Monday, 28 October 2013

Factors that could derail our title challenge - Part 1

This seems like an ideal time to post this. With a set of important fixtures coming up that may define our season (A knockout game against Chelsea, a crucial Champions League qualification game and two Premier League games with the best in England), we need to watch out for the factors that might result in a poor run - or indeed, put our title hopes and Champions League qualification hopes in jeopardy. It is essential that we dodge these problems so that we can get through these challenging four games with a positive feeling.

Without further ado, here are the factors - according to me - that might end our good run of form: 

Squad depth:

It is no secret that we don't have the largest squad in the world. While our midfield is packed with quality and quantity, our defence and attack could do with some shoring up. We're missing a center back, due to letting go of Squillaci, Djourou and Miquel, and bringing in no one. It is a ridiculous situation to be in for a club like Arsenal, and I still can't believe how little foresight Wenger showed to not keep at least one of the above mentioned 3 center backs for backup.

Elsewhere, we're missing a world class striker, one who is a different type from Giroud. I like Giroud, but what is frustrating for me is that if he gets injured (which is likely), we need to rely on an Arsenal reject in the form of Nicklas Bendtner to perform. Might I suggest getting Fernando Torres, because he is a significantly different type of player than Ollie, and will possibly be available on the cheap?

Loss of key players:

We have only one winger - Santi Cazorla, who isn't even a natural winger - to rely on, due to Podolski, Walcott and the Ox being out for long term. This problem we have of not having proper width was evident in the 2-1 loss against Dortmund, where we kept losing the ball in the center. All 3 of them will be most definitely out for the coming 4 games, which might be a factor in not getting the right results.

It's not just them. Flamini, one of our most important players, suffered a groin injury in the Crystal Palace game. While Wenger hasn't yet mentioned how long he will be out for, a groin injury is always a long term one, which doesn't bode well for the club. In the last three games Flamini missed (against Norwich, Dortmund and Palace), this Arsenal side struggled all around, which shows how important he is. And with Mikel Arteta missing the Chelsea game, we might have a problem selecting our midfield.

Reliance on key players:

Let's face it, the Arsenal of recent times have always had a tendency to rely on our key players. 3 years ago it was Fabregas, Nasri and van Persie. 2 years ago it was van Persie and Alex Song. Last year it was Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere. This year the scope seems to have widened a little bit, where we rely on Flamini, Ramsey, Ozil and Giroud to produce the goods. According to my opinion, none of them seem set to start against Chelsea, which might make that game a tough test. 

Lack of leadership:

With Flamini injured and Arteta sent off, there is a lack of leadership in this team. The only players I can think of apart from Flamini and Arteta to lead the side are Bacary Sagna and maybe Jack. That itself shows that this Arsenal team needs more leaders to guide the team to victory.

Right, that's it for Part 1, I'll publish Part 2 later in the day. Time for some FIFA now.

-Santi (Follow me on twitter: @ArsenalBlogz )