As all avid Arsenal fans so desperately know, the squad has been repeatedly depleted by injury. While this can lead to opportunities for young players, it is too often the cause of dropping crucial points. Alex Iwobi, for instance, took ahold after Alexis Sánchez’s hamstring injury last spring.
Injuries Plague 2016/17 Arsenal Season Early
In the wake of the first league game of the season against Liverpool, there will be several players unavailable. In addition, just starting to come back to training from the Euros, the injury list is beginning to pile up. The likes of Mesut Özil, Laurent Koscielny, and Olivier Giroud have been officially ruled out of the league opener. The injury list includes Per Mertesacker, Gabriel Paulista, Danny Welbeck, Jack Wilshere, and reserve Carl Jenkinson. This obviously shows a blow to the squad depth.
Reason for Concern
Arsenal have a tough opening schedule ahead. With the track record that Arsenal have, the injury load at the heart of the defence will be a challenge. This is especially so against talented attacking teams like Liverpool and defending champions, Leicester. The inexperience at the back of Calum Chambers, Robert Holding and Krystian Bielik will need to be harnessed.
As all Arsenal fans know, each season latterly has constantly been plagued with an alarming amount of injuries. The fact that this injury bout has come even before the very first game of the year shows great reason for concern. The potential for injuries to continue piling up is very high and could be a huge disadvantage. The reasons to splash the cash and buy the necessary reinforcements to contend for the Premier League title continue to grow.
Reason for Optimism
The past couple of spells have seen injuries occur during the winter. This is where Champions League football is coupled with the gruelling league and cup matches. These mid-season struggles have been the result of the grind of multiple competitions. However, with the January addition of Mohammed Elneny and Granit Xhaka in June, the midfield is now stacked with talent. It is only the front and back lines that need to be reassured.
The injury plague has hit the Gunners early this season. But, perhaps it will stop now and not affect the club during the crucial mid-season and end of the year run. Arsenal has been successful since 2004 at the end of the season.
Who to Sign
Arsène Wenger and Arsenal need to sign players before the transfer window slams shut. The agent of Shkodran Mustafi says the club has agreed to terms with the player. So, the intent for a title-contending season is clearly evident. Mustafi has the experience and talent to start at the majority of the top clubs in Europe. If Arsenal can secure his services, that could be a big step in the right direction.
A Striker is needed
However, the signings cannot stop there. In order to push for the league title, Arsenal must secure a better striker to finish off the plentitude of chances. Although Wenger and Arsenal failed to sign strikers Jamie Vardy and Alexandre Lacazette, they must not get discouraged. If Lyon is unwilling to part ways with Lacazette, either Mauro Icardi or Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang might fit this bill.
When it comes to goal conversion rates, both of these options would be upgrades on the unreliable Olivier Giroud. The reigning African Player of the Year is the better choice because, although both would be expensive, Aubameyang’s pace and ability is top drawer. Icardi’s poacher mentality around the box would certainly warrant the exuberant price tag, too.
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