It’s not very often that I take time to write blog posts about EPL teams, but as someone who tries to watch and study top European coaches and clubs, one has to wonder what in the world Arsenal are doing.
They finished in 5th place last season, which would normally mean, for a top club, that they would need to improve their roster to be more competitive in the 2017-18 season with Liverpool (who just put a 4-0 beat down on Arsene’s squad this past weekend), Manchester United, Chelsea, Everton, and Manchester City all making moves to strengthen their squads.
The Gunners did sign Lacazette, who looked to be a good signing early in the season and in preseason, but then Arsene benches him against Liverpool insisting that the French International is “still in the adaption phase“, instead going with Danny Welbeck.
They do still have Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil.
There’s the good news, that’s about all I could come up with.
Over the past few seasons, Arsenal seemed to have a big void at the 6. There was a pretty good one available this past transfer window, and on top of it, he’s a French International… which seemed like a perfect fit for Arsne.
How Arsenal didn’t attempt to sign Blaise Matuidi still blows my mind, and it appears obvious thus far that Granit Xhaka isn’t even on the same planet as Matuidi, especially after his performance this past weekend against Liverpool.
So you sign Lacazette and bench him. Your best player and biggest star, Alexis Sanchez, looks ready to move on unless he sees the London team making some positive moves to strengthen their squad, so what do they do? Today they sell Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain TO THE SAME TEAM WHO BEAT THEM 4-0 THIS PAST WEEKEND!
And on top of it all, against Liverpool they lined up with 3/5 in the back, with three CB’s….so if you’re going to play with 3 CB’s, you probably need CB’s, right? They sold Gabriel after only a short amount of time, are reportedly trying to move Mustafi, with no reported news that they’re making these moves in order to bring in a new signing to upgrade that position. So now your CB’s are:
- Mustafi- who is rumored to be on the move
- Per Mertesacker, who made one appearance last season, an FA Cup match.
- Callum Chambers, who wouldn’t start at CB for many teams in EPL and is more of a “tweener”.
- Sead Kolasinac, who wasn’t one of the 3 first-choice CB’s this past weekend after Arsene sang his praises all summer.
In terms of outside/wing backs, Oxlade-Chamberlain actually started at RB towards the end of last season, with Hector Bellerin being benched. So if you’re Arsene Wenger and you think to yourself “gee, I had to convert a wing player to RB last season”, you would automatically assume that they would try to sign a new RB for this season, right? WRONG. Arsenal currently have TWO outside backs on their roster: Bellerin, and Nacho Monreal, with Callum Chambers apparently the second choice for both positions. If an injury occurs to either player, it could get very interesting. Don’t forget, Arsenal have to play in Europa League this season, along with FA Cup, EPL, and EFL Cup.
It’s baffling enough when Arsenal could have started in a 4-3-3 with Lacazette, Sanchez, and Giroud as the front 3, and Ozil at the 10. Not many teams in the world could compete with Sanchez and Lacazette’s speed on the wings and Ozil’s creativity, but they line up in a 3-4-3 and Liverpool blow them out of the water.
Sorry Arsenal fans. I was rooting for an exciting, attacking Arsene Wenger team which links up, strings passes, attacks you on the wings and comes at opposing teams at 100mph, but after this past weekend, coupled with the transfer moves they have made, and Arsene’s head-scratching recent decisions, it’s hard to believe that they will finish in the top 4 this season.