A striker, a winger, a creative midfielder and a goalkeeper to complete Arsenal jigsaw

With the recent
signing of Yaya Sanogo, and the discussion about Gonzalo Higuain and Wayne
Rooney, it’s pretty easy to see where Arsene Wenger views needed improvements-
in the striker/central forward role.

It’s
positive to see that Arsenal are strengthening their forward line- a position
which the Gunners struggled with at different stages last season. However,
Arsene and his array of staff must not take their eye off the bigger picture,
that being to improve the entire team.

It
would seem apparent that Arsenal need to improve in the attacking third, which
has been recognised. This was demonstrated by the number of games Arsenal had
the better of play and come away with either a draw (10) or a loss (7) in the
2012/13 season. Arsenal must also look at getting, at least, one high quality
midfielder to compliment Mikel Arteta, Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla. As
Cazorla had such a high quality break out season in English football, it wasn’t
mentioned too much but Arsenal must look at getting another skilful midfielder
who can set up attacking forays for the team. Both Arteta and Wilshere have
that ability but were used in more defensive minded positions last season. Even
if the player doesn’t displace any of the aforementioned players, it’s very important
to have players on the substitutes’ bench who can change the game when they
come on.

Another
position which Arsenal must look to strengthen is the winger position. Arsenal
still have Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lukas Podolski and Gervinho
in this role but to compete with the top sides this season, they must bring in
another player. This would be to compliment Walcott, who is willing to dribble
at defenders and force them to make decisions. Statistics show that last
season, Lukas Podolski, a prominent player in Arsenal’s side last season,
averaged 0.4 dribbles per match. Looking at our two biggest competitors,
Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea, and two of their players, Gareth Bale and Eden
Hazard, they both averaged 1.8 dribbles per match. The reason this style is
needed for Arsenal is as on a number of occasions, Arsenal were held to either
a scoreless draw or lost games 1-0 (Norwich City 0-1, Southampton 1-1, Aston
Villa 0-0 and Sunderland 0-0 to name a few). The added ability to put defenders
under pressure and force mistakes can come from dribbling at defenders. Too
often last season, opposition teams had compact defensive lines as they know
the way Arsenal play and didn’t allow Arsenal to play their game well enough to
win.

Even
though, Arsenal conceded the second fewest goals in the English Premier League
competition last season, they must not rest on their laurels there. It is
positive to see that Arsenal are showing interest in the Confederations Cup
2013 Goalkeeper of the Tournament, Julio Cesar. Even if just to keep Wojciech
Szczesny on his toes and to learn from the more experienced Cesar, this can
only prove a positive for Arsenal for the future. Hopefully, both are providing
stiff competition for the other and pushing the other for that first-choice keeper
position.

Conclusion

Arsenal
are in a strong position, where they have money to spend and are looking at
some great transfer targets. It is just important to emphasise, the club
mustn’t just be looking to strengthen in one position on the park but all
across the pitch. If this occurs, Arsenal will be pushing to threaten for
trophies and will hopefully break that recent lean patch which the club has
endured recently.

Jake Cohen


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