Saturday, 5 March 2011

Can Arsenal be successful?

It has become apparent over the last few seasons that, while Arsenal possess great talent and skill, they lack a certain grittiness that can help them win crucial games. They also suffer from defensive and physical frailty. Too often are they out-battled in the important games and too often are they second to the ball or not 100% committed to a challenge.

When they are playing at their best, you could argue that there is no better team to watch in the world, apart from possibly Barcelona. Arsene Wenger has plenty of attacking talent at the club with players such as Walcott, Nasri, Van Persie, Arshavin, Rosicky, Chamakh and, although I'm loathe to say it...Niklas Bendtner. However, he doesn't have any really solid defensive players apart from Thomas Vermaelen who has been injured for a while now.

Players such as Kieran Gibbs, Gael Clichy, Sebastien Squillaci and Laurent Koscielny would not get into the Man Utd, Chelsea or Man City squads because they cannot defend properly. A point which I believe is well supported by Arsenal's defensive performance in last weekend's Carling Cup final.

Arsene Wenger is a great manager and he has crafted a very good squad at Arsenal without spending a lot of money, unlike his rivals. The fact that the squad's average age is only 23 is quite unbelievable as well. However, there is an argument that perhaps Wenger should spend a bit of money to bring in one or two big, experienced defenders and defensive midfielders. With some strength down the spine of the team Arsenal would be much better placed to challenge properly for titles and cups.

Tony Adams
There is evidence to prove that fact as well. Remember the Arsenal of the late 90s and early 00s? With Tony Adams' and Martin Keown's uncompromising attitude at the back along with Patrick Viera's physical approach in midfield, few teams were able to match Arsenal's effort over 90 minutes and they were certainly never kicked around like they are now. Put it this way, if Arsenal still had Martin Keown and Tony Adams playing at centre-back, Birmingham would not have scored the two goals they got in the Carling Cup Final. Arsenal could do with a decent goalkeeper too, although I have to admit Szczesny looks OK.

Arsenal's season suffered another minor setback today. With one game in hand over Manchester United, three points against Sunderland would have put Arsenal to within one point of the league leaders. Instead Arsenal could only manage a tame 0-0 draw.

What do you think Wenger should do? Stick to the formula and hope his team finds some fight? Or spend some money and bring in a couple of players who can provide the physical backbone this team desperately needs?

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