Once again we are coming off a victorious weekend where we brushed aside a strong side while some of our rivals dropped points. Ok, brushed is too harsh a word because as predicted Soton proved to be difficult to break down and it took 2 mistakes from them to gift us the points. I am not complaining, though. Anyway, enough has been said about the game.
Tomorrow we play a Marseille side who even at their very best would struggle against us let alone the injury ravaged side they have currently. They have Gignac, Payet, Ayew, Valbuena and N’koulou all out injured. It was as if we went into a game without Koscielny, Giroud, Ramsey, Mertesacker and Ozil. Needless to say, I expect us to bag all three points. We can’t underestimate them or get complacent, though.
Its good news for us as Lukas Podolski is back in full training and is expected to play in a few weeks, which brings me to the subject matter of this article. Our team is currently bursting at the seams with talent and it’s only going to get better once Poldi and the Ox return. Once everyone is fit and firing, Arsene will have one of the biggest selection headaches in recent history.
If you look at teams such as city and Chelsea, they have massive squads but you find that there is a bit of a gap in class between the starters and subs. I mean at Chelsea save for the Juan Mata fiasco, the first-11 virtually picks itself. Even at city it’s the same thing. Dzeko is good but nowhere as good as Aguero. But here it’s going to be very different. For example once everyone is fit and in form, do you drop Wilshere for Walcott? Does Podolski replace Santi? How will the team line up?
You have a pretty established back 4 but that is where certainty comes to an end. Do you play a double pivot of Flamteta? If so what happens to Ramsey, Walcott and Wilshere? If not, which of the 2 will you drop considering their form? Considering that an in form Podolski is a massive goal threat, do you drop Cazorla or Ozil? If not how will you squeeze them in and what happens to Walcott and Wilshere?
We all know that when Wilshere hits top form, he renders himself undroppable so what happens then? Ramsey has cemented his spot in the middle and Theo is the best winger we have so what then? Cazorla was our best player by a mile last season and Ozil is…well Ozil, so how do you work this team ensuring you keep everyone in top form and happy? Note that to sustain a players form, you have to play them.
Also what does this abundance in class mean for the form of the team? I mean rotation MUST be employed but too much rotation will disrupt our momentum, so how does the boss strike the balance between giving everyone game time but at the same time ensuring the whole mechanism of the team keeps running? And I still feel that Giroud needs a world class striker helping him, and so does Wenger, despite his recent comments, so we have a real conundrum on our hands.
There is also the small fact that we are a team based on development so players like the Ox and Gnabry must also find game time one way or another making this a very very interesting situation on our hands. Ultimately I think it bodes well for the team but we risk losing some players, especially this being a world cup year if a balance can’t be struck. There’s already been murmurs about Monreal and Vermaelen leaving and it would be a massive shame if either of them left.
To conclude, I have to say that no one knew how to rotate a team like Sir Alex did. At the end of a season, every player felt they had contributed to the success of the team. Here though, I feel like Monreal deserves a bit more game time. When it comes to rotation Wenger has his well documented shortcomings. However I trust him to find a solution based on his experience at the top level. I am becoming more and more certain that we will end our barren run this season.
Written by: Marcus