Sunday 7 August 2011

Arsenal gamble on crocks, rookies and want-aways

I'm sure everyone knows, even the 'Arsene Knows Best' Brigade, that without additions, this current Arsenal squad can't win the league this season with crocks, rookies and want-aways. The best we can hope for is third and even that will be a big ask.

Manchester United and City have both strengthened their respective squads, significantly, so what makes us think we can finish higher than them? Personally, I don't think it's possible, as our squad seems weaker to me.

Selling Gael Clichy makes us weaker, in my book. Kieran Gibbs is a great prospect, but I'm not sure he'll be more solid than Clichy, who we all know was prone to errors. It's possible that I'm wrong about Gibbs and he will instantly prove to be a trustworthy successor. I certainly hope so, but anyway, you could say the left-slot is not the most crucial position.

Central midfield is much more essential to our success. And here we're looking at losing Cesc Fabregas or Samir Nasri. Both players are geniuses and almost irreplaceable. So whichever of the two leaves, I think we'll be significantly weaker in that department, especially if Jack Wilshere is not ready to start the season.

The addition of Gervinho means we have more quantity in the wing department, but Theo Walcott has an ankle problem again and Andrey Arshavin (who like Theo is not really a winger anyway) looks a bit disaffected. Arshavin could be our star player on a regular basis, if Arsene Wenger played him in the correct position, but that's another debate entirely.

Then upfront, Nicklas Bendtner is off to another club probably, and ol' Chocolate Leg (Robin van Persie) is suffering from brittle bones again it seems. Yes, our top scorer last season is crocked, we hear, after what looked like a relatively innocuous challenge during the Benfica friendly defeat.

In goal, Wojchiech Szczeny should have learned from his mistakes last season, but I'm more worried about Lucasz Fabianski. While Szczeny is a legend-to-be, Fabianski is always an accident waiting to happen. Fabianski got beaten at his near post against Benfica, so has to take some of the blame for that.

If Vito Mannone became Szczeny's stand-in, I'd be a little more confident, but ultimately had Wenger brought in a more experienced keeper, even on a free transfer like Brad Friedel, we'd be significantly stronger in this department. Instead, we're looking at another missed opportunity on the transfer front.

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