Saturday 1 December 2012

Does this Arsenal team have top-four quality?

After the debacle against Swansea, I've been hitting the Twittersphere big time, discussing the merits of the first XI. I still maintain Arsenal have enough talent to finish in the top four. Marc Ollington of The Gooner disagrees. So let's break down the team: Szczesny: Today's performance suggests that he is good enough to play for a top-four club. He made some impressive saves and only made one mistake, when he kicked the ball into touch after a misunderstanding with Jenkinson. But how many keepers are better than him. Lloris, Cech, Hart, Schwarzer, De Gea, Krul, Ruddy, and Jaaskelainen may be better. Jenkinson: Could you see him walking into one of the top-3 teams? Erm, no. How about Spurs. Not really, as they have Walker. So he's not top 4. Yet. Like Szczesny, he could be at that level in a year or two. Mertesacker: Maybe I'm crazy, but I think he'd get into a top-4 team. He's got a lot of caps for Germany, so that says it all. Vermaelen: He'd be able to play in any top 4 team, I feel. Gibbs: I really rate him. He's not as good as Ashley Cole yet & he's not at the level of Patrice Evra. Leighton Baines is better too, but I think he'd just about squeeze into a top-4 team. Walcott: His pace and finishing are huge assets. He's good enough for any Premier League team. He'll go to a higher placed team when he leaves Arsenal, so that will prove it! Arteta: Well, he's better than Michael Carrick, so that logic means he's good enough too! I'm worried he's playing too many games, given his age though. Cazorla: Clearly, he's good enough for any Premier League team. He's a bit off colour, right now, though. Wilshere: The same as Cazorla, except he's been off for ages through injury, so it's unfair to heap too much pressure on him. Gervinho: I'm not sure he's good enough for a midtable team, let alone one pushing for Champions League qualification. Podolski: Today's performance suggests his nowhere near good enough, but he just need a rest. You don't win 100 caps for Germany if you're not top-4 material. Subs: Giroud: Looks sharp, despite limited opportunities. Definitely, top-4 level for me, but not as technically good as Robin van Persie. Oxlade-Chamberlain: He's good enough, but he's out-of-form. He'll bounce back, but he needs time. Rosicky: Not convinced he's good enough nowadays. He used to be, but he's too injury-prone. So, I reckon 8 of the starting XI are of the required standard, 2 are quite close and 1 is nowhere near. That should be good enough, but Arsenal's problem is form not class. Wenger needs to inject some confidence into this team and then we'll be seeing so good performances again. But he will need to add to the squad or this could be a disastrous season. Marouane Fellaini will do!

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