Things are starting to look better for Arsenal; things are on an up – apparently. It is therefore my duty, to burst this self belittling bubble of optimism with a harsh lesson on why we will not be finishing in the top 4 this season – surely a bare minimum for a club of Arsenal’s stature. This lesson will be entitled, “Our squad is still thinner than a wafer biscuit when it comes to quality players”.
3 good reasons include: Koscielny, Van Persie and Chamakh.
Reason 1: Laurent Koscielny.
Apparently he is central to our defensive strategy. The problem is that I have never seen a central defender with a looser grasp on the concept of positioning. Koscielny is the anti Tony Adams (my boyhood hero….a drunk professional footballer!). The only two characteristics these two defenders hold is that they both play(ed) for Arsenal and they both show(ed) an astonishing lack of pace. Back in Adams day, this was made up for by solid positioning throughout the back four. This defence was kept into shape by Adams vocal performance on the pitch. Today we with have no leader in central defence. We have two centre-halves (Mertesacker) who have an unbelievable lack of pace and no guidance. It is no secret that we are looking dodgy at the back. Until we get this basic problem right, we will continue to throw games away.
Reason 2: Van Persie
An odd choice you might think considering his rich form and undoubted talent. The point of concern behind Van Persie though is why on earth is he captain? The only answer I can see is to pander to his ego and to ensure he does not follow Nasri et al out of the club. Arsenal needs him and his unrivalled ability to the ball in the back of the net. Do we really want a petulant child as a captain though? This season will be tough, we will concede easy goals and player’s heads will drop. Now more than ever we need a captain to lead the squad. Van Persie is the exact sort of player who is led by events and lets his mood swing with them. Already this season we have seen games where Van Persie has looked lost on the pitch. With such a young squad, this is the exact opposite to what we need to see from our captain.
Reason 3: Chamakh
When Van Persie gets injured (when not if) who are we going to call on? Chamakh. Without doubt the most one dimensional striker in the premier league. He optimises Wenger’s inability to be able to admit when he has made a mistake on the transfer market. When Senderos was shown the door, I thought we might have a new era where Wenger would admit he wasn’t perfect and made mistakes. A ridiculous thought in retrospect.
What other striking options do we have to fall back on?
Well, only Walcott seriously believes that Walcott is a striker. Park Chu-Young is a mediocre replacement at best. We have one world class striker backed up by a series of unimpressive run of the mill strikers that could just about dig out a good career at somewhere likes of Wigan or Wolves (who seem unable to finish the simplest of chances at the moment) but are not worthy of pulling on an Arsenal shirt.
The answer, more substantial money is needed to be spent in the January transfer window – simple. Not in the knee jerk manner it was this summer though.