Is it Arsenal’s time to shine this season?

After an anticlimactic 2008-09 season which saw us fall short in the Champions League Semi-Final, F.A Cup Semi-Final, Finished 4th in the Premier League and compile a catalogue of long-term injuries to our most talented and most important players such as Almunia, Gallas, Clichy, Rosicky, Fabregas, Diaby, Eduardo, Van Persie and Walcott, the list is endless. Now these players are back fighting fit with young hot-shot Jack Wilshere fighting for a first team place and performing well there is no reason for why we can’t challenge for silverware this season.

Let’s start with our Goalkeepers, Manuel Almunia and Lukasz Fabianski. Its well documented that we have yet to find a long-term replacement for David Seaman despite the heroics and calamities of Jens Lehmann. There’s always been questions in the press on whether Manuel Almunia has the ability to be Arsenal’s number one but however they do forget that the defence infront of him flatters to decieve more times than one. It was clear to all who saw the Champions League Semi-Final 1st Leg at Old Trafford that Manuel Almunia kept us in the tie with a succesion of world class saves that any top class Goalkeeper (which I think Almunia is) would have been proud of. Even though we were comprehensively beaten and humiliated in the 2nd leg at the Emirates, Almunia proved his class and showed us Arsenal supporters why he is a certainty to keep that number one shirt with untollable ease for the near future. Now lets talk about the young Polish Goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski. During his short spell at Arsenal he has mostly appeared in Cup matches and meaningless Champions League and Premier League games where he has showed clear potential and clear signs of being at the moment a very roar talent. He showed glimpses of class last season including the League Cup Fourth Round tie at home to Wigan where he made a superlative double-save to deny Wigan of ganing a consolation in the dying moments of the game despite of us being 3-0 up. This showed his undoubted ability but like all players he needs time to improve and whilst Manuel occupies the number one shirt, Lucasz will improve and possibly could he be our future number one?

Our defence is the area of the pitch which has been up for scrutiny ever since the famous back five packed in a few years ago, so its always going to be difficult to replace them. However I believe that individually we have brilliant defenders but as we all know football is a team game and not for individuals. Try and tell Manchester City that. At left-back we have Gael Clichy and an outstanding understudy in Kieran Gibbs which I think is the best left-back pairing in the country by far. At centre-back we have the controversial William Gallas who I think is brilliant despite of his antics at St Andrews a few years ago, he is still in my opinion one of the best defenders in the league. For his defensive partner I in my opinion there are only two options. They are our new summer signing Thomas Vermaelen who I am sure most Arsenal supporters havent been able to see a lot of. At Ajax before he left he was their club captain which shows clear signs of being a leader at the back. If this 23 year-old Belgian isnt up to the Premier League he will for sure be found out sooner rather than later. The other option for centre half is a player more familiar to us Gooners is 22 year-old Swiss Johan Djourou. Arguably he has been under-used by Arsene Wenger but this season could really be his breakthrough year as a regular at the heart of the Arsenal defence. Everyone fantisises on why cant we have a rock solid centre-back pairing like Manchester United have with Vidic and Ferdinand. I firmly believe that we may have found our magic pair in Gallas and Djourou. Finally to complete our defence there is only one option at right-back. Its not a bad option in Bacary Sagna. He has been at the club now for a couple of seasons and is without question one of the best right-backs in europe. One question that could and should be asked of him is his defensive qualities. His attacking qualities are undoubted but a defender should be able to, by name defend. Overall Bacary is solid with some defensive frailities to ponder over but overall he is a top class right back.

Onto our midfield which is full of class in each position and if possible a little bit too many players. Our best midfield four would be Rosicky operating on the left hand side, Fabregas and Nasri when he has recovered from his broken fibula in the centre with the pure class of Andrey Arshavin on the right whilst drifting into the centre. Now of course whilst Nasri is recovering he will need a replacement which without a doubt will be Arsene Wenger’s love child Denilson. In my opinion all Denilson does is pass the ball backwards and sideways without doing anything significant or important in any match. We have young welshman Aaron Ramsey who can perform much better in the centre of midfield. In addition we also have almost the forgotten man in the Arsenal squad in the ‘so called’ modern day replacement for Patrick Vieira called Abou Diaby who is more than capable of performing well in the big matches. Talking of the big man there have been rumours esculating about him possibly returning not only as a player but in a coaching role aswell. Of course people will say and have been saying that he has lost his legs and will he be able to last the pace of the Premier League week in and week out again. Just imagine the psycological advantage we will have on teams even before the first whistle is is blown. Results like 2-1 away to Stoke and 4-4 at home to that mob down the road just wouldn’t happen with him anchoring our midfield. It has to be the best decision for everyone concerned that he returns to assist with the young promising players and of course battle it and fight for Arsenal’s cause for winning the Premier League this season.

Now lets get onto our strikers for this upcoming season. I personally believe that our front two strike force should be the flying Dutchman Robin Van Persie and the clinical Croatian Eduardo. Yes of course you can argue that there isnt bucket loads of pace in that front two, however its not all about pace as I am sure Theo Walcott will tell you. Technically these two are one of the best pairings in the league. Unfortunately in the past few seasons Eduardo and Van Persie have been plagued by injuries however for those who saw Eduardo’s clinical finish against Rangers on Sunday, pre-season friendly or not can clearly see that this is only a sample of what he can do to benefit this great club of ours in the future. Robin aswell has flashes of great performances and great goals but needs to ensure that they are consistent performances and not one in five spurs of brilliance. Lets not forget that on the bench we have Nicklas Bendtner who is more than capable of scoring goals. Last season as a bit part player he managed to score 15 goals. He used to get a mixed reaction from 60,000 quiet souls that enter the Emirates each week, furthermore now that Emmanuel Adebayor has left Bendtner will have the full support and backing from 100% of the Arsenal fans. Not to forget that young Mexican Carlos Vela is improving all of the time there should be no reason to have to strengthen that position because hopefully Theo Walcott will play in his most suited position which is of course down the centre.

One Response to “Is it Arsenal’s time to shine this season?”

  1. ElSmid Says:

    Unfortunately I think the best we can hope for is one of the domestic cups. With our young guns it might be time for them to lift the Carling Cup.

    Interestingly we’re 13/5 to win any of the 4 big trophies (http://selectabet.net/blog/2009/08/09/arsenal-season-bets/). Not bad odds if you ask me.

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