January Shopping: Hunting a Gooner Goal Getter

A lil help, Arsene? - Shaun Botterill

Now Arsenal fans be honest, at 1-3 down against Villa on the opening day of the season you wouldn't have thought you would be winning the title race at the half way point. Yet with a 40m purchase in Mesut Ozil and the return of the under rated Mathieu Flamini the squad has added to its confidence and take us into the second half with a slender lead. A surprise then but Wenger has been given the time (a whole lot of it) to build his latest squad again showing the benefit of patience and faith. Can they kick on and finish the season a strong as last time? At this point I have my doubts. They seem a team almost ready to do so but not quite ready mentally or in squad strength, almost a season away but then this is no normal season is it.

Title experience

Often recent history has shown before winning a title a squad needs to experience a title race. The wild ups and downs, the battle of self doubt, the ability to win ugly and to win the biggest of games. Yes there are some title winners from other leagues but this is not a squad who have been through this before together.

Big match victory

In recent years the squad have tended to lose the big ones. This can develop the mental block in these fixtures and I think I have seen signs of this during the matches so far. At Old Trafford against a declining Manchester United the flair and aggressive attacking was missing. Although a draw would have been fair I don't recall them having a period of bossing the game more period of keeping Man U at arms length. Same again playing the bogey Chelsea side just before Christmas. Again Arsenal seemed content to take the draw. To be fair they did have a go at Manchester City, but I just feel this Arsenal team needs to beat one of those three in particular and beat them home and away.

Does Wenger have a Plan B or C?

Wenger seems to stick to his formation and style of play and changes to plan seem so rare. It works most of the time but in the games where it is failing you see him change the players but not the system of play. This is a very good Arsenal squad but its no double wining squad/invincible's yet, therefore alternative plans will be needed.

Squad depth

Well this is all about the lack of cover in two positions. The defence under Bould is one of the most consistent in the league. The keeper keeps improving although still feels a couple years away from his prime. The midfield is fantastic, Ozil, Aaron Ramsey Santi Cazorla, Flamini, Mikel Arteta, Abou Diaby, Jack Wilshere. But in two key positions they are short. In Theo Walcott they have only one winger in the squad at the level needed. When Theo is out the side lack pace and true wing play relying on the full backs to push further forward. Second at centre forward. Olivier Giroud has repaid Wenger's faith and patience (there are those words again) with a much improved second season and stats that rival many top forwards. Giroud is much more your all around big CF than the other options in the squad like Lukas Podolski, Nicklas Bendtner and, if you like, Theo. While there are better goal scoring players in that role, Giroud knits the Gunners' play together and Wenger knows it.

So while points 1, 2 and 3 may be debated by you Arsenal fans, I think point 4 will be agreeable and, as such, what do you do? Accepting the reality you are not going to get a player like Diego Costa in the window as the papers would have you believe nor can you get Lewandowski with Dortmund still in the CL (will he go Gunners or Chelsea or Munich in the summer I wonder?) you therefore have to find a forward who can cover Giroud with any injury/suspension and fit in to just give him a rest and keep him sharp. They want him to fit straight in then so I assume they want someone already or previously having played in the league. Or do they want something different?

There is early paper talk of Loic Remy, Costa (not happening) and, shockingly, ex-Spurs and Man U striker Dimitar Berbatov. Could a Spurs ex win the title for them?

As this is a fantasy site, what do we want from that view?

Over to you, what is the answer?


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