After a disappointing draw today against Swansea this leads to Arsenal’s fixture congestion being worsened and more reliance needed on Arsenal’s squad in the up and coming weeks, the question is do Arsenal have a strong enough squad to survive these challenges?
Arsenal’s fixtures in the up and coming weeks are
Sun 13th Jan Home-Manchester City- League
Wed 16th Jan Home- Swansea City- FA Cup
Sun 20th Jan Away- Chelsea – League
Sat 26th Jan Away- Brighton -FA Cup *DEPENDENT ON ARSENAL BEATING SWANSEA*
Wed 30th Jan Home- Liverpool – League
Sat 02nd Feb- Home- Stoke – League
6 games in 3 weeks and none of them easy, with 2 ties to top 3 clubs, potentially 2 FA Cup games and tricky ties versus Liverpool and Stoke.
There is no question that the same 11 can play every game, with the pace and intensity of the modern game they can’t. Arsenal’s first 11 is enough to win most of the games but can our squad players come in and make the difference when asked.
Our first team is very strong with our usual line-up something of the likes:
Szczesny, Sagna, Vermaelen, Koscielny, Gibbs, Arteta, Wilshere, Cazorla, Podolski, Giroud, Walcott
If we look at each position and who could come in and if they could do a job we soon see we are lacking depth.
Goalkeeper- With Fabianski seemingly perpetually “injured” all the time our number two is Mannone. He has been shown to be slightly out of his depth this season with performances ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous throughout the season. As we don’t need to rotate the keeper we could survive till the end of season with Mannone as number two but an injury to Wojiech could be detrimental.
Defence- Right-Back is one posistion we have solid cover with Jenkinson putting in some superb performances earlier this season and with Sagna’s recent form many have been calling for him to get a second opportunity.
At left-back Santos was shown to be inadequate earlier in the season and was dropped for Vermaelen. Vermaelen can’t cover at left-back always as will be needed in the centre so this is an area that needs addressing.
At centre-back with Djourou leaving on loan we have 3 good CB in Kos,Vermaelen and Mertesacker and we can rotate the partnerships depending on who we play. However I would prefer to have another strong CB as if one player gets injured as arseblog says were then only another suspension/injury away from Squillaci/Miquel.
Answer: Arsenal’s interest in Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa seems ideal as he can play anywhere across the back four and even defensive midfield, long term we probably need to shift on Santos and get another young left-back maybe Luke Shaw as understudy to Gibbs whos form can be erratic and is injury prone.
In the centre of the park we have Arteta and Wilshere playing the deep roles with Coquelin and Diaby(if fit) in reserve. Wenger doesn’t seem to trust Coquelin too much as Arteta has been over-played and this is a worry. Last season we only won 1 game, our last of the season, with Arteta injured. He must be near the limit having played almost every game this season. We can’t rely on Diaby fitness too much, Diaby is great when fit but not reliable to be fit. We could do with another body in the centre of the park.
Attacking midfield we look set with Rosicky’s return to fitness meaning he can rotate with Cazorla and Ramsey could fill in if needs be
Answer: Another body who could play in the deeper roles or attacking would be ideal I’m talking a Fellaini or Cabaye. If not one of those a defensive midfielder who is strong and with a bit more pace then Arteta.
With Walcott potentially moving upfront this is tricky to analyse. Today he was suppose to be a RWF but often drifted centrally and we were lucky Swansea didn’t attack more down the flank. If Walcott is now a striker we are short as have Podolski and Chamberlain and then Rosicky could fill in if needs be. Wenger sees something in Ramsey as a winger but in reality he isn’t. I doubt Wenger would but if we called back Miyiachi he would be useful for the last 6 months of the season.
Answer: If walcott is to move central we could do with another body outwide, whether this be Lopez/Villa who can also play upfront who knows.
Again tricky to call as Walcott is finishing his transition to striker but we have one big hold up player in Giroud and a small nippy striker who looks to get behind in Walcott. Ideally we need another striker even if Walcott does move central, teams have to score to win matches so you need plenty of players who can do that in your squad as if one is one form and another injured we are left with no-one at the moment. Podolski can fill in if needed but were already short outwide.
Answer: Again Lopez/Villa would be ideal.
Overall: A couple of injuries to key players in positions with little cover such as Winger,Striker, CB, LB or DM could see Arsenal stretched. It would be good as I mentioned to sign versatile players who can plug gaps well. Otherwise I think we will either end up playing same 11 most games and drop points due to them performing below expected as tired or be caught out when key players get injured like when Santos filled in against Schalke. As ever like to hear your viewpoint, for more Arsenal news follow me @ArsenalMez