Arsenal began 2015 with a dreadful defensive performance against Southampton and it only further presses the issue that we must reinforce in central defence and defensive midfield.
The weekends loss to Southampton can be almost entirely down to an abysmal defensive performance. Laurent Koscielny clearly struggled playing a second full 90 in the space of four days, while Mertesacker is absolutely buggered from a season where he’s been heavily depended on.
Further forward Calum Chambers and Francis Coquelin failed to provide enough cover, the latter guilty of some poor marking at times. A lot of yesterday’s loss was down to a lack of concentration. Arsenal don’t have the players to rotate sufficiently and much of that boils down to insufficient purchases in defence over the summer – Arsene Wenger has this month to rectify it however.
Players such as Ron Vlaar and Winston Reid have been mooted, while we all know Mats Hummels would be the number one target but he’s unlikely to abandon the sinking ship that is Borussia Dortmund when they need him the most. We need someone who is experienced and can actually compete with Mertesacker and Koscielny for a starting spot.
Wenger has no excuses to not add a player in the next week or so. A central defender has been a priority for the last twelve months so to not have one all signed up shortly is a worry. Arsenal shouldn’t be waiting until the last day of the window to sign someone we desperately need before we lose even more vital points.
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Slightly further forward is the other pressing matter. The phantom DM position has long been a problem for the Gunners. Alex Song seemed to be the answer for a short period of time – he was strong, athletic and could get down and dirty. Although he was no Patrick Vieira or Gilberto Silva he was the best we had available and was needlessly sold without replacement to Barcelona in 2012.
It’s now the winter of 2015 and Mathieu Flamini and Mikel Arteta are not up to the task on a regular basis. Look at what Victor Wanyama brought to the Southampton side yesterday, such power and dynamism. Perhaps the Saints can be convinced to part ways with the suspended Morgan Schneiderlin after the Kenyan’s dominating performance?
Up front, the Gunners have plenty of options and are even considering letting Lukas Podolski and Yaya Sanogo go on loan. To let two players depart who are reasonably important squad players is a tad worrying especially considering Joel Campbell is clearly not a trust worthy option. Does Wenger believe Chuba Akpom can make the step up? Surely the rumours of buying £50 Edinson Cavani is purely paper talk?
Regardless if Podolski and Sanogo head out on loan the priority remains reinforcing the defensive side of the squad. Will Wenger bring in the right additions? No doubt we will be made to wait until January 31st.