What would I do if I were in Arsenal hotseat?

Arsenal kicked their season off in style as they managed not to concede a single goal against their high-flying opponents in Liverpool, Stoke City and Sunderland. It all started off with the Wojciech Szczesny’s blunder that gave Danny Fox an opportunity to break the Gunners’ deadlock. Arsenal’s 2011/12 campaign was believed to be one of the worst in the past many years but this season proves that the Gunners were a better side with Robin van Persie and Alexandre Song in the starting eleven. Without wasting one more second, let us analyze the four basic factors which could change Arsenal’s progress upside down.

1. January Transfer Window

2. Return of Abou Diaby and the other injured players

3. Better defensive performances

4. Benching Gervinho and Aaron Ramsey

1. January Transfer Window

Arsenal are already linked with the likes of Marouane Fellaini, Wilfried Zaha, Klass Jan-Huntelaar, Adrian Lopez, Adel Taraabt and Fernando Llorente. Evidently, most of the Arsenal’s transfer targets are strikers and wingers. Apparently, the Gunners are badly in a need of world class attackers to deputise Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski. Although Olivier Giroud has silenced his critics lately as she scores at regular intervals, anyone can easily come to conclusion that the French striker is effective only against average opponents as in mid-table Premier League clubs. It would be an insanity to rely on Gervinho and Theo Walcott while the former would be off for a few weeks due to African Cup of Nations as usual. Arsene Wenger had earlier stated in an interview that there might be couple of players arriving at the Emirates Stadium following the January Transfer Window. If the Gunners need a hollywood-esque come-back like last season, they might bring some top quality players in January with the huge fund available to them.

2. Return of the new Patrick Vieira and the other injured players

Arsenal had a decent run of games when the French man was playing

If the lack of world class players at the North London club is an issue, the injuries that the players sustain every year is a bigger concern. Arsenal’s stretchers and tables are always full as Emirates Stadium gave shelter to the likes of Robin van Persie, Eduardo da Silva, Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey for long terms in the past. Arsenal’s injury woes kicked off much earlier than expected this season as the likes of Bacary Sagna, Kieran Gibbs, Wojciech Szczesny, Tomas Rosicky, Abou Diaby and Theo Walcott have already gone through recovery processes at some point of time during this season. When all the players were fit, Arsenal looked like a real title contenders. As the time passed, the injury sustained by Abou Diaby, who awestruck the spectators at Anfield, in particular totally changed the way that the Gunners performed. Arsenal certainly look like any strong team which could lift the Premier League trophy when all the players are fit, whereas the absence of a single player deforms the system.

3. Better defensive performances

Arsenal’s newest trait is carried over by this generation of defenders, too and that is being vulnerable to the set-plays. Arsenal’s back four was considered to the best in the League as they made some splendid performances especially against the defending Champions, Manchester City. Arsene Wenger’s newest Number 2, Steve Bould was given all the credits for the decent defensive record during the start of the season. The bald-headed former Arsenal and Sunderland defender received the spot-light and eventually, there evolved a new phrase, The Steve Bould Effect. As the season progressed, the same old story repeated itself as the defence became leaky and spongy as always. Even Thomas Vermaelen started to make blunders as against Manchester United at the Old Trafford which gave the Red Devils their lead within just three minutes. Laurent Koscielny just keeps scoring goals into his own net and there’s a different story with Carl Jenkinson. Carl Jenkinson doesn’t make brave moves like his team-mate and French international, Bacary Sagna. He tries to get off the pressure and passes the ball back to the goal-keeper or just makes a back-pass thereby reducing the tempo of the game. Per Mertesacker just proves to be the best Arsenal defender on the pitch day in and out. No team, even the likes of Barcelona could never break the Arsenal’s defensive dead-lock if they perform at the highest level in my opinion.

4. Benching Gervinho and Aaron Ramsey

Under performers should be given the right treatment


This could happen only if the first two points that I’ve mentioned above are accomplished. Gervinho’s dribbles at times turn out to be useful as against Olympiakos in the last match of the group stages when he assisted Tomas Rosicky. Most of the times, the dribbles prove to be needless. Aaron Ramsey could have easily been a world class player if not for the injury he sustained against Stoke City. What Ramsey needs the most at this juncture is confidence which he could get only by more playing time. Arsenal are not a laboratory to experiment

young players like Ramsey. I’d not suggest the sale of Aaron Ramsey as he could be one of the finest mid-fielders in the world anytime soon. Aaron Ramsey should be sent to a mid-table Premier League club to gain valuable experience and of course, the confidence.

Even a world class defender like Thomas Vermaelen made one the worst blunders against Manchester United which shows the lack of confidence and self-esteem among the Gunners. Arsene Wenger must instill that in the squad which has gone missing since the exit of the Dutch striker Robin van Persie. A single man could not drag a team all by himself and Arsenal are no Manchester United. All the players in the red and white shirt who must give the fans what they expect and it’s not an one-man magic anymore.

League cups are always there for the taking


     Arsenal are still alive in the Capital One Cup, FA Cup, Champions League and a slime chance in the Premier League and it’s time for the Gunners to rejuvenate themselves and give Gary Neville a good topic to talk about during the ninety minutes of this awesome game of football.


Written by Dinesh V

Co-founder of Soccersouls. Living a start-up life 24/7
Follow @dineshintwit

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