After the break down in the Emirates last weekend, it seems like the majority of the supporters both at the Grove and at home are not satisfied with the club’s transfer policy and its squad depth. It seems like most everyone is aware of this bar the Arsenal board. Does the Arsenal board really believe that our squad is deep and competitive enough to compete in four fronts?
In this two part series, I’m first going to compare our team’s squad with the other Premier League teams that the manager pointed out as title contenders, and then in the second part of the series look at potential signings from what we learn here. First off, let’s look at the squads of the six teams Wenger proposes are capable of winning the title.
To begin with, let’s look at the total player number. Arsenal currently stands with 24 first team players, and if you remove deadwood like Park and Bendtner, in not a single position are we more equipped in terms of the number of players there. For a team planning on fighting on four fronts, this is going to be a heavy burden for most of our players.
Second, just look at the other teams’ depths. Bar Liverpool and if I stretch myself, Tottenham included, the rest of the teams are packed in every position with established players that can get the job done. Aside from City’s forward trio, all the other top 4 teams have sufficient cover so that even when one or two guys in the same position get worn out, they have an adequate replacement that can fill that spot. To Arsenal, that “adequate replacement” would probably be the next one in the pecking order after the starter.
Lastly, by observing the squad, we can get a general feel for what type of play the team will play and how attack or defense minded they are. This can often be a great indicator for what tactics are the latest successful ones trending in that specific league.
If you look at the above teams, again aside Liverpool and the Spurs, the top 3 are packed in pretty much dimension. You clearly see that there is some serious competition for the starting spots as the skills are overflowing. None of these teams have a Ronaldo or a Messi that can single handedly dribble by 4-5 defenders and destroy the opponent. However, they do have players that can make the plays that will get them by 4-5 players every weekend regardless of who they are partnering with that day. The English Premier League requires a tough player in every position and that is why the best teams in this league are packing their squads with only the best players. To compete in this hell of a league, Arsenal needs to toughen up. But looking at the squad up there, do you see any physically dominating player?
Additionally, sure we haven’t spent like the top 3 nor will we spend like them. However, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be signing players up late because we can’t take part in bidding wars. Liverpool and even the Spurs are doing better than us at this.
The Spurs have been falling just behind us the last few seasons and in my opinion, a lot of that has to do with their mentality and their forward line. They had a great advantage on us this last March, but faltered because they too couldn’t put games to bed. How did they fix this?
A 1-0 win over Crystal Palace is not convincing, but look who they signed just this summer. The MOTM Paulinho and the goal scorer Soldado. Liverpool barely won their game too against Stoke and a lot of credit has to be given to Begovic. But regardless, who scored? Sturridge, who came in during the winter transfer. Who assisted it? Aspas.
Liverpool are the Spurs are marginally below us, and the primary reason behind that is because Arsenal still has a chance to compete in the Champions League. But at this stage, it seems like we will either get knocked out by Fenerbahce, or we will barely make it to the round and get knocked out pretty quickly.
Our squad is ice thin right now. We lack quality all around. The English Premier League demands tough teams but our team is featherlight in this league. Remember the days when Drogba used to bully us every single match? If you don’t, we got banged on during the Emirates Cup by him just a couple weeks ago. We need to toughen up and its as simple as that. How?
Wilshere nots going to get extremely tall all of a sudden and Walcott’s not going to be putting muscle on anytime soon either. So we need signings.
Check back to see what signings we need to make to get our season going again. It is quite saddening to know that this season is just an extension of miseries from previous seasons…
By the way, just a Tottenham mindset this summer to note. According to Goal.com, “(Villas-Boas) felt that the opening fixtures of last season cost the club a place in the Champions League and new technical director Franco Baldini has been ruthless in delivering targets this summer.”