Arsenal fans may be hoping for France to go out the Euros soon. They have detestable players in Nasri and Ribery, Koscielny has been kept on the bench despite Mexes’ poor performances and Sagna is obviously unavailable through injury. In addition, the return of the France squad could, according to rumours, speed up the signings of both Olivier Giroud and Yann M’Vila. Personally, I’d like France to get to the final because I have a bet on it. But with Spain in the quarters, they aren’t favourites. Spain aren’t the same force they were four years ago though, so perhaps France has a chance.
Arsenal has had a lot of attacking players at the Euros; Bendtner, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Podolski, van Persie, Arshavin, Walcott, and even Rosicky (if you count him as an attacking player). In fact, Arsenal has a lot of attacking players in the squad. If we include those returning from loan, you can see that the wealth of talent is quite impressive:
- van Persie
We can also add Ryo Miyaichi and Joel Campbell who are both returning from loan spells, but are yet to feature for the first team officially. So this really begs the question – do we need Olivier Giroud?
Arsenal plays a 4-3-3 system at the moment, which suits our squad of many central midfielders and plenty of wide players, but fewer proper right and left midfielders. Then again, Wenger created the Invincibles with Pires and Ljungberg on the right and left of a four-man midfield. Pires cut inside a lot because he seemed to prefer a central attacking position, and Ljungberg was a winger, hence his marauding runs upfield. I am sure that the current squad could switch back to a 4-4-2 if Wenger wanted to. This would allow Arsene to pick two strikers, which seems a reasonable aim given the number of centre-forwards we have. This will be especially helpful if we get Giroud – could you imagine Giroud playing alongside van Persie? It sounds great!
But looking at that list of attackers, we may not actually have that many of them come next season. Bendtner, Arshavin, Vela, Chamakh and Park are all very likely to be offloaded, and van Persie and Walcott’s futures remain uncertain given their contract situations. Looking at it that way, Wenger may be entitled to spend on attackers because we might not have many by the start of the campaign. If we were to lose all the “deadwood” strikers and van Persie, all that would be left is our wingers – Gervinho, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Walcott – and Podolski. When you look at it like that, the Giroud signing starts to make a lot of sense. Add to that the fact that Giroud is still quite young, French and a bargain, at it seems like a typical Wenger signing!
Many Arsenal fans, myself included, would love to see the return of the 4-4-2 next season, at least as another option alongside the 4-3-3. I definitely think Walcott, Gervinho and Oxlade-Chamberlain could play on the side of the midfield, especially if Wenger deploys two deeper central midfielders – perhaps Arteta and M’Vila (another potential signing)? That could leave our team looking something like this:
How does that team compare to this season’s side, which finished third but was a long way off a chance of silverware? Although it’s certainly not an upgrade, it’s perhaps more balanced. With two strikers, we have more sources of goals. If there was any negative to van Persie’s scoring record last year, it was that we relied on him too much. Even Wenger said so.
This potential team would obviously be a lot better if we could keep hold of van Persie, or get a more defensive-minded left-back, or a proper left midfielder (although I think Gervinho will have a pretty good season next year). But it isn’t a bad team. What do you think? Could we challenge for the title? Could we challenge for silverware?