this post was originally written a week before ..
It has been a topsy turvy season for the Gunners as they find themselves in the 6th position. Arsene Wenger’s men, who started their season poorly, have picked themselves up and have hit the ground on fire ever since they got knocked out by Bradford in the Capital One Cup.
An Arsenal supporter, Rishabh Ghai, forgoes his support for once and has a realistic look at Arsenal’s title chances and suggests the additions the Gunners can make to strengthen their squad in January.
Fans would want their old Arsenal back
Arsenal should realistically aim for the top 4 rather than the title at this point. Sitting on 6th place, 4 points behind their fierce rivals Tottenham, Arsenal are the top contenders to grab the 4th spot this season. If the present run of performances continue, Arsenal have a great shot at the automatic qualification berth. 19 points behind with half the season gone is not a pretty sight for the Arsenal faithfuls.
As far as the other silverware is concerned a tough homes against Blackburn might see them struggle in the FA Cup should they play their young squad. Champions League Round of 16 sees them face the mighty Bavarians (Bayern Munich). Munich, who have been involved in 2 of the last 3 Champions League finals, have set Bundesliga on fire with their stellar signings. They will be a tough nut to crack.
Realistically, the Gunners should be looking at the top 4 this season and build on again from the next. They still possess an outside chance of winning the FA Cup but their focus should be on playing the Champions League next season.
It comes as a great surprise that the Gunners’ woes comes in their inconsistency in attack. Arsene Wenger’s men have been known to play a great brand of attacking football over the years but have failed to live upto it this year. Although there have been scorelines like 6-1,5-2, 7-3 and 7-5 involving them this season, Arsenal’s strike force hasnt performed upto the mark. The replacement of Robin Van Persie, Olivier Giroud, has taken a lot of time to adjust to the Premier League for the Gunner’s liking. Podolski on the left wing, at times, has looked like a fish out of the water and Gervinho has been shambolic.
Another cause of concern is Arsenal’s midfield. When they click, it is impossible to stop them but on their off days they look stagnant and stale. The one touch passing has vanished completely. They have looked have resorted to the easier way of playing the ball to the flanks rather than find those penetrating balls which the likes of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri had done in their hay days at Arsenal. Arsenal’s defence looks better than before but their captain Thomas Vermaelen seems to be less than happy to lead the team. Not taking charge of the team at times, the enjoyment of playing for Arsenal has vanished from his face. He needs to lead from the front if Arsenal aim for a silverware this season.
Gervinho has not been himself
When Gervinho plays as the central striker forcing Podolski on the left, you can see that Arsenal have lacked tactically.
Arsenal’s rigid 4-2-3-1 has seen them fail miserably at times this season. The midfield trio of Arteta, Cazorla and Wilshere do not add a quality cover for the back four causing them to come deep and help each other out thereby wasting their attacking talent. Arsenal have lacked a Gilberto Silva-esque sort of a player who could sit back and allow the front two midfielders to wreck havoc without worrying about tracking back.
Podolski looks to be doing great when he operates a little centrally. His vision to pick out Gibbs’ runs and his exchanges with Cazorla have been a treat to watch.
Wenger, who has criticised of playing players out of position, has worked wonders by playing Cazorla as one behind the striker. Traditionally a winger, Cazorla has been a revelation in the red and white for the Gunners and has filled the void left by the departures of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri. Just as Cazorla is blooming in his new role, Theo Walcott too has done brilliantly in the new centre forward role which he has craved for so long.
With transfer window about to be opened, Wenger would surely be looking to add to his squad. I have a few suggestions which the Gunners boss could consider to strengthen his current crop.
In this section I suggests the players that could help Arsenal strengthen themselves. (These players need not be linked with the club and are purely suggestions)
Will he come? Looks unlikely
The Spanish sensation has been linked with a loan move to the Emirates. At 31 years of age, this seems to be the perfect opportunity for both, the club as well as the player, to grab. Arsenal are in need of a prolific goal scorer who can replace Robin Van Persie and also aide Giroud and Walcott considering the departure of Gervinho to the African Cup of Nations. David Villa seems to provide answers to all the Arsenal questions. Although, not a regular with the Barcelona side, his heading and finishing abilities is known to the world. The Euro 2008 Golden Boot winner still has it in him to lit the Premier League on fire.
David Villa had been previously linked with the Gunners and relishes an opportunity to play in the Premier League. This might be the train he might want to jump on.
Could the most unlikeliest of deals happen?
France’s hottest property has gone down from being touted as the next Viera to being a flop. The 21 year old was strongly linked with a move to the Gunners in the summer but his behaviour in public seems to cold Wenger’s interest in him. Although he is not the same player he was for Rennes last year, he could be the answer to Wenger’s midfield woes. He could turn out to be a great buy if Wenger does consider him as an option as he would allow the likes of Cazorla and Wilshere to attack with more freedom.
If Andre Santos is the back up left back for the Gunners, Arsene Wenger certainly has a big job in his hand in that department. Arsenal look quite vulnerbale down their right (left back area) when Gibbs is not playing. Jermain Meade is one option that Wenger could resort too but his inexperience might pave way to further troubles.
Arsenal could resort to a certain Luke Shaw. Shaw, who has been a revelation for Southampton in the Premier League this season, has caught the eyes of many clubs including Chelsea. Brilliant going forward and excellent in defense, at an age of just 17 he seems to possess the Arsenal DNA in him. His dribbling, shooting, passing and tackling skills makes him perfect for the Gunners reckoning.
Rishabh is a writer for Goal.com India, International (all English editions) and an Editor and writer for 18 Yard Box .
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