A total of 5 important first team players have left Arsenal in the past two seasons and it has been difficult for Wenger to find replacements of the same class. With a management, who are reluctant to spend money, Wenger has nothing to do but to change some of his tactics used. After Nasri, Fabregas and Clichy left the club last year it took Arsenal a few months to get their act together. This season, after the two important players left the club, it seems history is repeating itself. Arsenal, yet again, have lost their best players when they really need them.
However, it seems that the changes are part of a plan. Arsene Wenger didn’t want to lose Robin Van Persie but he found replacements in the form of Oliver Giroud and Lukas Podolski before he left, while Alex Song looked to do more of an attacking midfielder role than his defensive duties, he was replaced by a player who has Arsenal’s DNA in him. Cazorla, a player who can keep the ball and make killer passes much like Fabregas.
What was missing last year and what to expect this year:
It was Van Persie who took Arsenal from the jaws of a mid table finish to top four finish. Van Persie scored or assisted 39 goals for Arsenal last season and together with Alex Song was responsible for 47 out of 74 Arsenal’s Premier League goals. The combination of Walcott, Song and Van Persie have been fantastic for Arsenal in the last couple of seasons. But obviously their best was never good enough to win any sort of silverware for Arsenal and it was mainly because of the tactics used by Wenger to create a game play surrounded by these 3 players having Arteta as the player who holds the play.
Lets look at Song and Walcott closely – Song was never going to be a midfield monster. His defending skills are great and can stop the best of attacks on his day. But he clearly stooped the passing game of Arsenal as he wastes time on the ball, trying to dribble when there are players with acres of space. His positioning on counter attacks have costed Arsenal unnecessary goals against lower ranked teams.Song’s departure wont affect the Gunners too much
And Walcott, well, he may have the stats to his advantage but to me, he is a frustrating player and a slightly overrated English player. After so many seasons in the club and with more than 150 appearances to his name, Walcott has not shown any sort of improvements in his game. His main asset is his speed, and it is the only reason he is still surviving in a team which has more no of wingers.
Wenger has realized he has to go in for a different approach as one can notice that Arsenal have lost their one touch football in the last couple of seasons. With the exit of Fabregas and Nasri the free passing Arsenal team has tried to win games in a different manner which is clearly not suited for them.
With the arrival of Santi Cazorla to the first team it brings in a different approach, and fans can expect some of the of the one touch football back when Cazorla combines effectively with Wilshere (who is about to return next month) while Mikel Arteta is a better midfield man than Alex Song.
The midfield now looks like this:
Arteta/Ramsey – Wilshere/ Diaby
Oxlade Chamberlain/ Walcott – Cazorla/ Rosicky – Podolski/Gervinho
The rejuvenated Diaby can add more more flare to the midfield as he can dribble past the most talented defenders on his day, and once Wilshere gets back to his best it will be a good fight between the players to find a starting berth.The future depends on Cazorla, Arteta, Podolski and Wilshere
In the wings Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain can give more diversity than Walcott. The new strikers Olivier Giroud & Lukas Podolski might not be as deadly as Robin Van Persie but Giroud is very physical and well suited for English game. Podolski is a workaholic and a powerful finisher who adds strength and directness that Arsenal have lacked in the recent past.Arsenal’s squad doesn’t look bad
On the whole, Replacing five major players in the span of two years is a mission which is impossible unless you are the manager of Chelsea or PSG. But it can be made easier by changing your game. And that’s what Wenger is trying to do.
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