The midfield, where games are normally won or lost. That would be our focus for today. Every time must find the balance between attacking and defending in midfield and the battle could be won. Arsene Wenger has had great midfield partnership in his Arsenal career before, with Patrick Vieira being the fulcrum of it. Here’s a look at what are the option of us, this upcoming season.
I’m assuming Wenger will persevere with the 3 man midfield. Which should mean either 2 deeper lying midfielders, interchanging between going forward and defending. Or one designated defensive midfielder who’s sole job is to protect the defence. The ultimate selection would be one that involves all 3 interchanging without one particular player being designated to go forward to stay back. That requires a high level of discipline and awareness.
We’re going to go about this with the assumption that there will be one more defensive one, one more offensive one and one who supports both players. For the defensive duty, Alex Song is the first choice in the current squad. Even with his Barcelona thing still on-going, we can’t look past the fact that he’s still the best defensive midfielder we have. That said, most will still say he doesn’t play as a DM for us but he is a DM. Song has the qualities to be a very good one but perhaps is given more licence to roam that other DMs would. He’s a very passer of the ball, as can be seen by some of the assists he made last season.
However, he can sit when required. Dortmund away last season is a prime example of this. He did his defensive work quietly and distribute the ball to the nearest team mate whenever the possession is won. So, there is a player there for this role, if the instruction comes from the management. Otherwise, there is Francis Coquelin. The younger and less experienced option. Here’s a player who will give it his all in every single game. Being played in the the big games last season shows just how much he is rated within the camp. Compared to Emmanuel Frimpong, there’s controlled exuberance from this young lad. One who is eager to run around to win every single ball but realised that’s not the way to do it.
As for the attacking midfield role, we’ve got a couple of options. Santi Cazorla, the most prized one of them all, at the moment. Another little Spaniard, there’s vision and technical ability in him that will make him a marked man in many games. Fleet footed and with almost similar precision in either feet, Cazorla is definitely the star man in this position. That is if we have sufficient bodies to play wide of the strikers. If the former Malaga man does get pushed further forward, he leave space for 3 other players to stake a first team spot.
Aaron Ramsey, Andrey Arshavin and Tomas Rosicky will all be vying for the one spot. With the Russian only just returning from a loan stint and the Czech captain currently on the treatment table, Ramsey should be the immediate back-up to Cazorla. Sometimes the Welsh captain does take too much time on the ball and slows things down. His accuracy in front of goal was also lacking, last season. However, there is potential in him and I’m still willing to give him another go at it after the horrible injury he had the season before last.
We saw the revival of Rosicky last season before he succumbed to another injury during the Euros. He is the polar opposite of Ramsey’s style. Preferring a faster style of play, he rarely hangs on to the ball for too long unless he’s going on a dribble. Fitness is still his biggest problem. Should he have a repeat of the Indian summer he had last season, then we’ve got a very good option from the bench or someone to be used occasionally. As for Arshavin, while I’m not doubting his abilities, I do think his heart lies elsewhere. I’d be very surprised if he stays beyond 31st August.
We’ll cover the link midfield player tomorrow.
Nicklas Bendtner has finally announced what his 3 demands are. Judging from it, looks like France is a likely destination. I doubt even PSG could handle the ego of Bendtner and Zlatan Ibrahimovic clashing in the same training ground. That leaves just Montpellier or Lille. Unless the Danish international is contemplating life in Turkish league or Greek league, Lille looks the best place to go. Still, it very much depends on whether these clubs are even interested in him in the first place.
It seems, Aaron Ramsey has been put in a spot. Wales manager, Chris Coleman has openly state that he’s pursuing to get Ryan Shawcross to join the national side and will get Ramsey’s opinion on the matter. Then Coleman comes out with a statement that says there is an issue with Ramsey over this possible selection. When everything is done out in the open and in public, I do believe those statements are forcing Ramsey’s hand. Which is really uncalled for and not what a manager should do to their captain.
Speaking of what manager should do to their captain, nothing Wenger ever did deserves what is Robin van Persie is doing to him. Manchester United looks to be the only viable options out of the club, for now. Frankly, I couldn’t care less where he goes now. I just want him gone so that we could all move on. Plus Wenger will be able to plan what further steps are necessary.
Finally, Lukasz Fabianski sounds like he is staying and that is good news for us. At least, we now have 2 keepers to depend on. I hope Wenger gives Fabianski a fair chance. If Wojciech Szczesny’s form drops or suffer any fall in confidence (impossible as it may seem), there’s an option for Wenger to change. Hopefully, one less worry for the manager to think about as there’s no need for an additional keeper to come in.