The season is still young but I think Arsene has learnt a lot already about his squad, to me it is already clear that some players are developing extremely well while others have stagnated. I just thought that after last night's win against Newcastle, it would be worth asking, who has impressed and who has not, who needs to be ditched and who needs to be given more games?
In goal we have seen Fabianski have a run of five solid games, plus we have seen an extremely commanding performance from the young Pole Szczesny. Almunia's poor form and injury must see him drop right down the pecking order. For me Szczesny is the future, he is huge, he commands the box, he has such confidence and his positioning is fantastic for one so young. It is a great concern that his contract is rumoured to be up come the end of the season, if I were Arsene I would stick him in the side for a few more games and make him an offer he cannot refuse. If Szczesny walks on a free then big big questions will have to be asked.
Full back wise I have been impressed with Eboue and Sagna, they have both been excellent offensively and defensively, in particular Bacary Sagna's crossing has come on leaps and bounds from a couple of years ago. The big concern I have is Gael Clichy's form, he has been poor in most games I have seen. He has been positionally poor, weak in the tackle, and weak aerially. If Kieran Gibbs had not been plagued with injuries then I am sure he would be no1 by now. Hopefully Gibbs' knee injury will only keep him out for 2-4 weeks ish.
The purchase of Koscielny and Squillaci was badly needed. Both have done very well thus far. As one would have expected the younger has made the odd error but the signs are generally very positive. Johan Djourou has defended well given how long he was absent, obviously he is a tad rusty but he has been aggressive, dominant in the air and he has stayed fit thus far. The niggling injury that keeps TV out is a big concern, but as long as the other three stay fit we can cope.
The midfield has seen the dramatic emergence of Jack Wilshere and it is quite remarkable that he has made himself an automatic selection in a relatively short space of time. His all round ability, his passing, his movement, his understanding of the game and his fighting nature make him such a key player for us. Cesc has been at his creative best when fit, Song has been dominant, although a tad lacking discipline on occasions. The fight for places beneath this three is where it gets interesting. Denilson has been tidy and far better than last season so far. Diaby has been as enigmatic as ever, sometimes a delight to watch, sometimes a drain, I am finally losing patience with him, I do wonder if there is enough end product to justify his selection in our first team? Rosicky has been a real utility player and a very effective one at that, he does a bit of everything and does it all rather well. Ramsey is close to a return, Lansbury is pushing hard but may benefit from another loan, while I am not convinced that Eastmond will quite cut it at the highest level.
With Bendtner and Walcott returning to full fitness, we are beginning to look extremely strong up top. Nasri has worked his nuts of over the summer and he has reaped the rewards, probably our most improved player of the season, we are starting to see a regular end product and this is vital as we saw on Sunday against City. Chamakh has had an excellent start, he will never bang in 30 goals a season, but his team play and work rate makes him such a key member of the squad, his aerial ability is also a real bonus. RVP, injured again. Andrei Arshavin splits opinion, his statistics tell one story and his critics another, like all things the truth is somewhere in between. Generally I think he has done enough, he has worked harder off the ball, he does have that rare ability to destroy a team in a split second and he is a very useful player to have in the squad. The biggest disappointment for me of the last year or so has been Carlos Vela, he has so much ability but his heart just doesn't seem in it, his motivation seems lacking, he lacks end product and continues to frustrate me whenever he plays, time is running out for him I feel. I would like to see the talented JET start to get some match minutes, the lad is dynamite.
In summary I've probably not told you much that you didn't already know, or maybe not, perhaps you disagree with me rather strongly, if so then please comment and tell me why. When one looks at all the good and the bad, it gives one a bit more perspective and Arsene does appear to be more than a bit handy. I think he has a few big decisions to make in the next few months. Firstly if he think Szczesny is good enough then he should make him our no1 now and get him to sign up. Secondly he needs to sort out Gael Clichy's form or replace him, ideally with a fit Kieran Gibbs. Thirdly there are some players who are running out of time, maybe it is harsh to single out Diaby and Vela, but for me these two need to do a bit more than they currently are. It would be interesting to see what you all thought?