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.
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