I’m not going to talk about transfers, please revert to the very needed and classy Media Watch section on Arsenal’s website for that.
Don’t be misled by the title then, the whole point of this blog is trying to understand how Arsène Wenger sees the Arsenal going into next season.
We were all happy with the way the season ended: we finished third in the league, we won the FA Cup again and we looked very strong and balanced, as a team.
One might think that we’ve finally found a good line-up to give a real go at winning the league and – why not – Europe; I would love to think so, too, if it wasn’t for one little detail: the line-up used by the manager was a kind of accident.
I’m not saying Arsène Wenger was lucky to find the perfect balance, I’d rather say that it was not the one he had in mind at the beginning of the season; the starting XI famously fielded for six times in a row for the first time since 1994 is composed of a third-choice right-back who was supposed to be on loan somewhere in the Championship, a holding midfielder expected to be farmed out before being sold at the end of the season, an advanced playmaker moved twenty yards backwards and a central midfielder playing at right-wing.
You can’t deny it sounds a bit accidental, can you?
I am very curious to see what’s on the manager’s mind. It is virtually certain we will add a couple of players to the current squad and we are not likely to lose any big names this summer, hence the competition to make the team would be amazingly fierce.
There are so many questions popping out of my mind that I can barely list them, however if I’d be asked to name one I would know exactly which one that would be.
Thanks for asking!
My first and main question would be: who is going to fill the right-wing spot?
Aaron Ramsey is not a winger and looks wasted there, unable to surge from the central channel and limited in his excellent box-to-box game; same for Jack Wilshere, who would be denied the chance to break the opponents’ lines with a sudden burst like he loves to do. Also, although excellent at converting a loose ball into a dangerous counter attack, Danny Welbeck wouldn’t add enough goals and assists from that position – spending too much time and energy chasing his counterpart.
The only player with a good profile to fill this position looks to be Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain but his skills and pace are hampered by his struggles with fitness and unreliable final product.
I prefer not to mention Theo Walcott because a) he might not be around next season and b) will never offer enough support to our right-back.
That’s it then, if Arsène Wenger doesn’t explore the market to fill that gap, it would either be a makeshift winger or a player whose contribution to the team is fluctuant.
Not a great perspective for a Club whose ambition is to win the league.
Will Arsène Wenger find his man and sign him from another Club, what would happen to Aaron Ramsey, Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere? The three of them would end up fighting with a solitary spot alongside Francis Coquelin, each of them offering something different and unique.
I can’t imagine any of them sitting on the bench for too long, nor would I like to see one of them leaving but it would be naïve to think that any of them would be happy with a part-time job at the Club: the Spaniard is in his prime and is playing the best football of his career in his new role, while Aaron Ramsey is ready to hit the peak and Jack Wilshere seems finally ready to resume the excellence demonstrated back in 2011 against Barcelona.
Sacrificing one of these players would be as much wasteful as playing them out of position, that’s my humble opinion.
Arsène Wenger has so much work to do to shape the current squad into a title-winning team, the immensity and difficulty of that task shouldn’t be underestimated because it could result in another revolution.
Can’t wait to see!
FREE PRINTING AT CAMPO RETRO FOR FATHERS DAY IF ORDERED BY 2pm TOMORROW
Thirty-something Italian, currently in Switzerland. Gooner since mid-ninties, when the Gunners defeated my hometown team, in Copenhagen. Twelve years ago I started my own blog (www.clockenditalia.com) after after some experiences with Italian websites and football magazines. Debate, don’t insult or you’re out.