Threadbare Arsenal Desperate For Signings?
Threadbare Arsenal desperate for signings. Or, Arsenal need 5 players to compete. Or, Wenger neglects glaring holes in his squad, AGAIN!
These are the sort of headlines the perpetually tumultuous thrive on as it fuels their spumescent fury and re-hydrates them after a session of vehement finger flexing on social media. Some people are never happy and whilst Arsenal could do with a few additions it’s madness to write us off so early and especially before the window closes.
Arsenal are heading to Turkey with a tattered defence and many are worrying about our Champions League future. A sparse looking defence coupled with an unconvincing performance against Crystal Palace seems to be enough to push a few over the edge. How fragile they must be to have been taken to the limit by these two things, especially after the summer we have had, is probably a discussion for another time but my brief tuppence is these are clearly people who do a much better job of winding themselves up than Arsenal, I, or any other person, possibly could.
Surprisingly, Arsenal has a pretty stocked team with lots of depth all over the pitch and one or two more signings will have the team fully stocked. I think the bone of contention for many is not how many players we have but who those players are. In essence, Arsenal does not have the players those people want.
Depth has been an issue at Arsenal for a long time but no so much any more. Depth isn’t just about having three specialists in every position, or possibly more as so many seem to bemoan a lack of signings they approve of by pointing to injuries that have happened or injuries that may happen without a cursory thought to the logic of the solution they are proposing to a problem they have entirely invented themselves; having unlimited players for each position.
Squad depth at Arsenal isn’t just about having specialist players in every position, it is also about having players with the versatility to play, convincingly, in other roles as and when required. In that respect, Arsenal are doing quite well.
Outfield options for Arsenal are better than they have been in almost 10 years and it is no coincidence that it has coincided with Arsenal’s improved commercial deals. Here is a quick breakdown of our outfield positions and the players capable of occupying those roles divided into specialists and auxiliaries:
Full-Back Specialists: Debuchy, Chambers, Bellerin, Gibbs and Monreal
Full-Back Auxiliaries: Flamini, Coquelin and Koscielny (yes, Laurent can play RB if required)
Centre-Back Specialists: Mertesacker, Koscielny, Chambers and Miquel
Centre-Back Auxiliaries: Monreal (not ideal but I’ll come to that)
Deep Midfield Specialists: Arteta and Flamini
Deep Midfield Auxiliaries: Chambers
Midfield Specialists: Ramsey, Wilshere, Diaby, Rosicky and Oxlade-Chamberlain
Attacking Midfield Specialists: Özil, Cazorla and Rosicky
Wide Forward Specialists: Podolski, Walcott, Sanchez, Cazorla, Campbell and Gnabry
Wide Forward Auxiliaries: Oxlade-Chamberlain, Wilshere and Rosicky
Centre Forward Specialists: Giroud and Sanogo
Centre Forward Auxiliaries: Podolski, Sanchez, Walcott and Campbell
There are, of course, youth players we could add to that but I think that is enough to be getting on with. We have 8 players who can play as full-backs, 5 as centre-backs, 3 as holding midfielders, 5 as central midfielders, 3 in the hole, 9 wide and 6 through the middle.
This versatility aids Arsenal during matches as players can disrupt opponents by switching things up but also when there are injuries or suspensions to contend with.
Looking at that list tells me we could do with one more player who can player centre-back and one more who can play deep midfield and it makes complete sense that they could be one player. Rumours of Carvalho seem better tailored to our needs than rumours of Khedira because Carvalho can play deep midfield and defence whereas Khedira is more in the central midfielder-cum-Arteta-role mould.
Our current predicament highlights how quickly things can change for any club and it is only the fact that the gap between the World Cup ending and the season starting is so short that this is even the focal talking point for supporters. It is a price you pay for having World Cup winners in your squad.
If Mertesacker was ready to play tomorrow then we would have no issue. Positively for Arsenal though, Mertesacker has retired from international football so when the September break comes around we’ll have one less player to worry about losing to a friendly.
Getting through the next two games is Arsenal’s only concern and even with a makeshift defence we shouldn’t be worrying too much about Besiktas. If our midfield does the job and controls the game then the elastoplast defence won’t have much to do.
The Everton game is the real worry but it’s Monday! We have 2-3 more days to sign another player and we may even have Mertesacker back by then. He takes really good care of himself so it’s not inconceivable for him to be closer to a return than our other Germans.
One more player – in the Carvalho mould – will, for want of a better word, complete this squad in terms of depth and my money is on Arsenal securing such a player. Talk of needing four or five players in order to compete is, in my opinion, utter bilge.
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