Why am I not feeling as confident as I usually am about Arsenal? There should only be cause for optimism. We lost an… okay right back in Bacary Sagna (I have always felt he was too overrated), and gained an even better one in Debuchy, and we are about to lose our captain Thomas Vermaelen who gets top marks for his positive attitude and love for the team but ultimately came up short in actual talent.
We actually look stronger with the purchase of Alexis Sanchez, Joel Campbell coming back from his loan spell, Yaya Sanogo finally breaking his goal scoring duck and Shad Forsythe, the new fitness coach who is meant to sort out all our fitness issues. My lack of confidence is due to a couple of issues, namely:
Loss of key players at the start of the season:
Chelsea and the rest of the Premier League contenders are going to be quick off the blocks and try to stay ahead of the chasing pack for the rest of the season with the squad to actually do it and while I accept the Premier league is a marathon not a sprint, falling far behind so early in the race will severely dent our confidence. With key players, Lukas Podolski, Mesut Ozil, Theo Walcott and most crucially Per Mertesacker set to miss the start of the season, Arsenal will need some players to step up. Rosicky, Cazorla, and Flamini have the experience, which is crucial.
How long will Alexis Sanchez need to fit into the team? Preferably immediately but we all know it does not always work that way especially in the Premier League. Remember Pires talking about his first experience in the League, sitting on the bench and wondering why the game was so rough? He took some time to get going but once he did…well you know the story. Other players just seem to fit in seamlessly. What about Calum Chambers? Mertesacker and Koscielny formed a formidable partnership at the heart of defence so long will it take for Chambers to gel with Koscielny before Mertesacker comes back?
Lack of fitness:
Most fans were mad at Giroud, more than usual, during the Emirates cup not realizing he was at a different level of fitness. When the players mentioned above come back, they will still be lacking fitness especially Theo Walcott. This is not ideal for a team with serious title aspirations. Again, to counter this problem, other players need to stand up and be counted.
So long as Arsenal can overcome the above problems and keep up with the rest of the rest of the contenders, we have a chance of lifting the trophy come the end of the season. At least we have an experienced manager who knows what is expected to win the League.