about the attack for next season is whether AW believes that Henry is going to be fit and back to his best. Because without Henry we need to invest very heavily on a forward. Even with a fit Henry we still need to get another quality striker so as to widen the options and create cover. Adebayor and Van Persie can not in my opinion get enough goals between them to make us serious contenders next season.
The jury is still out on Bendtner. Who knows he might even end up a better player than Henry. But surely he will need next season to be blooded into the squad and accustom himself to the demands of the Premier League.
Copa America and the Africa Cup of Nations
On top of all the above there are two more things to consider when planning for next season: the Copa America and the Africa Cup of nations.
This means that we will be without Gilberto until late September and we will lose Ade, Eboue and Kolo in the middle of the season for around six weeks.
Diaby will probably get a chance in the middle first up, and maybe Song will be used as back up so I think that area will not be strengthened. I am still a bit surprised however that Wenger decided to sell Muamba especially as Flamini is on his way out as well.
Wenger seems to have lost faith in Senderos in the second part of the year, but we have Djourou and Gilberto that can play there as cover.
Up front Bendtner will probably get his chance in the period after xmas. And Hoyte will cover for Eboue’s absence.
We need a winger
I wish Reyes came back as he is the only decent winger with premiership experience and he can provide cover as a striker when required and not use any of our transfer budget! Failing that Ribery, Malouda and Quaresma would be excellent additions. Walcott will learn a lot from any of them.
But another option is to go for Micah Richards! Yes at right back and later as a central defender when he matures. As a result promote Eboue into a wide right midfielder!
We need a striker
Best possible buy would be Eto’o but due to his price that is probably never going to happen especially if they want Henry as part of the deal. Why not go for someone who is already playing in the Premiership. Arsenal Analysis has advocated Anelka (Anelka for Arsenal), but there are others who would score goals for fun; especially with the number of chances that this team creates! Such as Tevez, D. Bent, Martins,Nugent. They are all decent goalscorers. Or if from abroad Kone of PSV and the Brazilian Wagner Love. They will require a settling in period which could be from six months to a year though.
My personal choice however would be Kanoute – now playing exceptionally well for Sevilla and is a former Premiership player, albeit with Spurs. He is very quick, a good finisher and decent in the air.
We need left back cover
I know that Gallas can play there but that would disrupt his partnership with Toure and would leave us exposed during the Africa Cup of Nations. Traore is good but too young. Go for Abidal, Gareth Bale, Leighton Baines (not all, one of them).
I wander what list Wenger has drawn up.
I hope he has one!