Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Where to fortify castle Arsenal?

I have tried to analyse where our squad is short for next season, obviously the list below is rather subjective and several players can play in several positions, however acknowledging these simplifications this is how I see our potential squad taking shape:

Goalkeepers: 1. Almunia 2. Fabianski 3. Mannone

Right backs: 1. Sagna 2. Hoyte

Left backs: 1. Clichy 2. Traore

Centre Backs: 1. Gallas 2. Toure 3. Senderos 4. Song 5. Djorou

Right midfield: 1. New signing. 2. Eboue

Centre Midfield: 1. Fabregas 2. Gilberto 3. Diaby 4. Denilson

Left Midfield: 1. Walcott 2. Rosicky 3. Vela

Strikers: 1. Adebayor 2. Van Persie 3. Eduardo 4. Bendtner

Young players pushing: Randall, Merida, Barazite, Gibbs, Lansbury, Nordtveit, Simpson.

I have assumed that Arsene will definitely sign a right sided midfielder because this is our weakest position in my opinion, Walcott looks much more threatening on the left while Eboue is simply not good enough to start for us there. The Nasri deal is not done yet but he appears likely to be slotted in on the right of midfield if he does sign. Undoubtedly we need to add more than just one new face, however it's not an easy balancing act to keep all of our big names happy whilst leaving sufficient space for the young talent to emerge into, but also having enough strength in depth to maintain a challenge on several fronts.

There are several unknowns that make it tricky to predict Arsene's hand, for example how likely is Rosicky to make a full recovery following surgery and where does he see the likes of Traore, Song and Djorou playing in the long term? It is almost easier to cross off our areas of strength and work out his plans by using a process of elimination. We're solid enough in goal, while the full back slots are probably one of our main strengths, we also have four very decent marksmen which is enough in anyone's book. That leaves centre back, centre midfield and the left of midfield. I see the other signings coming in these areas, but knowing Arsene I'll probably be wrong.


Obsinho said...

Call me a tosspot, but when laid out ike that, the squad doesn't fill me with joy. There is a lot of quality in there, but there is also a lot of gambles. And I am not a gambling man.

Obsinho said...

My grammar also doesn't fill me with joy.

Proops said...

When you lay it out like that, it does make you think if Fabregas gets injured we're doomed.
There are lots of players pushing for that slot alongside him, but how many of them will mature quickly enough for us to mount a lasting title challenge or progress in the Champions' League?
I think Gilberto played really well to the end of last season, but he also showed his limitations. We're going to need Denilson / Diaby / Song / one of the youth team players to really push through.

1979gooner said...

I am inclined to agree with you.

Trying to be vaguely objective, we probably need Nasri (if he signs) plus three more (one CB, one CM and one wide player).

If we don't bring in sufficient quality and quantity then we will be relying rather heavily on too many unproven youngsters and on luck, because if we get a few injuries to key players we will be royally shafted.

K man said...

I see you've definitely decided that Hleb is leaving. Not sure this is such a definite given that Mancini has left Inter. In fact Hleb has come out today with some positive noises about staying. If he stays and we sign Nasri then I don't think we'll be signing any more wide players. If that is the right decision or not is open to debate.

I actually prefer Walcott on the right wing and think he, Hleb and Nasri would give us plenty of options.

On the left, Rosicky, Vela and Diaby. Walcott and Nasri could also play there.

If we get Nasri I think the only other position that really needs looking at is centre back. I've said it before but I'll say it again - we need a tough player in the Keown/Adams mould. I like Wheater at 'Boro or maybe Thuram for one last season.

Not sure why Gilberto is being written off - he's a key player for Brazil and had an excellent end of season - he can fill Flamini's boots no problem.

Ted said...

Obsinho - you're a tosspot.

Any number of good points here, but I tend to agree that a lot comes down to Tomas Rosicky. If he is looking fit for next season, he answers a lot of problems wide in midfield, or in the middle as cover for Fabregas if required. If he is not looking fit for next season, then we have a major problem.

If we ever had the luxury of all our strikers to pick from, plus Walcott, then I also am tipping Wenger to start using a 4-3-3 system with RVP or Walcott playing wider, with 2 from Ade, Eduardo and Bendtner up top. There is no way that Wenger can keep those strikers happy unless they are playing games.

The upshot of all this, especially when you add Vela and Nasri to the mix, and remember that Wenger is going to stick with Eboue, is that we are not short of players out wide or up top. But it all depends on Rosicky.

Do we need another centre back / centre midfielder? Maybe. But only if they are seriously top class material. I don't see any point in buying another promising 21 year old to play in the reserves and leave at christmas. In short, it would have to be a holding midfielder who is definitely better than Gilberto, or a centre back who is better than Kolo or Gallas.

It may happen, but I don't expect it to.