As far as I’m concerned Cech is an Arsenal player – so I won’t be entertaining any comments that I’m jumping the gun. What I feel needs commenting on, is below.
The formation and team I’ve detailed below is, worryingly, a lot of Arsenal fan’s preferred team, minus any potential signings that will improve what I have selected. These two points I’ve made tie in nicely, if the fans want superstar players – but want a majority of the team I’ve detailed here – what formation and style can we expect to see of Arsenal next year?
If Arsenal sign Vidal, as many rumours are circulating at the time of writing this, where does he fit in? 19 appearances for Juventus in the centre of midfield this year shows he’ll take one of Cazorla’s or Ramsey’s place in the team. This presents a few problems. If he takes Cazorla’s place, that’s quite of bit of Arsenal’s ball-retention gone with the small Spaniard, add into the fact that Santi played 15 times in the DM position that Vidal didn’t play in at all last season (according to Whoscored.com at least) and you’ve just spent £20-30million on a 28 year old attack-minded midfielder just to play him deep. That’s not to say however Vidal can’t defend, he’s just used to pressing and defending much higher – which is an entire different ballgame to sitting in front of the back four like Cazorla has done for a large part of this year.
If he takes Ramsey’s spot, then you’re faced with another dilemma, the obvious ones spring to mind, like not allowing Ramsey his favourite position and stunting his development, potentially into a player who shares a style and characteristics much like the Chilean international. If you compare the following league-only, offensive statistics for the two players as well, you’re met with an interesting sight.
|League apps||Goals||Assists||Shots per game||Key Passes per game||Dribbles per game||Fouled per game|
So…what was that again about the world-class Vidal doing a Ramsey, better than the Welshman himself? I rest my case.
Now, moving onto the big wish of a lot of Arsenal fans – a superstar forward to replace Giroud, who in my opinion is criminally underrated. Now, with Benzema never leaving Madrid, Jackson Martinez off to Spain – what other top-level striker is available for Arsenal to sign? Tevez? Nope, he’s off to Argentina. If we look past the stable of established stars who Arsenal can’t and won’t sign and look towards those who stepped into the limelight this year, and who have yet to move clubs, we see the following.
I’ve cheated myself by including Lacazette, because it’s already been confirmed by the Lyon president that the player won’t be leaving this summer. But him aside, looking at rest of the most prominent up and coming strikers, they don’t improve on the whole what Giroud brings to the team. Giroud is a link-man, don’t call him a target man because that does him a disservice. His importance to Arsenal stems from his ability to interplay little passes with the midfielders behind him and the winger/forwards to his left and right.
The comparison above shows his passing and possession-keeping proficiencies, why – when having a striker who can do that and allow his team-mates to flourish as a result – do Arsenal fans continue to call for a better version when there isn’t one? Barring signing the next Luis Suarez, Robert Lewandowski or Van Persie, there is no obvious, available upgrade on Giroud in world football at this time. It’s an unfortuante delusion most Arsenal fans have at the moment, that players like Benzema are available to Arsenal. The exceptionally serendipitous signings of Ozil and Sanchez have led the club’s fans into believing we can walk up to the best teams in the world and say “We’ll have X player please, here’s £30/40million”. No, as much financial firepower as Arsenal can now throw about, until that starts relating into regular, high-level trophies – players like Lewandowski and Benzema won’t even throw Arsenal a flirting glance, unless they’re being forcibly pushed out of the door by their club.
I’m not going to touch upon the defence, in which I include Coquelin and any defensive midfielder rumours. Why? Because with Coquelin’s emergence at the highest level this year, in the same vein as Bentaleb, Mason, Imbula and to a lesser extent Kondogbia and Veratti – Arsenal don’t need to replace him, with Flamini and Bielek behind there’s plenty of talent. Speaking about actual defenders, Bellerin’s emergence to compete with Debuchy for the right-back position means that Chambers can be the fourth centreback behind Koscienly, Mertesacker and Paulista – so there’s plenty of quality cover there. Left-back was something I used to be wary about, with Gibb’s injury record I was often concerned to see Monreal play, but in the latter-half of last season the Spaniard grew into statistically our best full-back last season, so as long as that path is continued I am happy with the options at left back.
If you disagree with anything I’ve covered, or said – feel free to tweet at @SamJCrawley and I’ll try my best to have a conversation amongst 140 characters.