WTTGT Writer: Matt Mace
Arsenal will once again be in Premier League action come this weekend after a small break for the FA Cup. The hectic festive period has enabled us to really analyse the strengths and weaknesses of the squad. With injuries ruling riot, Arsenal’s depth and bench quality were severly tested and Arsenal came through those tests with decent results. But it also highlighted what our real problems are and the January window is certainly a chance to rectify them. Here are what I think we all have learned in the Christmas period.
1. Emmanuel Eboue should never have been sold
Now, I understand that Wenger can’t see into the future, and therefore wouldn’t have predicted an injury crisis to our defence, but there was still no reason to sell Emmanuel Eboue to Galatasaray. Jenkinson, although young has been out of his depth this season, but he would have made a good third choice full back. Selling Eboue, who is a versatile player who can play midfield as well simply made no sense to me.
2. Training should have more emphasis on finishing
Van Persie excluded, the Arsenal squad is really struggling for goals. Players such as Gervinho, Walcott and Ramsey really don’t look all that comfortable when shooting. In know that Arsenal’s philosophy is all about passing but drilling that into the players heads every training session takes away some of their predator instincts in front of goal. Remember when Arshavin used to be good? That whole shoot on site philosophy of his? Now he’s used another short pass quick feet player, and not a very good one at that.
3. Per Mertesacker is worth the money
When he first joined I was over the moon. 75 international caps, German captain, he had all the credentials of a winner. A month into him signing I had completely changed my mind; until the festive period that is. Bear in mind this is the first time he hasn’t had a winter break, then it is fair to say the big German coped well alongside an ever changing back four. Let’s just hope the improvement continues.
4. Wenger needs to spend
I don’t think he will; but he should. Henry has come in to every boyhood fan’s delight but apart from the goal against Leeds (probably the greatest moment to come from the Emirates) he looked a little out of his depth. That isn’t to say that he won’t get better, but he’s only here for the short term/ Players such as Podolski or Kalou would provide the perfect back up to Robin van Persie, both can play out wide, both know where the goal is. Wilshere should be back early next month along with Diaby so midfield looks okay. But bringing in a fullback on loan would ease the defensive crisis we have at the moment (anyone but Bridge, but who else is there?) I’d even go as far to say as to buy another full back like Taiwo from AC Milan (Andre Santos could always be used as a backup winger as well).
5. Arsenal should prioritise the league over both the Champions League and the F.A Cup.
I know it’s been 7 years since Arsenal last won something. But to be brutally honest I think there are more important issues at hand. We need to concentrate on keeping the likes of van Persie, Vermaelen and Song at the club; Champions League football is the best way to do that. You wouldn’t put money on anyone else other than Barca or Madrid to win that competition so qualifying for it is a must. I know City is already out of the F.A Cup, soon to be followed by either United or Liverpool, but we need to steal a march on the clubs surrounding us and finish in the top 4 at all costs.
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