There is no doubt that this season, Arsenal have been outstanding. It is a testament to the performances of the squad to date, and most of the playing staff have been excellent this season. We have Szczesny who has been, for me, the best goalkeeper in the Premier League, and Mertesacker and Koscielny who have been outstanding in central defence. Gibbs has been excellent, as has Monreal when he’s been called upon. Sagna is firmly established as one of the most solid right-backs in the league, and Carl Jenkinson has done well when he’s been asked to come in. The young right-back still has a lot to learn but isn’t playing as badly as people have been making out.
In midfield, we have such a great range of options. In the “defensive midfield” position, we have Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini, both accomplished professionals and players, who always give 110% and lead by example. In their own ways, they are leaders on the pitch.
In the more attacking roles, we have Jack Wilshere, Tomas Rosicky, Aaron Ramsey, Santi Cazorla and Mesut Özil, as well as About Diaby and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain when they return from injury.
Up front we are relying heavily on Olivier Giroud. Lukas Podolski is still out injured but like Theo, is more suited to coming in from the wide positions.
Despite our perceived strength and depth this season, recent performances have suggested that Arsenal are getting tired. That is not a criticism, but a reflection on our success this season and the quality of opponent we’ve had to face so far. Unlike Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City, Liverpool and Tottenham, we’ve had to face teams of the calibre of Borussia Dortmund, Napoli and Marseille in Europe. We’ve also had to play Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham in the domestic competitions already – and have Manchester City and Chelsea again in the coming weeks.
And if that wasn’t hard enough, then our “reward” for amazingly getting out of the “Group of Death” in the Champions League is to face one of Real Madrid, Barcelona, Athletico Madrid, Bayern Munich or Paris Saint Germain.
So as the squad is getting stretched and the games are coming thick and fast, the difficulty of the matches is getting harder as well. And with the level of performance dropping in recent weeks, and Christmas just around the corner, I think it is vital that Arsene dips into the January transfer window and strengthens the squad.
It doesn’t have to be a blockbuster signing, or a signing that costs £50 million. We saw when Jose Antonio Reyes arrived in the January of 2004, that an injection of quality can get us over the line. Mesut Özil did it for us in the summer, and the fact is we will need it this January.
If we finish the 2013-2014 campaign something like 5 points off the top after a lethargic finish to the season, then we really will be kicking ourselves for not spending in the transfer window.
So the big question is who do we buy?
With Theo Walcott back and Lukas Podolski on the way back, people will say the striker position is well-catered for but I disagree. I’d class them more as “wingers” and I don’t think they’re capable of playing the lone striker role for any real amount of time. They could probably fill in for 4 or 5 games but if Giroud gets injured then we’d have real problems.
So for me, a decent striker would be top of the list in January. They don’t have to be the quality of Luis Suarez for instance, but someone decent. Nicklas Bendtner is not in that category and is not the man we should depend on if Giroud is unavailable. And the fact of the matter is, Giroud looks tired and if we want to get the best out of him for the remainder of the season, then he needs to be rested every few weeks. He is a player that gives 110% every single game and at this rate he is going to be out of gas by Christmas.
So what do you think? Do you agree that we’re running out of steam and need reinforcements in January?
Or do you think we’re fine as we are? Leave your comments below.