A touch of class (required?)
I want to make a few short points about the game today before I get on with the main element of my post this week.
Firstly I’d like to congratulate Robin Van Persie for scoring 100 goals for Arsenal. He has been a fantastic servant for the club and I, like so many Gooners, sincerely hope that he stays for at Arsenal for a long time yet. Although I admit to being sceptical about this. Not because Arsenal have consistently failed to deliver in the past 6 seasons but because we haven’t kept hold of a club captain for more than 3 seasons since Adams retired and since Vieira left the captaincy seems to have been given to those that Wenger desperately wants to keep so he tries to create a false emotional tie or sense of duty and debt to the club, bar Gallas of course who in my humble opinion was the worst captain Arsenal have ever had and the single most disruptive force of the past few years. There seems to be something about the captains armband at Arsenal that makes the player more desirable to other clubs. But enough of that.
My second point is that I was impressed with Walcott today. Despite some of his horrendous finishing I felt he had a very good game and will hopefully build some form from this if he is not too badly injured.
My third point is that I feel our summer signings are settling in well, Arteta for me has been excellent and whilst not the passer Cesc was for us he is still very good and puts himself about a bit more. In short he is a technically good battler and we sure need some of those.
My last point is a bit of a moan. Whilst I am pleased for Song for scoring a goal I cannot help but feel he spends far too much time driving forward, getting to the edge of the oppositions box or floating near to the wing for my liking. He is supposed to be a defensive midfielder that breaks up play and protects the back four. When he is consistently further up the field than Ramsey and Arteta he is leaving Arsenal susceptible to punishment. Against a better side we would have been in trouble a lot more and we cannot afford any more slip-ups. This is the reason that I like Frimpong so much. He knows his role and plays it well. With a season or two more experience to build his reading of the game and to fine-tune his temperament I fully expect him to oust Song from the DMF position.
Moving on to the main element of my post. Whilst watching the premier league games today, City, Arsenal and then United live I began to think how short Arsenal are on in class.
By class I mean world class players. In the days of the invincibles I’d say we had 8 world class players and a ‘great’ squad. Over the last few years we’ve only had 2 world class players and now we have only one. Arsenal are lacking a touch of class.
The way I am calculating this is thus: If a player would get into the squad of at least 50% of the clubs in the same league then he is a good player. I think every Arsenal player (bar Almunia & Squillaci) falls into this category. Some 27/28 players.
If a player would get into the squad of 80% of clubs in his league then he is a very good player. I think at least 24 of Arsenals players would. If a player would get into the starting line-up of 75% of teams in his league then he is a great player. Arsenal have about 18 of these. If a player would get into the squad of 80% of top 4 teams from the big 5 leagues then he is a class player. Arsenal have 12 of these. If a player would get into the starting line-up of 80% of the top for teams in the big 5 leagues then that player is world class Arsenal have only one of these. Robin Van Persie. Cesc was world class, Nasri was class (he was only in the world class bracket for 4 months last season so in my opinion doesn’t yet deserve the accolade of being called world class).
It seems to me that Arsenal are severely lacking in world class players. We have plenty of great and class players and those under 23 have the potential to move up a notch. Those over 23 can improve but will never be world class in my opinion. Gervinho will never be world class but that is okay. The invincibles were not a team of 25 world class players. Barcelona and United do not have 25 world class players between them (close though). A team made up of mainly class and great players will win things if they either have a great fighting spirit or two or three world class players. United for me are the fighters with a couple of world class players. Barcelona are world class in the main, not much of a fighting or scrapping team but are lucky enough to not only have a number of world class players but also a superstar in Messi. There are only two players great enough to be better than world class, Messi and Ronaldo.
I cannot see Wenger buying many fighters so our only option is to buy a world class player. I cannot see Arsenal competing until we address our lack of class but the difficult question is who?
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