Previous names: Dial Square, Royal Arsenal, Woolwich Arsenal

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Strength in depth eases Wenger’s team selection worries for the coming season

By 1970’s Gooner

One aspect that seems to characterize this new Arsenal side is the real strength in depth that exists in the squad. And by real I mean that this squad has quality replacements in all positions. This has been very evident during the very satisfying and successful tournament wins at the Emirates and in Amsterdam.

Take the goalkeeping position with Almunia proving more than adequate especially as a shot stopper and on the one to ones.

He has improved quite a lot since his arrival at Arsenal and this was evident during the preseason friendlies. He has convinced that he can replace Lehmann if need be.

Fabiansky hasn’t played much during the preseason but I would tend to trust Wenger on his potential.

In the defensive positions there is Hoyte and Sagna on the right and Clichy and Traore on the left. Hoyte, Djourou, Gallas and Flamini have proved adequate stand ins for these positions in the past. Hell even Eboue can drop back into defence if the need arises.

In the central defensive positions Senderos and Djourou are improving all the time but more importantly don’t forget Gilberto Silva who was a more than adequate cover for Toure and Gallas when he was used in this position.

Especially now that Diaby has evolved as an excellent central midfielder and has become the new Vieira; and even better!

In central midfield there is an abundance of riches with Denilson, Flamini (both have played very well in the Amsterdam Tournament), Song and Rosicky who can be deployed there too as that is his natural position rather than the wide areas.

All these players are in addition to Fabregas, Gilberto and Diaby. And there will be occasions when only two of these three may play in some games if the formation dictates for only two central midfielders!

The wide midfield positions too are now looking more filled in.

This is due to the excellent Eboue’s promotion infield and the recruitment of Eduardo who, although earmarked for the forward positions, can be deployed on the left, as Wenger has hinted.

Additionally there is of course Hleb who has shown that he will be more focused this year, Rosicky, Walcott and even Clichy who can, if need be, play as effectively in a more forward position just like Eboue has done.

If Traore is judged as too young then Hoyte could then cover for him at left back or even Flamini or Gallas!

In the forward positions Wenger could select any one or two (depending on the formation to be deployed) from RVP, Adebayor, Eduardo, Bendtner and you can add on this list Hleb who showed that his skills in close ball control and dribbling can be very effective when playing off the centre forward.

There is indeed a lot of versatility and flexibility inherent in this team and, as a consequence, a lot of strength in depth.

It is fast becoming a coach’s dreamland in working out formations and selecting the right players to fit in and vice versa. And this bodes well for the gruelling needs of the coming season.

Ed: You can leave a comment on what you think and also vote on the poll we have set up "who will win the title?"

Diaby is the new Vieira and even better.
Who will win the title? Part I: Arsenal against the odds?
Who will win the title? Part II: Liverpool it's getting serious


damaster360 said...


Anonymous said...

I think our strength in depth is now getting better than our competitors. certainly when you consider the quality player for player

balan said...

The two tournaments have shown that what 1970's Gooner is saying is right. We outplayed Ajax in their own backyard with a second choice central midfield pairing (Denilson and Flamini) and an underperforming Rosicky.

Anonymous said...


This squad is frightening, that's all there is to it. Besides the quality already present people also should consider the fact that this team is improving all over the pitch very rapidly. Yesterday Arsenal defended brilliantly, something which I haven't truly felt for a long long time. They shut everything out and the second choice midfield pairing of Flamini and Denilson completely worked in protecting the back line from Ajax's dangerous players. With Arsenal's defense now looking solid again and it will continue to improve as the back line become increasingly used to playing with one another, the only issue that needs addressing from last season is a lack of goals. But in the last 4 games they've scored 7 goals and this has been largely without the supposed best striker in van Persie playing. Bendtner, Flamini and Eduardo have all chipped in to make sure that we scored when we needed the goals and for an improving team that is brilliantly encouraging.

Anonymous said...

Shut up Diaby's even better than Vieira. When Vieira left our team fell apart. Stop being so naive and reading too much from pre-season friendlies...sure it looks encouraging but Wenger needs to bring in serious names still and I'm talking Quaresma and Anelka not these Mickey Mouse second rate "promising" players. Mark my words unless we spend (and I'm not talking ridiculous sums of cash) we will not win a piece of silverware this year...and yes we will not even finish in the top four! Grow up fellow Gooners...GROW UP 1970's Gooner!!!

Anonymous said...

Peter Hill-Wood and the other tight members of the Arsenal board must love fans like content with a paper-thin squad lacking any real experience! Oh and Mr. Wenger where are our two super players you promised us at the beginning of the transfer period?

Anonymous said...

I cannot believe what I have read in this article. Our squad is paper thin at the moment. Eboue can definitely not cut it against a decent full back. Apart from Walcott, we have no natural winger and he is way too naive to make a major impact. Eduardo is definitely not a winger, it's just Wenger being cheap. Gilberto Silva as a central defender??? Don't you remember his total lack of positioning last season? Our defence STILL cannot cope with crosses and injuries to Hleb, Rosiky or Cesc and we lose virtually all creativity!! Agreed our first eleven are very good but we can't go through the whole season with them. Wenger has already stated that Bendtnar is not ready and with Adebayor out for the African Nations Cup we have 2 natural strikers. BTW Song is not good enough for our reserves let alone the first team.

1970's Gooner said...

The point of the article was not to argue that Arsenal do not need to recruit. It was to point out that Wenger now has many more options in front of him due to the versatility of the players and the vast improvement of the youngsters.
In fact this site has always argued that we need to recruit another striker at least; and we did point out as far back as March the need to look at Anelka and Kanute.

Anonymous said...

Dear 1970's Gooner,

These articles are read by thousands of Arsenal fans everyday. There is also a crisis at our club and for some fans this will only become apparent when RVP gets his usual injuries over the course of a season and we are relying on Adebayor for goals (just ask some Monaco fans about the dangers of this lol).

As a commentator, you should stop writing these cup half-full articles and ask the big questions...for instance how can a club that charges their fans so much each season (I had to pay £1400 ($2800) for my season ticket) and yet be so frail in the transfer market. Or may be you could beg of questions to be answered by the board such as why Peter Hill-Wood (the football equivalent to the Duke of Edinburgh) is our chairman.

Our season will end in disaster unless reinforcements are brought in and I implore you to press some serious issues with the Gooners.

1970's Gooner said...

Dear last anonymous,

I share your concerns and of others who have commented in similar vein.

However, I have indeed put forward the view that we need to recruit and spend some of the large profits created by Wenger's transfer activity.

Please go to the Archives for July and click on the following postings:

"Arsenal's transfer kitty bulges even more"

where I calculate that there is a net profit on transfers this season of the order of 26m!

and also click on

"Who will win the title? Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool or Arsenal. Analysis and Predictions - Part I: Arsenal"

to see the points I make on the need to recruit.

You will see what I mean.

Thanks for your views.

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