Around this time in 2011 Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, had dipped into the transfer market, signing 5 players on the Deadline day of the transfer market. Marked by many as panic buys, Micheal Arteta came out to a stroke of genius with Per Mertesacker and Benayoun providing much needed backup. Many still felt Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas were never adequately replaced. Arsene manged to guide Arsenal to an amazing third place finish, silencing the doubters.
Come 2012, the rebuilding started very brightly. But the same old story of losing the main players followed. We lost Robin Van Persie and Alex Song, the latter coming as a bit of a surprise. Wenger assured the fans after the departure of van Perie that Olivier Giroud was signed as an replacement to him, and that Song would be replaced adequately. Come deadline day, all we managed to sign was a 17 year old Goalkeeper, Deni Illiev from FK Belasica.
Wenger went as far as assuring the fans that resources are more than enough, and if required we can always bring in backup in December if not now. Having said that, one can conclude that he feels we have the squad to win the Title. Lets take a look, at the squad then:
Defense – This is one area which looks good, really good owing to fact that we let in a record number of goals in last season! In goalkeepers we have Szczesny, who is arguably one of the best keepers in the Premier League. All round defensively we have been solid, thanks to Steve Bould, as was evident in the first two games. With the exception of RB we have good cover, for every position. We have 3 very impressive Center Backs, Gibbs at LB has been impressive too. With Djourou and Squillaci we are well covered in this position. RB is a position where bar Sagna we have no real quality, though Jenkinson played very well in the first two games, he provided almost nothing going forward! With Sagna coming back from injury, our first choice back 4 are very good. A new tactical approach in defense, and fit players, would mean we are sound in this area of the pitch.
Midfield – In midfield, Wenger after a really long time has a selection headache. With a plethora of options and Podolski, Cazorla and Arteta as permanent starters in midfield, Wenger will have loads of options to choose from at every position. The much talked about DM role this summer which Alex Song vacated and to which we were promised a replacement, has as much as 3 options. With Arteta emerging as the hard tackling, ball winning player this gives Diaby/Coquelin much freedom to go forward. With Wilshere returning and Ramsey and Chamberlain as backup Central Midfield is where the fight is this season at Arsenal. Looking at Wingers, Theo Walcott and Gervinho don’t really instill confidence when it comes to an out-n-out winger, a player with flair who can go past full back and put in those crosses. Having said that, with Podolski likely to occupy the Left Mid role, this gives Wenger the choice of starting Walcott or Gervinho on the Right. Either one of them can come of the bench to make an impact. As far as backups go we have Arshavin, who I feel can make a difference if brought on in the 70th min of a game, expect him to a surprise package this season. With the return of Rosicky also imminent, we have arguably the best midfield in the Premier League.
Attacking – Olivier Giroud and Marouane Chamakh. Where are the goals going to come from? The question on most Arsenal fans’ mind. Ohk, to be fair to Giroud, his ability in undoubted as those of you who watched him against Stoke, he can hold up the ball and head it down quite brilliantly hence bringing others into the game, an ability which we never really had since Adebayor. He has played only two Premier League, starting only 1 of those and needs time to adjust to life in the League. His comparisons to Robin van Persie are uncalled for, and criticism is too early. He will be starting all games, if not injured in which case we have Chamakh as the second choice striking striker. Well he never really got his act going in England, but has been given a Golden opportunity by Wenger to show his ability something which won’t be lost to him. As backups go, we don’t really have any. With Park and Bendtner being loaned out on Deadline Day, striking options are all but unavailable. Keeping one of the above mentioned two fit is of utmost importance. Goal scoring has never been a problem for Arsenal, and the goals will begin to flow once Giroud gets settled.
The squad overall is well balanced and depth is good, but another striker would have been nice. We can mount a serious challenge on the Title this season, with a great starting XI and if we can manage to keep our players fit. Winning the title, seems a little too far this season realistically, but a domestic trophy is well within reach with quality of the squad being improved since last season. The player to watch out this season will be Santi Cazorla. Come December, Wenger will be looking to add at least another striker to bolster the squad and probably a DM. There is a lot to cheer about this season for Arsenal fans so COME ON YOU GOONERS, lets get behind the squad this season.