After yet another low this season, Arsene Wenger is on very, very thin ice..with the fans that is. The Gunners crashed to a defeat against a resilient League Two side in the Capital One Cup with a ‘full’ strength side. On paper the starting XI should be enough to take down the best of the Premier League, let alone Bradford City, but yet again Gooners are left ripping out their hair ending with a similar hairstyle to one of the crappest buys in Arsenal history – Gervinho.
So can Arsenal, with Arsene Wenger, save this season? They have just been knocked out of the competition that was our best chance of silverware, something that has eluded the Gunners since 2005. Many fans are asking for the Frenchman’s head, and while I can certainly see why, the reality is he will not be fired by the Club and he is just as stressed as any of us.
So where did it all go wrong? The sale of Van Persie and Alex Song are certainly a massive factor. Arsenal should have kept the duo, especially the Dutchman as he is the difference between qualifying for the UCL – the money from qualifying would have more than paid for loosing RvP for free next summer. But lets not dwell in the past, how can we turn the season around? Well there are five standard, must-do’s and they must happen by the end of January otherwise Arsenal will not qualify for the Champions League or win a trophy.
1. Sell Gervinho and Coquelin in January.
Gervinho was always a poor-mans Eden Hazard. Wenger failed to stump up the cash for the Belgian winger, and instead bought the ‘next best thing’ in Gervinho who was ripping it up in France but has never convinced anyone he is a suitable Arsenal player. He’s just plain thick and is just not Arsenal material, the Ivorian continually fails to make the right decision, he runs at players when he should just distribute, scuffs simple goal scoring opportunities and just fails to read his team mates. He is an athlete nothing more and needs to be sold this winter to ensure Arsenal still get some cash for him.
Similarly to Gervinho, Coquelin seems to lack a bit of a footballing brain. Call it inexperience if you will, the 21-year-old has had plenty of opportunities to impress with Arsenal as well as loan spells with Lorient and seems to be OK in most midfield roles but not excellent in any – a Jack of all midfield trades. He is not a physical beast like Frimpong, does not have the vision of Wilshere or the goal scoring prowess of Cazorla and seems to make silly decisions like in the two recent cameo’s where he spurned two excellent opportunities to cross goal-wards against Everton and Aston Villa. Wilshere is younger and is in another league to the Frenchman, that is the standard of midfielders we need, not Coquelin. It is time for Wenger to let go of some of the youthful talent that are just not going to make the grade similar to the Henri Lansbury situation.
2. Buy TWO strikers in the winter window.
It is common knowledge that Arsenal need attacking reinforcements. Gervinho is useless striker, he had a decent patch earlier this season but they were tap in’s and low-grade shots, hardly a convincing statement for a centre forward role. Giroud is our only worthy out-and-out striker at present, however Lukas Podolski should get a chance up top as should Walcott. The Englishman is a very effective winger however, so there are plenty of reason as to why he is preferred in a wider role, but Podolski is more of a natural striker and can hammer the ball home..unlike the rest of the strikers.
But the Gunners need more fire power and with the likes of Llorente and Huntelaar ‘available’ at cheap prices this January so there are opportunities to reinforce. Gervinho will be away during January for the African’s Nations Cup, so that is a blessing in disguise, and with Thierry Henry looking like he may return for a third spell on a short-term deal, adding at least two more strikers will help our attacking options look a bit more beefy.
3. Loan out or sell Ramsey.
I feel sorry for the Welshman, he was easily on track to becoming as big of a sensation as Wilshere until that fateful day at Stoke. Since his rehabilitation he simply is not quick enough on his feet and his distribution is far from consistent. Utilized out wide of late, Wenger has retained faith in the 21-year-old despite his knack for continually wasting brilliant goal scoring opportunities and lack of attacking flair when it comes to taking on defenders. Oxlade-Chamberlain and Walcott are hands down all-round better options on the wing then their Wales international team mate but as the midfield is full of box-to-box options he is out of favour.
He will never be a winger, so to develop his skill on the ball, confidence in front of goal and distribution he needs to be loaned out to a Premier League club for the remainder of the season where he can be a regular midfielder. He has the potential to be a big player for the Gunners, but is still lacking experience and composure.
4. Re-sign Walcott at all costs.
Theo Walcott has become a big part of the Arsenal attack, he is a game changer and he must be kept at all costs. It seems that he is slipping away with the winter window fast approaching and yet no sign of a new deal. The Gunners hierarchy will never let a star player’s contract run down after the Flamini incident, so he will be sold if a new contract is not signed before January.
Despite his odd below par performance, he has played well this season when fit and is the Gunners top scorer so far this campaign. The Englishman is a vital cog that we must keep in the side no matter what. Offer him a nice pay package and coerce him to stay, Arsenal must put a stop to the continuous exodus of star players and it has to stop now.
5. Sign a defensive midfielder.
Mikel Arteta is not a natural defensive midfielder, he is brilliant on the ball and at distributing, so is more suitable for the box-to-box role. Francis Coquelin is definitely not the answer as mentioned earlier and Diaby is not only injured consistently but he is not an out-and-out Sergio Busquets/Mascherano defensive midfielder, even Alex Song left the back line too exposed with his attacking prowess. Arsenal need someone like M’Vila or Diame (however he is now injured for three months) in their ranks, as currently Emmanuel Frimpong is not yet up to scratch – but he can be the future option.
A defensive midfielder must be signed in January as we will continually be exposed with our tiny midfield trio of Cazorla, Arteta and Wilshere. Alex Song shouldn’t have been sold, if he was venturing forward too much tell him off and make him hold. He was a beast and we lack that physicality.
Do you think these changes are enough to spark a great Arsenal comeback? Why is it that the Gunners only seem to act when things go pear-shaped like the 8-2 loss at Old Trafford sparked the host of purchases? They had plenty of time to reinforce over the summer however a minimal amount of changes came calling. Look at the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid, yes they have splashed out a huge amount of cash at times over the years but they have developed and upgraded their squads while also introducing homegrown talent. Buying Fabregas when you have Iniesta, Xavi, and the young, exciting Thiago Alcantara all fighting for the same positions doesn’t seem so silly now does it?