With just two days left to the start of the new EPL season, Arsenal is still short of squad members in certain areas. Till now we have signed a couple of players but a few have left us, leaving the team weak, mainly in defence. The new signings look promising along with the team from the preseason games but many would feel that the problems from last season have not been solved. Here is what i feel about the team.
In our strike force we have got Van Persie, Bendtner (injured at the moment), Vela, Walcott and our new signing Chamakh. It certainly looks good but they have to remain injury free especially Van Persie if we are to challenge for all competitions. Chamakh has been excellent in pre-season and I hope he carries on with it throughout the season. Van Persie’s world cup wasn’t great but we know what he is capable of and it’s vital that he remains fit till the end of the season. Walcott has shown glimpses of his talent but he needs to be consistent. With Bendtner injured, Vela will get a few games and he has a lot to prove.
The midfield is where we are strong at the moment. With Fabregas staying, Nasri and Wilshere outstanding in preseason, Arshavin, Diaby, Rosicky, Eboue, Denilson, Song, Ramsey (injured), Lansbury and Frimpong the midfield looks formidable. Still we need to learn to defend as a team. The defensive midfielders should cover the defenders well. Song was immense last season and hopefully Frimpong does the same. The attacking midfielders shouldn’t be mere spectators and dig in well and provide support to the defence. They should shoot a little more often too. The options are plenty and if all remain fit throughout the season, Wenger would be having a hard time in selection.
At the back is where most of the problems lie. We have got good cover at the flanks in the shape of Sagna,Clichy, Gibbs and Traore. Even Eboue can play. At centre back is where we are one man short and need a new top class signing ASAP. At the moment we have Vermaelen, Koscielny and Djourou. Vermaelen we know is good but he needs support and it will take time to develop a good partnership with either Koscielny or Djourou. It’s too early to give verdict on Koscielny and only time will tell how he fares. Djourou can be great if he is bit more aggressive and does not get injured too often.
The other problem that we are facing is of goalkeepers and I am surprised that we haven’t yet solved it. Almunia is at best an average keeper though he is way better than Fabianski who has featured a lot in preseason and still hasn’t improved. Mannone is decent; Szczesny looks impressive but at 20 won’t be given the no1 shirt. We need a new keeper at the most who has some command in the box, seriously lacking in our current keepers. Sign Shay Given, Joe Hart or Hugo Lloris, kick Fabianski out , Szczesny should go out on loan and either of Almunia or Mannone should be our 2nd choice keeper.
Things might not be that bad and I know Wenger will be doing his best to make the signings required but with 3 days to our first match of the season, doubts are increasing. This season is going to be tough and the open most so we cannot be handicapped from the start. With a couple of more right signings we can challenge for the top spot or it’s all going to be a race to finish in top 4.