Much like the rest of Gooner-land, I’m still buzzing from Mesut Özil’s brilliant debut and that oh so sexual first touch (oh baby) prior to setting up Olivier Giroud to smash home the opener. It really was what football dreams are made of…. Anyway, back to reality!
Now is time to take stock and following the opening four games of the season, only the Merseyside pair of Liverpool and Everton are unbeaten. That shows just how tough and honest the Premier League is and this year it is very open but have Arsenal got the players and the overall squad to win trophies? By my reckoning we have enough to field two high quality line-ups, but are they good enough?
Team1: Szczesny; Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs; Ramsey, Özil, Cazorla, Wilshere, Walcott; Giroud
Team2 Fabianski; Flamini, Vermealen, Sagna, Monreal; Arteta, Rosicky, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Podolski; Bendtner
In addition to those players listed above, there are also a young crop in reserve including Zelalam, Diaby, Gnabry, Sanogo and Frimpong. That’s quite an impressive squad, but again, is it good enough to win trophies?
If Wojciech Szczesny plays with his head completely on the game and doesn’t go missing then he his a proper keeper. At right back we have Carl Jenkinson and Bacary Sagna with Mathieu Flamini able to fill in at a push, so that position should be well covered. At left Back we have Kieran Gibbs and Nacho Monreal along with Flamini or Sagna if desperate. At centre back, personally I feel that the Laurent Koscielny/Per Mertesacker combination is the most effective, so to have club captain Thomas Vermaelen to step in or Sagna, who has been fantastic at the heart of defence, is a blessing.
In midfield we have more options than a kid in a candy store. Mesut Özil is world class; Santi Cazorla is top class; Aaron Ramsey has become a man and this WILL be his breakout season, if it isn’t already; Jack Wilshere is still only 21 and will become a proper player in time; Theo Walcott seems to be attracting the attention of the boo-boys this year, as Ramsey has improved immeasurably, but watch how much space he makes for others. Add Thomas Rosicky, Mikel Arteta, the versatile Mathieu Flamini, Alex Oxlade-Chamberalin and Lukas Poldolski to the midfield mix and you have to say that we are very well stocked.
Now our one problem area is in attack where, as fantastic as Olivier Giroud has become, finishing with confidence, attempting little flicks and holding the ball up well, where do we turn to after him? Yaya Sanogo is still a baby in footballing terms with a lot still to learn. There remain doubts as to whether Podolski is a genuine forward, with him lacking natural prowess with his back to goal and is probably better utilised on the left wing. Theo, as he is only too happy to tell anyone who will listen, can play there but obviously being physically smaller, he offers little by way of an aerial threat. After those it’s the enigma-that-is Nicklas Bendtner before youngsters Benik Afobe and Chuba Akpom, both of whom need plenty of time.
Concluding, if we are short anywhere in the squad then it would have to be up front, where the question is can we remain up with the pace until January? Another possibility is the addition of a free agent, as mooted recently with links to Romanian forward Ciprian Marica. Hopefully it is the latter as Gooner fan’s everywhere know our injury luck is very low indeed. So what will keep us near the top until the time that we can add further reinforcements? Scszesny has to play safe; no stupid mistakes. Per needs to stay injury free; such a calming influence. Gibbs needs to keep improving. Özil will share the weight of the creative burden with little Spanish magician Cazorla meaning the whole team benefits. Giroud has to, and I mean HAS TO, stay fit; please wrap him up in cotton wool every night(I bet there plenty of Goonerettes willing to help out there). Walcott needs to keep making the runs and the goals will come, he just needs to keep his confidence levels high. Ramsey needs to keep playing like a Welsh Maradona, Jack needs to relax so that his game can develop and finally Özil, well he just needs to be Özil.
Fingers crossed to the footballing Gods that we get no more injuries. If they oblige, we may just have enough. If we do business in January on the same level as Özil, we will have a great chance to end the drought.
Until next time, Up The Gunners!
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