With the all important “big money” signing Mesut Ozil finally set to don the Arsenal jersey this weekend Soccersouls compares the Gunners current squad with the 10/11 squad. Although, the 07/08 team has played some of the best football since the Invincibles, the 10/11 team was touted as one of the best since it had the likes Walcott, Van Persie, Song, Vermaelen, Clichy, and the ever improving Fabregas and Nasri in the armory.
The season is still very much fresh and it would be unfair to make any judgement on where they would end up at May 2014, but the main reason to do a squad comparison is the Gunner’s deadline day capture of Mesut Ozil which has changed the look of the entire squad. While Liverpool and Spurs went on a spending spree Arsenal only managed to sign Yaya Sanogo who while writing this article is injured from his International duties. However, Ozil’s arrival has definitely changed the game for the Gunners, a superstar put together with a group of spirited youngsters are tipped to finish in the top 4 again.
Coming back to the 10/11 squad – The team looked all set to deliver. Playing mercurial football that was the envy of the league, Arsenal bolted out of the starting gates with Nasri, Fabregas and Arshavin in sparkling form. Despite a couple of avoidable defeats, Arsenal were playing vintage football, notably savaging Man City 3-0 at the Etihad in a display of ruthless efficiency.
Robin Van Persie came back from a difficult summer playing with Holland in the World Cup summer and went on to suffer a knock during an International friendly which kept him away for ten weeks but he performed heroics in the second half of the season. Van Persie’s return before Christmas gave the team a much needed boost which saw Arsenal briefly grab top spot in December. A heavy 3-1 defeat of Chelsea in a devastating display was a low point of the season and when Barcelona came to visit a month later there was jubilation as Arsenal emerged 2-1 victors following one of the greatest displays of attacking football (from both sides) the Champions League has ever seen. (Arsenal fans could practically see Nasri’s pass to Arshavin which the Russian slotted it in past a diving Valdes)
Arsenal were 2nd during game-week 27 (March) with seven back to back wins including games against Liverpool and Tottenham when everything fell apart. A nightmare defeat in the Carling Cup final at the hands of Birmingham City saw Arsenal’s confidence shattered. This was followed by bitter exits from the Champions League, FA Cup and eventually the title race. A scenario very much similar to Eduardo’s horrifying leg break during the 07/08 season which ultimately costed Arsenal’s title race.
Following this crushing disappointment, the team was dismantled brutally over the next 2 seasons, culminating in widespread uproar amongst the fans as favourites Fabregas, Nasri, Van Persie & Song wanted out of the club. After Van Persie’s exit last season, this summer was one particular time when there were no superstars in the team and for the first time the Gunners don’t have other teams snooping around the Emirates trying to buy a player. Although Wenger and Gazidis could have singed another striker and a defender to make it potentially a title winning team, the current squad does look a lot better than last year.
An improved Ramsey, a tough tackling Flamini, a goal scoring Giroud coupled with the likes of Cazorla, Walcott and OZIL does make the squad look a lot better. A title challenging team maybe? Well Arsenal fans would want to believe that it is.
Here is a complete squad comparison, the team on the left is from 10/11 season and the team in the right are from 13/14 season:
|GK||Manuel Almunia||GK||Wojciech Szczesny|
|GK||Wojciech Szczesny||GK||Emilano Viviano|
|GK||Jens Lehmann||GK||Lukasz Fabianski|
|LB||Gael Clichy||LB||Kieran Gibbs|
|LB||Kieran Gibbs||LB||Nacho Monreal|
|RB||Bacary Sagna||RB||Bacary Sagna|
|RB||Emmanuel Eboue||RB||Carl Jenkinson|
|CB||Thomas Vermaelen||CB||Laurent Koscielny|
|CB||Johan Djourou||CB||Per Mertesacker|
|CB||Laurent Koscielny||CB||Thomas Vermaelen|
|CB||Sebastian Squillaci||CB||Isaac Hayden|
|CAM||Francesc Fabregas||CAM||Mesut Ozil|
|CAM||Tomas Rosicky||CAM||Tomas Rosicky|
|CM||Neves Denilson||CM||Mikel Arteta|
|CM||Jack Wilshere||CM||Jack Wilshere|
|CM||Abou Diaby||CM||Abou Diaby|
|CM||Aaron Ramsey||CM||Aaron Ramsey|
|CM||Henri Lansbury||CM||Gedion Zelalem|
|DM||Alexandre Song||DM||Mathieu Flamini|
|LW||Andrei Arshavin||LW||Santi Cazorla|
|LW||Carlos Vela||LW||Lukas Podolski|
|RW||Samir Nasri||RW||Theo Walcott|
|RW||Theo Walcott||RW||Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain|
|ST||Robin van Persie||ST||Olivier Giroud|
|ST||Marouane Chamakh||ST||Nicklas Bendtner|
|ST||Nicklas Bendtner||ST||Yaya Sanogo|
Squad List Courtesy of Reddit