As we past the halfway mark of league games played, Arsenal are sitting pretty in 3rd position. Albeit 2 points behind Manchester United and Manchester City having played a game more than the former and a game less than the latter. We also have a very healthy goal difference of plus 20, just 3 short of leaders United.
If our home form has been better, we could very well be leading the table but that is an argument for another day. Looking at the upcoming fixtures, 4 ties looked set to be deciding where we end up in the final standings. Not that the others are not important but these should be the toughest of lot. Two home games against United and City and two away games to the Spuds and Newcastle. The first 3 of those could be one of those six pointers.
The next question is of course whether this Arsenal squad is good enough to win the title (purely speaking about the Premier League). As we’ve seen last Monday against Chelsea and last Saturday against Birmingham, they are good enough. However, to expect these players to avoid injuries or suspension would be asking the impossible from even the most optimistic of us.
Over the course of this season, Arsene Wenger has had to change his stance over possible January transfer. The long term injury to Thomas Vermaelen is the prime reason for that. The central defender is by far the best within the group which also comprises Laurent Koscielny, Johan Djourou and Sebastien Squillaci. In all of the defeats and to a certain extent even the wins, we’ve missed his leadership at the back.
The next few weeks should decide whether Wenger needs to plunge into the market for another defender. This coming after he sanctioned the sale of Havard Nordtveit to Borussia Moenchengladbach. The Norwegian is a centreback but unfortunately quite possibly lack the necessary quality to make the next step up at Arsenal. Though, even if Vermaelen remains crocked, Wenger still has the option to recall Kyle Bartley back from his loan stint at Sheffield United where he has impressed for them.
The transfer of Per Mertesacker has been mooted for quite some time. The German club, Werder Bremen has already stated that they are willing to part with the German international mainstay for a significant sum of money. This after they crashed out of the Champions League. His height and heading ability will no doubt improve our defence but money would be the key here. I’m not sure Wenger wants to spend a huge some of money on a 26 year old who could then hamper the progress of Koscielny, Djourou and even Bartley.
In the attacking sense, we are well stocked with good quality players. Some of which may not be world class but nevertheless, it has been suggested in some corners that Arsenal now has the strongest bench in the league. Unless there is a major problems with injuries like the tail end of last season, this is one department where other teams will cast an envious glance.
If something needs to be done there, it would be for the defensive midfield role which currently is only occupied by Alex Song. He was rested against Wigan and that to me is a sound decision as we don’t want to risk over-playing our only defensive midfielder. It worries me to no end the day he is crocked with injury. Can we get Scott Parker as backup?
Or do you have any other suggestion? Do let me know.