Looking at the pre-season games, there are quite a few positives about the current squad but also feel that there are still a few worries as well.
Obviously I was as pleased as all the other Arsenal fans to have won both of the pre-season tournaments and it was very noticeable that,to quote Wenger -“We have built up our belief and confidence. There is a great solidarity in the squad now.”- which I am sure is due to,by some measure, the transfers of Henry and Ljungberg out of the club and the adverse effects they had on the younger members of squad last year.
However, although the squad is around 25 first team players (which includes players of limited first team experience like Traore, Walcott, Bendtner, Song, Denilson and the 3 goalkeepers), I still feel that we need at least 2 more experienced transfers to add to the squad to ensure that we have enough players to cover us for all competitions in the forthcoming seasion – bearing in mind that 3 players could be missing for the African tournament early next year – which is, as we know only too well from last seasons experience a crucial time in the various domestic and european competitions.
Hopefully, Wenger has something in the pipeline regarding more transfers but now we are into August, time is running out and I am getting a little bit anxious. Regardless of any money that has been made available to Wenger by the board for transfers,we are, by my reckoning at least £9 million up on the various transfer deals that have already taken place and we have finally got rid of that irritating tosser Reyes at last.
But compared with last year’s squad, we are still 2 players short. I still feel that we are short up front – Adebayor is already out with a groin injury before the season has even started – Van Persie looks in great form but will he be fit for next weekend after that terrible tackle from that Ajax w–krer who surely would have been red-carded if the match had not been a “friendly”. That leaves Bendtner, Da Silva and Walcott as our only recognised strikers. Da Silva looks very promising and has already scored his first competive goal but even Henry needed some time to get used to the Premiership in his first season. Wenger has admitted that Bendtner needs a lot more experience and Walcott is a long way off from being the finished article and is not at the moment physically strong enough to cope with playing up front in our very physical league.
Eboue looks as though he could be the answer on the right wing but who covers Clichy (who looks great for the forthcoming season) when he comes forward on those penetrating runs – Rosicky or Hleb? Diaby (who I understand is injured at the moment) and Denilson can cover for Fabregas but we have very poor cover for Gilberto in Song and Flamini (really cannot understand why both of these players have not been shipped out as was not – and never have been – impressed by either one of them). A strong physical player to cover Gilberto would be very welcome and you need guys like this in the Premiership. The centre of the defence – even the first choice players -still does not look right and the zonal system is not working very well still at set pieces and corners.
Attacking – players are not being picked up sufficiently when they come forward in numbers. A lot more work is required in training to tighten things up. Sagna will definitely help us though and I am sure will get even better. Your thoughts?