Much like a season or two in the close past, this one ended in a resurgent show of form and mental strength to come back from being underdogs to clinch the oh-so important CL spot . A more skeptic gooner would suggest it to another one of le prof’s ploys to keep Arsenal fans from being violently furious with the team’s performances and trophy cabinet. A more sensible gooner would suggest that this team has all the qualities of being the best in the league and in Europe. A lossless run which got us 26 points of the last 10 matches, with just 5 goals given(just one from open play) shows the quality that this team has defensively. On the other hand, the number of goalless draws and 1-0 wins suggest that a vital part of any team, the attack is somewhere not the best. And for a team that prides itself in its attractive attacking play, this isn’t good enough.
History, stats and logic suggests that for a title challenge, a team needs to be stable to produce consistent runs and have either the best attack or the best defense, if not both. The Manchester teams have challenged for exactly these reasons, for the last 3 years they have been stable enough and this season, while City have had the best defense, United have had the best attack in the league. Arsenal have had, arguably the best midfield in the league, but in the end- midfields help you control matches, attacks and defenses help you win them.
As the new season looms, Arsenal look the stablest team in the league, with only Tottenham(if they don’t lose Bale) in the top 6 looking stable enough. Liverpool are set to lose Suarez, Rodgers is still not settled, SAF is gone, Rooney might,
Moyes rarely has any winning experience, Mourinho has a new team to handle and he hasn’t had the best time in Madrid, City look for a new manager along with other teams like Stoke and Everton. Couple that with a experienced manager in Wenger, better sponsorship and stable finances, Arsenal are set to be the stablest team this coming season. Consistency part of the job is done.
With the attack we have seen this season, the only way Arsenal could be the best in the league is if we get Rooney from United and Chelsea don’t get a world class striker. A more realistic option would be to get Jovetic/Villa to be one of top three best attacks(United, Chelsea, Arsenal) while making defense our forte. We are already the 2nd best in the league. A return of Vermaelen and Sagna’s form combined with a new signing in Julio Cesar/equally-able-and-experienced-goalee should be enough for that. Vermaelen’s form return should be possible through relieving him of the pressures of captaincy, making the already pseudo-captain in Arteta the captain. Sagna’s form is a more complex problem and replacing him with a able right-back in Piszczek/Corchia might be the best option in the end. The midfield in itself isn’t much of a concern but a added bonus in the signing of Fabregas/ an able DM would always be welcome. A DM isn’t much of a higher priority for me as Arsene has done with a rotary midfield of three where Arteta/Ramsey/Wilshere(Rosicky) all share defensive and attacking responsibilities and it works for the most parts. A backup striker in Giroud should be good enough while Sanogo as a youngster backup would be a good buy(given that he is free, it is most tempting).
All Wenger has to do is what he always does along with spending at least half his supposed 70M transfer kitty. A marquee signing to lift spirits both at the club and in the homes of its many fans could be instrumental. Wages should not be a problem with many high-earning players set to leave this summer and finances being strong. Santi Cazorla looks sure to build upon his first successful season at Arsenal while Wilshere and Ramsey’s progress looks as promising as ever, if not more. Ox has looked better as the season ends, and a few international goals and apps is sure to help his confidence and experience. Monreal/Gibbs at left-back look very strong while Jenkinson is sure to be a very able and dedicated right-back in the near future. Sagna has work to do while Arteta and Vermaelen need to show their experience and lead the team through the winning ways. Szczesny is set to have a tougher season with a new keeper set to come but has a lot to learn to be a Arsenal great. Koscielny and Mertesacker will look to continue their strong pairing coming season while Poldi and Giroud will look to build upon decent showing in their first season in England. Gervinho still shows promise and will be a good rotation option on the wing. In short, Arsenal are set to end the much-hated trophy-less run this coming season.
Corchia/Piszczek-Sagna swap(effectively 0M/5M)
Release/Sell: Arshavin, Squillaci, Chamakh, Bendtner, etc.
Key players for next season: Kos-Mert pairing, Wilshere, new striker, Arteta(if made captain) and ofcourse Santi Cazorla
Keep visiting for more interesting analyses on Arsenal, this off-season and beyond.