It’s been a scrappy week for Arsenal, after scraping 1 point out of a possible 6 in the league, it seems as though we’re beginning to falter. On the face of things, our team does look like its beginning to break down, but that’s not the case. After these minor blips in form, our squad only grows stronger. The night is always darkest before the dawn, and it seems as though it’s morning already.
Jack Wilshere wasn’t exactly a shining light in his return to football against the West Brom U-21s, but it’s his appearance that counts. We’re not struggling for players in the middle of the park at the moment, so Jack can take his time in finding his stride. There are greater problems in the squad right now, ones that can’t be papered over.
Take our central pairing for example; I’m not too sure Arsène or Steve Bould have it all figured out. Yesterday, I explained why Mertesacker is essentially an automatic starter, but that leaves us with one brilliant centre back on the bench, and that can be the captain at times. It makes no sense to have a centre back as captain, because they’ll always be rotating. I’d much rather have someone like Arteta, Cazorla or Sagna captain the side, who are almost always guaranteed starters when fit.
Moving on from our toils and snares at the back, we’re now faced with a selection headache for the front three of our attack. Podolski has the left wing locked down at the moment, but for how long? With his anonymous performance against Chelsea, it wouldn’t take much more to start mentioning Oxlade Chamberlain and Gervinho to take his place temporarily. Then, we’ve got Giroud and Gervinho taking turns as centre forwards, and neither seem to have nailed down their duties correctly. Gervinho is thought of as a false 9, whereas Giroud is the target man. The problem is, it seems as though Giroud and Gervinho want to play each others’ roles at times. It makes for a confusing and sometimes ineffective attacking spearhead, one that needs to be sorted out ASAP.
With Diaby injured for three weeks, we’ll be counting on Francis Coquelin and possibly Nico Yennaris to fill the hole left by our fantastic Frenchman. While neither of the aforementioned youth players possess the same amount of flair at the moment, they certainly don’t lack the talent to achieve what Diaby does in a match. In Abou’s absence, we should see a tighter midfield, one that is defensively responsible, but slightly offensively blunt. It translates to keeping more of the ball, but creating fewer chances.
Any way you slice it, Arsène knows these next few weeks won’t be easy, but with the return of key players and the determination of those who have been here since the beginning of the season, things are looking up.