Ahead of Arsenal‘s North London clash against Tottenham today, we take a look at the London club’s season so far.
Arsenal would like to think that they have been title challengers for the last few years and have the financial power to win the Premier League (evidenced by their £200 million in cash reserves). After signing Petr Cech in the summer, the optimism of Arsenal fans went through the roof, they gained a world class keeper, something they had been lacking since Jens Lehmann. As for the rest of their squad, they have some world class talent already in the likes of Mesut Özil, who has 18 assists and 7 goals this season already. The Chilean Alexis Sanchez, is also a star of the team, who’s energy and quality brings out the best in the other Arsenal players. Moreover, they have uncovered a gem in Francis Coquelin who has proved himself to be a excellent holding midfielder and gives vital protection to the back four. Players such as; Laurent Koscielny, Nacho Monreal, Hector Bellerin and Gabriel have helped Arsenal to have the third best defensive record in the league, having only conceded 28 goals in 28 games. This gives this Arsenal team a great chance to lift the Premier League for the first time in 12 years since the team of ‘Invincibles’.
When the Gunners signed Petr Cech, Arsenal fans were expecting more big signings to soon follow but once again, they were left disappointed. They seem to always be lacking a world class striker and Arsene Wenger didn’t sign anyone, stating that there wasn’t ‘anyone available‘ who is good enough or willing to be sold. He has kept faith with Olivier Giroud, who despite scoring twelve goals this season, hasn’t scored in ten games. To win the Premier League, you need a consistent striker. You need a world class striker.
When Manchester United won the league in 2012/13, they had van Persie – with 26 goals (not the nicest memory for Arsenal fans); Man City in 2014 had (and still have) Sergio Aguero – who averages just under 20 goals a season; last season, Chelsea had Diego Costa who scored 20 goals when they won the title. During all those seasons, Giroud has an average of just 13 goals a season. Whilst this is a ‘good‘ return, Arsenal need a ‘great‘ return to win the league. They have the money to go and get one, which means you have to look at the manager. He states that there isn’t anyone available who is good enough. Edinson Cavani was supposedly a target for Arsenal and was playing second fiddle to Ibrahimovic, therefore there would have been an opportunity to sign him.
However, Wenger/the club reportedly didn’t want to pay £50 million for a 28 year old. Wenger is still stuck in past habits of investing in young player development rather than the finished article on a short term basis.
Robin van Persie was bought by Manchester United and arguably, won them the league in 2012/13 and a year after that, was sold to Fenerbahce. This unwillingness/stubborness to invest in a world class, already developed player shows Wenger is looking to ‘the future’ rather than looking to win now. With Wenger being 66 years old, he hasn’t got many years left and logically should be looking to achieve success now.
Injuries have also been a consistent part of Arsenal’s problems with players such as Coquelin, Welbeck and Sanchez having only just returned from lengthy spells on the sidelines and Wilshere still out. This could be a hindrance to their title challenge this season and might have already cost them valuable points this season.
Arsenal can still win the league, but the have to beat Spurs today. If they do, they’ll be level on points with Tottenham and will put themselves in a great position to catch Leicester. If they lose, they’re six points off Spurs and a potential nine behind Leicester.