After Wenger, where do Arsenal need improving
Arsenal have endured yet another disappointing season under Wenger. In the wake of his dismissal from the helm and the final Premier League standings shaping up, the Gunners look set for a sixth-placed finish. I think every Arsenal fan will agree, this can not continue.
Big changes are needed to first gain entry to the Champion’s League before any thoughts of League titles can be entertained. What are the major areas Arsenal need to address for the post World Cup season?
Time for shopping at the Cech out?
If any change has been made obvious this season, it’s that of Petr Cech. As mighty as he once was, he’s simply not now. John Terry told the media he would save us 15-20 points a season. I would go as far to say he has cost us somewhere near that amount this season. If brutally honest, of the three years he’s been with us, his first was the only good one.
Since that first season there’s been a rapid decline in his goalkeeping ability. Whether that is down to age or Arsenal’s goalkeeping training, we shall never know. One thing is certain, Petr Cech is no longer of the standard required, therefore must be replaced.
Cech’s out his statistics.
Petr’s distribution has never been his forte, but this season it has proved absolutely diabolical. It has reached the point where he sometimes kicks the ball straight out of play. His decision making is also questionable. On numerous occasions he should have been quicker off his line to assist our sorry defence. His permanent position on the line enables attackers to get closer and punish us. Knowing that Cech will hesitate to come out, midfielders are deliberately floating balls in between ‘keeper and defence.
Finally, his near post guard has been an issue. Any top six goalkeeper is occasionally beaten at his near post. However, for Cech it has almost become the norm, thus he should be moved on.
Jan Oblak of Athletico Madrid is a name that’s been put into the mix. Although it would be prove a great signing, it’s unlikely to materialise. Bernd Leno of Bayern Leverkusen, and Dortmund’s Roman Burki are more realistic targets. I believe it was an error to sell Szczesny.
Arsenal have been needing a dominative world class centre-half for almost a decade. Laurent Koscielny has desperately needed a centre-back partner. In his prime years, he was a world-class defender. Sadly, he never had the partner to accompany him. Now 32, his age is as much his Achilles heel as the injury problems that plague it. He can no longer keep up with high level forwards. Thus, the Gunners need two quality centre-backs.
ls Rob Holding the key to the centre of defence?
Mustafi is nowhere near good enough for Premier League football. He isn’t any where near the standard needed. The other centre backs are still on the young side, however, I’d like to see Rob Holding given a consistent run in the team. In my opinion, Gabriel was much better than Mustafi.
At the top of the shopping list I would have Konstantinos Manolas of Roma, and Paul Koulibaly of Burkina Faso, both top-level centre backs. They could easily fit into the Premier League. Additionally, if Hector Bellerin does indeed move to Juventus (I want him to stay of course) we should be trying to get Moroccan Medhi Benatia as part of the deal. Alternatively, there is Sokratis from Borussia Dortmund.
Arsenal have been needing a defensive midfielder for a long time. There was a time when we were a ‘defensive midfielder away’ from the title. However, we have never reached out and made the signing. Mikel Arteta was given the defensive midfield role, but lacked pace and a defender’s mindset. Wenger never really got the best out of him.
An injured Kim Kallstrom came and went, then the revelation of Coquelin came. His debut season was a delight for Arsenal fans, he was a physical hard hitting tackler, what fans had hoped and begged for.
However, Coquelin did hit a decline, and was very one dimensional. His only asset was his tackling. His passing flattered to deceive and his positional and spacial awareness left a lot to be desired. Elneny is a good player, and I believe has a place in the team, just not as DM. We need a marquee signing for that role.
Xhaka The Messiah
Prayers were finally answered it was thought with the signing of Xhaka. It is hard to argue that his first two seasons have been underwhelming. Nevertheless, he has shown potential. I would like to see Xhaka in this team next season, but not as a defensive midfielder.
Xhaka is a deep lying playmaker, however, it does seem as if Wenger can’t distinguish between the two. In my opinion, he’s been made a scapegoat too often. A new, possession winning DM alongside Xhaka and Ramsey would be incredible, and could thrive under new management.
If they were all on form, I’d say that’s a title-winning midfield trio. Defensive midfielders that fit the bill would be Fabinho from Monaco, or Sven Bender of Dortmund. Even Nzonzi of Sevilla would be an improvement.
As the iconic Arsene Wenger era ends, and a new dawn begins for the North London side, the owners will have to dig deep into their pockets to rebuild, hopefully recreating what he did in the glory years.
Facing the rise of those nemesis neighbours, us fans will accept no less than the invincibility than the Gunners once enjoyed. A mighty task for the new Arsene Wenger, whoever that may be, at the start of the next season. Hopefully armed with new soldiers to fight the ongoing battle for North London.
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