Previous names: Dial Square, Royal Arsenal, Woolwich Arsenal

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Arsenal’s squad is thin and unbalanced

By 1970’s Gooner

The most important characteristics to look for when assessing a squad is the following:

- the quality of the players
- the cover in each position
- the age structure in order to ensure that there is a number of younger and promising players who could eventually make it into the first team.

Have a look at the first team players on Arsenal’s books. The squad looks thin and unbalanced.

What is easily realisable is that there is a plethora of good quality midfielders but not enough strikers or defenders.

Let’s look at the squad:


Enough numbers (2) but they are both relatively young and inexperienced. They are promising however so they need to be complimented by an experienced goalkeeper who will either start games or provide competition for places.

Recommendation – Buy experienced goalkeeper

Right backs

There are two and they compliment each other well. Sagna is an experienced defender who is covered by Jenkinson who is an up and coming young right back of good quality.

Recommendation: No need to buy

Left backs

The same as for the right backs can be said for this position. There are two very good defenders. Nancho Monreal is the more experienced one and Gibbs is developing into an exciting left back with attacking capabilities.

Recommendation: No need to buy unless Monreal’s back injury is more long term (like Vermaelen’s)

Centre backs

The quality of the available centre backs has proved to be very good as the results of the last 10 games show (second best defence and the best away defence of the League).

However there are two major problems with these positions. 

The first is that there are only three experienced centre backs for the two available positions (Koscienly, Mertesacker and Vermaelen). So there is a need to add another and also of course there is Vermaelen’s long term injury (out for 3 months which makes the available centre backs as only two).

Yes I agree that Sagna will be a revelation at centre back if called upon (he has the heading ability and the defensive nous) but there is still the problem that we will only have 3 centre backs to cover for 2 positions. It will also leave the right back position with only one player available.

It is therefore vital to increase the available centre backs to four and to cover for possible injuries in this significant position.

Recommendation: Buy another centre back irrespective of Sagna’s availability and recall the decision to send Coquelin on loan to Freiburg so that he could cover at right back if need be (he proved very capable last season and I would trust him in this position).


A large number with good quality are available in these positions. Central midfielders of the likes of Arteta, Ramsey (I think he will be irreplaceable this season), Wilshere, Rosicky and if need be Cazorla and the Ox means that the midfield will be Arsenal’s high powered engine room for the coming season.

On the wings there is Walcott, Podolski, Cazorla and The Ox. No need to add there although you could say that a left sided out and out winger could balance the team much more.

Recommendation: On balance no need to add


Which strikers? There is only one as far as I am concerned and that is Oliver Giroud. He will improve no end this his second season. But you can’t rely on only one out and out striker.

Sanogo is young and unproven. Gervinho, Chamack and Park are on their way out and would not have featured anyway.

Podolski and Walcott filled in last season but in my opinion they are either not ready or up to it to play in that position with the effectiveness required.

Recommendation: BUY BUY BUY


Anonymous said...

Why will giroud improve? Shouldn't he have been scoring at the end of the season? If we had seen progression like we did with Henry who was prolific by the end of the season, yes you could say he will improve. But Giroud got progressively worse as the defenders found him out. I have no faith in Giroud.

Anonymous said...

one more experienced body in defence, either a RB or CB, and a physically imposing defensive midfielder - these two things are essential.

an experienced striker to help shoulder the burden with giroud would also be good but we did ok with just him last year and we can so again. walcott and podolski can be given some game time up front too.

and we don't need big names either. just players who can do the job. i personally would not like us to go above £40m for suarez. forget it.

Anonymous said...

The blatant weakness is a lack of top forward[s]. The up side is that we will possibly see how good/ready our youngsters are if called upon.

These kids are being tagged as wonder kids, so well see.

ogban said...

Excellent analysis. I, for one, never understood the hurry in sending Coquelin on loan except there is certainty of a replacement. I am also hesitant on the sale of Gervinho. As it is, Arsenal is left with just 18 established first team players. How do you prosecute a long football season with a squad that thin and hope to win anything?

Anonymous said...

I think Giroud should improve for a number of reasons: acclimatisation to the pace of the premier league, better understanding of, and with, his teammates and also if you look at Giroud's career statistics he always shows considerable improvement in goal and assist output in his second year at a club. However, I agree that another striker is required.

Anonymous said...

If anyone is interested in learning more about Sanogo's playing ability go to or to see a scouting report.

Anonymous said...

Good article.wit cover up of sagna at the centre back and ox on the wing or even midfield,I don't think we need much addition other than on striking force.
We need a striker that can constantly pose a threat to defenders and suarez fit the bill.

Anonymous said...

Ramsey isn't good enough.....if The Special One or Pep had become our manager last season he would have been down the road or on loan to Stevenage!

Anonymous said...

Insightful. We really need a prolific striker. Giroud not that good.

Anonymous said...

Just about spot on 1/2 strikers and a CB. If really pushing the button a DM but we know that sit gonna happen.

Anonymous said...

R u 4 real have u watched any of the pre season. Imo ramsey has been r best player watch what he does this year he looks like the player we bought from cardiff now took a long time but I think he is over that injury. Also giroud has looked alot better in pre season his been finishing much harder shots than he got given last year and dont forget his french tbey always need a good season to adapt. We are desbrate for a 20+ goal scorer and a dm is also needed then acouple of players just for squad depth. Striker I would like suarez only if wenger can sort his attitude out or I would try n get defoe/ rooney or benteke ( sorry about the spelling) dm I would like gustero/ fellini or bender good luck boys if we get 2 world class n 2 good players were b fighting at yh top of the tree and on for a cup or 2

Anonymous said...

Current Arsenal squad for 2013/14
1. Wojciech Szczesny
3. Bacary Sagna
4. Per Mertesacker
5. Thomas Vermaelen
6. Laurent Koscielny
7. Tomas Rosicky
8. Mikel Arteta
9. Lukas Podolski
10. Jack Wilshere
12. Olivier Giroud
14. Theo Walcott
15. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
16. Nacho Monreal
17. Aaron Ramsey
19. Santi Cazorla
21. Lukasz Fabianski
22. Yaya Sanoga
24. Abou Diaby
25. Carl Jenkinson
26. Emmanuel Frimpong
27. Gervinho
28. Kieran Gibbs
29. Marouane Chamakh
30. Ju-Young Park
31. Ryo Miyaichi
52. Nicklas Bendtner

Of these 25, 4 (Wilshere, Miyaichi, Frimpong and Jenkinson) will remain U21 for this season and not count within the PL/CL limit of 25. 2 more (AOC and Sanoga) remain U21 also next season. The players listed below (except loans) are all U21 players at least for the coming season. Thereby, we have 6! openings if needed. However, as I expect the careers of Chamakh, Park and Bendtner to end, we can sign 9 although looking at Wilshere and Jenkinson moving up into the +21 bracket, we will reach the limit with 7 next summer.

We were 2nd best regarding goals conceded and 3rd best regarding goals scored last season. That indicates there is no need for a major overhaul. We have several options to promote from within, some are listed below. However, I do believe we need at least 1 match winning striker. For me, Suarez was the out stand player of the season. Bale played extremely well Dec - Feb and was Spurs, RvP played out of this world and carried ManU Aug - Dec. Suarez kept Liverpool afloat throughout the season. He does come with baggage though but his footballing skills cannot be doubted. I would also like us to come in for a 3rd GK, Cesar would fit the bill perfectly. I'm content with the defence we already have but I am skeptical to loan Coqualin as he is the perfect squad player able to play across the midfield and RB/LB..

The essential is to get a world class player who will change games, show we mean business and secure belief back in the squad, the staff AND the fans.

++++ ACADEMY+++++

36. Damian Martinez
39. Zak Ansha
46. Thomas Eisfeld
47. Serge Gnabry
67. Chuba Akpom

Ignasi Miquel
Nico Yennaris
Kristoffer Olsson
Gedion Zelalem
Hector Bellerin

Francis Coquelin (loan)
Johan Djourou (loan)
Joel Campbell (loan)

kitsbyjr football said...

Yeah they arent looking to great at the moment they dont play football as they used to.. (or the players arent the players who played for arsenal and made them great football team) I think arsenal has sold out as a football team at the moment