January Vital For Title Chasing Gunners
The past few summer transfer windows at Arsenal have brought a strange mix of excitement and disappointment. Arsenal have improved in almost every area and each summer have addressed their most pressing, albeit not always the most obvious, concerns.
Pre-Mesut, the Gunners were the 5th best at creating chances, behind Everton, Man City, Liverpool and Spurs. Arsenal’s two choices were to buy a top level striker to emulate United’s freak conversion rate or improve their chance creation. Given the dearth of the former they had to go for the latter and who better than Mesut Özil?
A season later our weakest area was having a star striker who could pull goals from thin air. Again, there was a dearth but Wenger address that particular problem by getting in Alexis Sanchez to perform that role from wide.
Last season it was goalkeeping and that issue was addressed with Cech. There are other areas that needed addressing and the lack of big signings in those areas has led to disappointment.
Given that disappointment many Arsenal fans were writing off the Gunners in early September but they’ve climbed the table to be second on mere goal difference despite suffering injuries to 10 first team players and now Titanbet are offering great betting tips and odds on Arsenal and have them as second favourites for the title with many other bookmakers following suit.
It’s Arsenal’s ability to stay close to Man City despite their injuries which is most intriguing. According to the predictions of half the Arsenal fan-base in September one injury to a key player and we’d crumble, well, we’ve suffered at least three with seven more players with a strong first-team claim also out of the picture and we’ve match City on points heading into the crucial Christmas period.
Arsenal has managed this so-fated impossible feat by having a deceptively strong squad. A lot of that depth has come from within and the versatility of certain players but also from the underwhelming-in-comparison signings of the last few years.
Wenger has shown that he is willing to spend big on the right player but also, possibly more admirably and certainly to the chagrin of most of the fans, willing to not spend if he can’t find the player he wants.
The summer was testament to that and so far it hasn’t affected the team too badly. Arguments could be made that a few additional signings in the summer would have helped us cope even better and we’d have a nice lead at the summit but that’s pure conjecture. The facts are we’ve performed to an almost equal standard to big spending Manchester City in the face of our annual injury crisis and with just the addition of Cech.
If we can see our way through to the New Year with a similar or better level then we’ll be in an excellent position to push on and will be bolstered by the return of the majority of those 10 injured players plus a few potential January additions.
The January window, contrary to popular opinion, has been a good market for Wenger despite his general opposition to it. In the last two windows we’ve seen the defensive additions of Gabriel and Monreal and there are signs we could see a third in January 2016.
Arsenal reportedly tried, and failed, to sign Benedikt Höwedes in the summer but noises from Germany suggest the Schalke captain is open to a January move to the right side of North London.
Central defence may not seem like the area Arsenal need strengthening in the most but it is deceptively one of our weakest areas. Mertesacker isn’t getting any younger and although his international retirement will prolong his career we need to have a succession plan in place. It looks like Chambers is that plan but a bridging player could be required to help Chambers develop. Koscielny has chronic Achilles problems which leaves Gabriel who looks superb almost every time he plays. Another defender would add solidity and Höwedes could be a cost effective solution to that problem.
Benedikt reads the game well and has excellent positioning and timing. He is strong in the air and composed on the ball. His passing and distribution and he isn’t afraid to lump it to clear danger which is something I know many Arsenal supporters would love as the cries of “clear it” or “get it out of there” or “smash it up the pitch” reverberate around the Emirates on a bi-monthly basis.
Crucially he is versatile and can play across the back-line which would certainly suit Arsenal and the supporters who are often worried about some of our back up options.
January could be vital for Arsenal if they can keep the pace throughout Christmas and so far the signs are good. This really could be Arsenal’s year and it’s certainly the best chance, with the best squad, they’ve had in years.
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