A terrible run of results early on in the season saw quite a few Arsenal fans question their club’s summer transfer business despite spending a club-record fee on Alexandre Lacazette. While they did have a decent squad at the time, what perhaps vexed the fans was the contract situation of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil.
Sanchez’s supposed move to Manchester City last summer fell through but the fans were smart enough to realise that Sanchez was obviously going to leave, which he did a few days ago, and that too to their rivals Manchester United. Ozil is still around, but could leave soon as he still hasn’t extended his contract.
While the swap deal for Sanchez made more sense, for reasons unknown to many, the Gunners have been linked with attacking reinforcements despite the obvious problems at the back.
In need of a spine…
Arsenal’s defence isn’t the worst. But the protection their backline is often afforded could well be. Granit Xhaka, for all his abilities on the ball, isn’t a player who can play the deepest and break the game à la Patrick Vieira or Gilberto Silva. The Gunners have a lot of ingredients of a team that can challenge for the top four or potentially even the title, but not all of them.
The presence of Jack Wilshere, Henrikh Mkhitaryan (though he just joined), Mesut Ozil (though he could leave), and Alexandre Lacazette could be a good thing for the Gunners moving forward. Wilshere’s presence in the quartet here is key, for he is the player who can link up the midfield and the attack. The Englishman’s ability with the ball and keen sense of vision could be the perfect foil to the other three.
The problem is because Arsenal have no real game-breaker in the midfield, Wilshere is expected to win the ball back, more time than he’d have to do in the presence of say someone like a Nemanja Matic, N’Golo Kanté or Fernandinho.
So, it’s pretty clear what the Gunners need more than anything else right now; a holding midfielder who is not only adept at breaking the play and good with his positioning, but is also someone who can pass the ball like Wenger demands.
Despite all that has been made of Arsenal’s season so far, they are still only five points behind Arsenal and could win the League Cup. So they can still make it a successful season if they decide to make up their mind and strengthen the area that actually needs attention.