I love our spine: it is full of character, experience, ‘position experts’, and it oozes quality throughout. One Pole, two Germans, and two Frenchies; and we have some fine Spanish, German and English talents to add to it and support it.
Arsenal might be building a team around a British core in the mid to long term, but for the foreseeable future the core has not a single Brit in it. Jack and Rambo might well play themselves into the core sooner or later, and especially the Welshman has made a very impressive start to the season, but for now the spine is non-British.
You could argue that the wider spine should be taken into account, as we play with two CBs and two deeper laying midfielders who all play centrally. But for the sake of this discussion I would rather look at our narrow spine of Szczesny, Mertesacker, Flamini, Ozil and Giroud.
There are three questions that come to my mind when looking at our spine:
- Can we improve further on it?
- How will we cope with injuries?
- Is it the spine of an imminent champion?
I welcome your views on this today, and this post is just a means for discussion/sharing of views.
In order to give the debate some added substance, I will quickly give you my views on the above questions.
Can we improve further on the spine?
Yes we can to some extent. We could get a more experienced and established goal keeper as Wojciech is not yet the finished article; and maybe there is a CB out there who has the BFG’s ability to organise the defence and read the game as well as he does, but is faster and more agile than the German giant. But despite his lack of speed and ‘turn-ability’, I love the guy and it would be hard to find somebody who would be a like for like improvement in all the aspects he brings to our team.
Other than that, I reckon Flamini and Ozil are totally cut for our spine, and the same goes for Giroud who plays the ‘modern’ holding striker role sublimely for us this season.
How will we cope with injuries?
That is the big question, isn’t it?
For Szczesny we have two options and I rather would have an experienced PL goal keeper as our nr.2, although we still have to see Viviano in action and he might well be the bee’s knees.
For Mertesacker we have Sagna, who has been very good in the CB role when played there recently. But Sagna is also our nr.1 RB and is played constantly by Arsene and in the French national team. However, if the BFG is injured I reckon Sagna is a more than decent replacement.
For Flamini we have Arteta. It is not a like for like replacement as Flamini is better at the physical part of midfield defending, but Arteta is experienced and can play well in the deepest midfield position. In an ideal world, though, we would strengthen in this area as soon as possible. Our main transfer priority this winter?
For Ozil we have Jack, Rosicky, Santi and Rambo. Enough said.
For Giroud we have Bendtner and Sanogo and maybe Akpom. The Dane did not take his opportunity on Tuesday and it looks like closed curtains for him now. Sanogo could become a revelation but we just have not seen him play yet, and Akpom is one for the future.
Of course, we also have Theo and Pod who could play centrally but neither of them are capable of playing the specialist holding striker role anywhere near as well as the Big Ferocious Frenchman. I reckon a long term injury to him is our biggest potential weakness in the spine; if there’s one thing we have learned from our defeat against the Chavs, it’s this…
Is it the spine of an imminent champion?
It all depends on fitness and being able to play together as much as possible, especially during the big games. It is also important that Szczesny turns into a more consistent ‘safe pair of hands’ this season. So with a bit of luck, we could well have the spine of a champion in waiting this season.
But what do you think, fine fellow Gooners? And who would be your one purchase to further strengthen the spine?
Written by: TotalArsenal.