Another interlull week means even less Arsenal related news.
Last Friday the Ox scored his first goal for the senior team against the might of San Marino.
Away from that Koscielny spoke his mind when asked who the hardest striker he has faced;
“He (Luis Suarez) is tiresome to defend against. He cheats. He pulls your shirt, giving small blows,
Koscielny said of the Uruguay international. “You always want to give him a kick but you have to be careful not to be red-carded.”
“He is a player who likes to dive as soon as there is contact. During a challenge we jostled a bit with each other and he fell. He started to talk to me in English, to say it was a penalty.”
Everyone’s favourite isn’t he.
While the Ox and Kos enjoy starting berths for their respective national teams, they have both struggled to hold down a starting position for the Arsenal.
Now if you listen to the lazy journalist or football pundit they’ll all come to the same conclusion regarding our team’s chances this season;
‘Arsenal lack depth to challenge’.
In previous season I would have struggled to argue this statement, also I would have been wrong but is that really the case this season? I think not and here are myreasons;
Let’s break it down;
Maybe not the best for me to start my argument really! Szcz has been injured for the majority of the season so far, I have absolutely no idea where Fabianski is but Vito Mannone has stepped up and put in some strong performances. If we had bought an experienced keeper we may not have lost to Chelsea but can you really fault him for any other goal?
Conclusion, Yes we are lacking in depth but I really think Don Vito stepping up will put much needed pressure on a cocky Szcz who has to understand he still needs to earn his right to be number 1 regardless of his talent.
The current back four of Jennkinson, Vermaelen, Mertesacker and Gibbs have really improved as a defensive unit since last season. Mertesacker has gone from the fallible fool to rightly being recognised as the calming leader of the back line. I’m not convinced with TV5’s defending still but he acts perfect partner for Per. With this being the case Koscielny, our most improved player from last season is stuck on the bench unless the manager needs him to handle a pacey striker. A nice luxury to have.
At full back, we now have two players for each position on the right and left. Jennkinson has been a revelation. He had made a hand full of appearances for Charlton before being snapped up as a complete unknown for The Arsenal. Fast forward a year and a bit, he was called up by Roy Hodgson to train with the England squad over the weekend. In the background is Sagna rumoured to be playing a game behind closed doors today to help his return to fitness. If Sagna was full fit for Saturday, who would start at right back? Jennkinson deserves to keep his place on his performance during some really tough games. Sagna benched.
Left back Gibbs has also been a star of the season so far. He grown into a stronger character and until a slight niggle at West Ham, he seems fitter than in previous seasons. Santos is a capable, although extremely different, left back and again demonstrates an depth in our full back options.
Conclusion; the defensive personnel is there if the mentality can be maintained throughout the season.
Let me just list the options available to the manager; Arteta, Ramsey, Coquelin, Cazorla, Arshavin and with Wilshere, Rosicky and Frimpong (and Diaby! Thanks @Palerme12 for that) all expecting to return by the beginning of November. The midfield is improving and ‘gelling’ in every game. Cazorla looks like a Premier League veteran when he takes to the pitch. Arteta is really taking to the deep lying midfielder/water carrier role and is the vital pivot the team is built on. Ramsey has much to prove to many but he has already made a positive start to the season.
The steady start to the season made by the midfield men also has a positive impact on the returning Wilshere. In previous campaigns the hopes of our season would have hinged on a player returning from a serious injury but for once we can be patient on Jack’s return as the current set up is performing admirably.
Conclusion; Depth is developing. Injuries to key players will test our resolve but if we can get Jack back and firing by November then the midfield trio of Carzorla, Wilshere and Arteta looks very attractive indeed.
Note I’ve used the ‘forwards’ instead of strikers, it was done for a reason. Giroud is our only recognised centre forward and links to a big move for a centre forward in January is no surprise. I think Giroud will develop into a strong centre forward (Did you know, he has the most assists than anyone else in the team with 4) but further help is needed.
Now let’s look to the wide berths, here are the options; Gervinho, Podolski, Walcott (sign da ting!) and The Ox. That’s four international players to take two postions in the team. Gervinho already has shown more this season then he did last season. Goals, assists and constant movement across the front line that makes him impossible to mark. Poldi needs no introduction, he’s a German master who will frustrate the Ox into improvement. As for Theo, well his positon within the squad is tentative until a contract is signed. Maybe Wenger does want to use him upfront, maybe he should start on the right but why would we give him the opportunity to flaunt himself in the shop window so close to him entering the last 6 months of his deal?
Conclusion; We lack another striker to help Giroud but the options out wide are fantastic. With Cazorla pulling the strings in the middle, creating chances should never be an excuse.
So the next time you here the usual conclusion from a pundit about ‘Arsenal’s lack of depth’, just ask yourself if he’s actually sat back and thought of all the options we have potentially. It may not be as bad as it seems.
Have a good week all, bring on Norwich away!
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