Monday 23 November 2015

Cash splash rather than caution needed at Arsenal

After the WBA debacle, I feel compelled to highlight what I believe is Arsenal's Achilles heel, right now: a lack of energy.

With Coquelin out injured, Arsenal may well struggle even more in this department. Replacing him with the less mobile Arteta on Saturday was a disaster waiting to happen. Unfortunately, even the energetic Flamini cannot get up and down the pitch as quickly as he used to, so he was less effective as Arteta's sub than he would have been in his prime.

Allied to that, Arsenal have couple of temporarily burned out key players: Cazorla and Alexis Sanchez. Neither have been hitting the heights lately, especially the former who cost Arsenal a point by missing a penalty. It's not their fault though; a lack of depth in the squad has meant they will inevitably be run down into the ground by Arsenal and their respective international teams.

Then Arsenal have got Mertesacker at the back, who is more of a tactician than a runner. I'd consider putting Gabriel in for the out-of-form German, even if it's just for his running power.

The question is: how are Arsenal going to play the pressing game, which proved so effective against Man Utd again? Clearly, it will be difficult to achieve with the current squad of burned out players, ne'er-get-wells and veterans.

That's why everyone was flabbergasted that Wenger only bought Cech in the summer. Meanwhile, Rosicky was given new contracts, presumably to be a friend to the new Czech arrival, as I'm not sure what else he offers.

Arsenal fans will hope Wenger errs on the side of a cash splash instead of caution during the January transfer window, as title hopes may go out of a different sort of window before that due to lack of investment.

Alarmingly, Liverpool and, dare I write it, Spurs have adopted a pressing game to such good effect of late, I won't be surprised if both clubs keep collecting points to narrow the gap. Meanwhile, Arsenal limp on, with injuries galore and no energetic back-up to replace those whose batteries are low or who are broken.

Perhaps the famous 'spirit' that Wenger is always quoting is needed now more than ever. Norwich away is never easy, but I'd be cautious on the field if I were Wenger and possibly go for Gibbs and Monreal on the left with Debuchy and Bellerin on the right. Wenger's lack of options may force him to agree with me for once!

Sent from my iPhone

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