Does Arsene already have the two top quality players needed to win the PL?

Can he break through this season?
Can he break through this season?

I believe it was old Red Nose himself, Sir Alex Ferguson, the infamous ruler of MU from sunny Govan, who once said that a successful team has a base of six or seven top quality players, surrounded by a number of good players both within the first team and the wider squad. If we look back at his as well as Arsene’s most successful teams, this statement seems to make sense. For example, The Invincibles were not all equal in my opinion: Lehman, Campbell, Vieira, Gilberto, Bergkamp, Thierry and Pires were the super quality players and the rest was good to very good. It makes perfect sense that not all eleven are super quality as they are hard/expensive to get, and good, hardworking players are needed to provide the right platform for the super players to shine (and yet, especially over time, all players from the Invincibles team have rightly achieved mythical status anyway).

I have been thinking about our current squad in terms of those all-important six or seven top quality players, and I reckon we are close. Certainly, the right buy can make a difference this season, but I am less sure whether it is absolutely crucial. Regular readers know that I like Arsene to find the balance between buying and growing from within; and the squad is pretty strong as it is. And recently, Arsene has been finding the balance very well indeed.

So for me, the top quality players are: Cech, Koz, Ozil, Alexis and Giroud. Some will exclude Ollie from this, but, as I have explained many times, there is no better holding striker around other than possibly Lewandowski. Let me add another one: Santi. He deserves it after proving me wrong last season.

This leaves us one maybe two TQ players short, and we can either buy or further develop what we have. Next season, there is a real opportunity to turn two out of Le Coq, Rambo and Wilshere into these two missing TQ players. They all have the potential but they will have to achieve consistently high level performances to really get there. Le Coq, alongside the amazing Bellerin, was the surprise of the season and has made a huge step forward. But we need to see this again and again next season and this will be a very big one for him. Rambo needs to gain momentum, and once he is in the zone he gets better and better. He is probably closest of all three talents to make it through to the TQ players, but…. He will need to stay fit and focussed throughout a whole season to really get there. Jack is the most talented of them all but also the most vulnerable to injuries, which he will have to overcome to start establishing himself properly. The thought of two, or ideally all three, of them making the big step up next season is simply mouth-watering. Fitting them all in is of course a challenge, but it is possible; and I agree with 17HT that 4-5-1 is the most likely formation for next season.

I feel we do not score enough goals, though; we are too over-reliant on Alexis and Giroud to produce the goods. So the easy answer is to buy a 15-20 PL goals a season winger with ability to play through the middle as well. For example, let’s throw all our money at Bale and get the Gunners-loving ex-Spud to wear the mighty red and white. Or maybe Gotze or Isco are the answer…..

But another part of me says let us get those goals from within the team. More goals are required from the midfielders and Arsene will be keen to achieve it. This must be Arsene’s biggest dilemma. The team is very good both in terms of quality and depth, and there is great growth potential from within; but we need more goal threat. Will it come from Rambo, Ozil and Jack, or is Theo, or even the Ox or Danny-boy, ready to blow us all away? Or does Wenger need to buy a carbon copy of Alexis for the other wing to get us our  seventh (or, dream, dream, eighth) super quality player, which should really give us a chance to go all the way?

Over to you fine, fellow Gooners.

By TotalArsenal.

23 thoughts on “Does Arsene already have the two top quality players needed to win the PL?

  • Hi TA,

    New post, new insights.

    A TQ player imho is not bought, like Henry, Pires, and Vieira. They are all bought by Wenger as a nobody and look how Le Prof maximised their potential.

    Jack and Theo have long term injuries last season and are quite injury prone. If the new physios and backroom staff are able to reduce the downtime in them it will make them TQ players. Look at how they played in our last BPL game.

    The problem for Wenger now is to take a good look at his team sheet and decide whether to go for a new TQ player or stick to his young gunners philosophy.

    For me TQ players that move a team is most ideal, rather than a TQ player that does not help a team (cough cough Argentinian, cough cough Man***, too little time to gel). However we can just speculate but in the end Le Prof is the one that makes the decision.

    In my earlier post I mentioned about getting a new DM, but after that I mentioned about Gabriel taking that role as emergency DM.

    Its the same as your thoughts TA, to buy or not to buy that is the Qn..

    My answer is if we can, get one more. If not, we have the players to do it.


  • Rambo has reached that TQ level but he is still short of consistency and his defensive judgement regarding position to hold is still a problem… If he can improve on that he will be the best home grown TQ for a while.

    OX and Jack haven’t find their role. OX’s capability is quite known now. Its a matter of finding a spot for him and let him settle there. Jack is much more tricky.

    The team was capable to win EPL last year. They were capable even the year before. And even the season before, if they were on the lucky side which Arsenal have lacked for quite a while.

    The material is definitely there. The thing is always about pulling all the things together. Of course, adding more will certainly help. Since we want to keep the majority of the team and the younger players, Arsene has to let Diaby and Poldi go. May be even Ospina depending on how many kids He wants to promote.

    From the past years, he will certainly buy at least 3 players. He already got one for GK. There will be one in the 30 million to 50 million range. That is certainly the TQ mentioned above. Then there will be one more who has the quality and potential but not seen or used at the current club. To promote younger players, Arsene will have to release more players.

  • Hi all..
    How we measured a TQ players..??
    By his priced..?? Or by his contribution to the team..??
    If price is the answer.. Then Wilshere and Ramsey are a TQ.. No club will offer 40 millions for nothing..
    If contribution count then Ospina.. Walcott.. Cazorla and recently Coquelin are all TQ..
    So we had already more than 7 TQ players in our squad.. Hahaha..

    And I always have a big confidence that even without adding more TQ players.. This team will win a lot trophies.. If.. Yes if.. Wenger do the rotation properly and wisely.. Hehehe..

  • Mmmnmn? Still batting for Olly then, but I would not disagree that that core of 5 is spot on … for us, at least.
    Whereas three of them would definitely be found a home in any top European side. I query, only temporarily at least, on how we can judge Cech? He hardly played for Chelsea last season. He has a different style and a different back 4 in front of him since he last played regularly, in the2013/14 season …. and let’s not forget, shared the ‘Golden Glove’ with our very own Szczesney.
    The other of course is Giro. Not every team plays, or has need of a ‘holding striker’. Add to that, we don’t need a holding striker in every game, as shown by our last two games?

    I have been saying for a while now that Giro will be a far better player when he has someone of ‘presence’ in the middle to give defenders somebody else to mark. But, and it is a big BUT, it has to be the right type of player. Alexis is not quite the same as Aguera, Tevez, or Suarez. He could be, but may be it is the way we are using him that means he is wide of the central action, and when he turns inside he brings a defender with him? That does not create space, but rather adds to the congestion.
    The point I am making is that I do think we need that 15/20 goal striker that might also add another 5/10 goals to Giro’s goal tally.

    The other thing I think is a mistake is to get too hung up on formations. I quoted some manager on this a while back, where he said something along the lines of ‘ … it is not the formation that is important, rather it is the players that play in that format’
    Ozil is a classic example. Giving him a No 10 role this season, with not alter his play one jot. He will continue to move about wherever he finds space. All it does do is put a block on any other player taking that role, unless they are replacing him?

    i believe AW is trying to move to a situation where he can field contrasting styles, and some will include Giroud, some will not.

    However, the depth beyond Giroud is not that strong, given we are in a Transfer Window. Welbeck not going on tour because of injury, which leaves the as yet unsigned Walcott as the chief alternative? Whatever Walcott is playing at with his agent, it is not clever if they think they will string it out until September and then get the deal he wants? If he is not careful he could find himself sidelined by more competition coming in, or a strong showing from Akpom – probably a year too soon for him? – or Gnabry – who Ozil gave a huge nudge too in his top 11 recently?
    Either way, I feel if Walcott has not signed before we face Chelsea in the CS game, then he may follow Podolski through the exit door. It would be a shame because he has the potential to blossom over these coming seasons?

    Similarly with the Coquelin situation, beyond him, barring Hayden having a strong pre-season, or Gabriel as a part time DM, we are light for a starter. GP5 will be needed more as a CB the season progresses I think.

    Then finally the need to add width. Again there is the possibility that Wellington Silva could come good, but it is a big ask to step up a few levels and be commanding in such a short space of time. Gnabry or the Ox are more likely candidates, but both have yet to prove that in the heat of battle they can deliver at the very top level?

    The transfer rumours are not a reliable source for what might happen, even if a couple bring a little glimmer of hope every now and then. It is like the deck of cards has been scattered, and as each club looks at their ‘hand’, they are waiting for the player or players they want to become available. But in some cases they need others to make their move so the ‘cards ‘they discard become available ….

    Whatever happens, most would like to get their business done soon to give the new players time to train with their new colleagues. This weekend could be crucial?

  • Hi Ko Henry,

    Well said.

    TQ players are not just price and contribution. Its also leadership skills along with strong mentality to carry a team in all types of games.
    Think Alexis.


  • Gerry,

    Well written post.

    As per Ollie, if we bring in another striker, he might miss the chance to score as much goals. I may be wrong, but he gets affected very easily to whats going on around him.

    We should give Theo what he needs and get that contract sealed before another club comes.

  • TA

    I agree and disagree. Or more accurately.

    I agree on your core, and they all want the spine spots down the middle. I think the issue is 7 TQ, maybe even 6, and supporting cast. BUT, they all gotta play at once, or nearly all, especially vs bigger teams and CL etc.

    So, Cech, Koz, Santi, Alexis, Ozil, OG going up field. Great spine, Alexis wide and coming in. BFG supports that spine, and Coq completes it his past year.

    So, who to step up:

    Coq, ok, and fits spine spot still open next to Santi
    AR, yes, but not down middle he wants unless Santi goes wide. Someone’s gotta move
    JW, could also,step up, but also plays best where AR and Santi want to play.
    Theo, I’d add him, but again, sigh …. He COULD do it at wing/mid but doesn’t want to (?)

    IMO, we have 4, FOUR!!, who could do this, but at best two fit. What we need is wide players in support, maybe one TQ or a TQ DM…

    Suddenly, this Bale or DiMaria jabber seems, well, almost reasonable? 🙂

    What we need IMO, is one TQ. For certainty, I’d go on a DM as most important, but failing that and given AWs support of Mikel Arteta, and hope for a deeper JW or AR stepping a TQ wing would do equally well.

    So, we’ve the players and timing to step up. We’ve the spine now I think, tho Schneiderlin? But what we have amongst those who should/could step up, is congestion in wanting the middle.

    Themes my 2p — jgc

  • Chuba Akpom, Mikel Arteta, Hector Bellerin, Santi Cazorla, Petr Cech, Calum Chambers, Francis Coquelin, Dan Crowley, Mathieu Debuchy, Mathieu Flamini, Gabriel, Kieran Gibbs, Olivier Giroud, Alex Iwobi, Laurent Koscielny, Emiliano Martinez, Per Mertesacker, Nacho Monreal, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey, Jeff Reine-Adelaide, Wojciech Szczesny, Theo Walcott, Chris Willock, Jack Wilshere, Gedion Zelalem.

    The squad for Singapore…

  • Thanks allezkev,

    This is 2 first teams.. definitely some good prematch comments and questions coming up from the brilliant minds in this blog

  • Thanks Guys 🙂

    Traditional width comes now from the FBs, Geoffski. Bellerin/Debuchy and Monreal/Gibbo are our wingers…. so good allround midfielders have to play in tandem with them. Like you, I would love us to add another Alexis on the other wing, but I can also see Ramsey or Wilshere excel next to one of our fast and furious wingbacks. This is the immediate future for Wenger, I reckon:

    ———– Chec ———–

    Probably more in a 4-5-1 formation or 4-1-4-1. The Full-Backs could be replaced by the younger options from one game to the next. I am happy to smoke my cigar now and sip on my Courvoisier; let the season commence! 😉

  • TA, Another interesting post… We finished the season with a very stable squad so you would think it would be easy to see who exactly the top players were…On the other hand, almost every player had a period out injured or with a fallow spell (Alexis). For the team to get where we’re going we’ll need better contributions up and down the squad, with players slotting in and doing their best work when they get the chance.

    Personally, I don’t think we’re done in the market. Up front, with recent injury news re: Welbeck missing the Far East tour, we need to have Theo sign da ting or some quick news about a signing and somebody joining the club. The numbers being bandied about are ridiculous so I’d expect the Theo signing AND something a bit quieter. Henrychan noted the sums Napoli was asking for Higuain as an example and he’s right…

    I also think we’re still in for a deeper lying mid but that a smaller guy who has been struggling for playing time at one of the giant clubs–even if he plays further forward–could be the answer. It’s all about price and availability and our manager believing such a buy would be an upgrade.

    Thanks Kev for the list of players headed to Singapore. (TA, I see Sir Chez on Kev’s list…) Missing from that group are Alexis and Ospina (Copa America recovery), Welbeck and Rosicky (injuries or niggles), and some guys who are often mooted for the step up from the youth ranks, notably Gnabry and Hayden. No Krystian Bielik (nor Wellington Silva) making the trip, either… In other words (in my opinion, of course…) we’re looking particularly light in the very areas everybody is talking about re: transfers. Akpom, Crowley and Zelalem, along with a couple of names I’ve never heard (Iwobi, Reine-Adelaide, Willock) are in the squad and might earn themselves a good loan spot or some chances in the CapOne cup…

    As for the 6 or 7 top quality players idea and buying vs developing…I’ll have to take a wait and see approach. Staying unbeaten a la the invincibles creates a perspective all its own. It will be very interesting who gets chances at the start of the season with Alexis out. If that group can avoid hiccups (stay unbeaten and maybe win a couple with a measure of style) a certain momentum could grow. Just one or two bad results, however, and it’s all up for grabs–but not in a good way–in terms of spots in the squad and pressure to buy before the window shuts. Before that date we’ve got the return trip to Wembley (which the Moo-man always takes seriously…) and then West Ham (home), CP (away), Pool (home) and Toonies (away). All winnable, but (all) banana peels as well…

    One thing I will say is that there’s plenty of opportunity for a lot of players to come good and make the step up to “top quality” (aka undroppable) given the flexibility inherent in the 4-5-1 we’ll be playing…

  • More dodgy internet but at least it’s still hanging in there…We switch from DSL to cable over the weekend, fingers crossed…

    What I mean is that we’ve got very good competition for places all over the pitch…If Theo re-signs we have the same question we had for the cup final (Theo or Ollie up front, though both might start some matches together with Alexis on holiday). In MF, Santi, Arteta, Rosicky, Ramsey, Wilshere and Ox–all of whom we could think of as attackers–have all done time as deeper lying players, so we have a LOT of guys who could play in those spots. We all loved the contribution Le Coq made by dedicating himself to that role, but others could follow his lead–and still pop up for an occasional goal… Meanwhile, the FB roles are subject to great competition too…and nobody trying to win these (very demanding) positions should use the excuse of saving themselves because there’s no real back-up… Even at keeper, of course, with the older guy with the cool (and helmeted) head and whoever claims the (hungry) understudy role…

    In my mind–and the mind of the extremely demanding fans–it’s probably a case of the tail wagging the dog. IF we win things (or at least are up there competing…) we’ll see it as a core of (those 6 or 7) top quality players–and lesser lights all around who contributed. If we don’t, ALL of them will come in for questioning… Nature of the beast, I fear…

  • Good post TA, don’t agree with much of it but a great read nevertheless.

    Come on Wenger you know you want to make a weary england supporter’s dreams come true whilst out on tour with a nice new experimental midfield and attack:

    ——–The OX———–Wilshere———-
    ——————Back Four——————–

    😆 😆 😆

  • I don’t know about Szczesny tbh Total…

    But it doesn’t look good for Wellington Silva.

    But I did notice the very positive things that Arsene said about Adelaide….

    That’s the player 😉

  • I don’t know about buying another DM – he would need to be an upgrade on Coquelin, or would need to move from playing regularly at another club to playing second fiddle at the Arsenal. To me, Coquelin has been good enough this last year that an upgrade is not a priority, so we would be looking to a second-string DM and if we’re doing that then it should be someone young and of immense promise.

    I’d still like us to grab a pacy front man who can play anywhere across the front line though. .In this case we can afford to look for an upgrade, rather than a squad player so that our first XI is stronger and to give selection options alongside Theo and Ollie G.

    Can’t see a great need for anything else to be honest, and that’s a good situation to be in so early in the summer break. If Coquelin keeps improving, he may yet achieve Gilberto legend status in a few years.

  • TA,

    I agree fullbacks provide width, but so also do outer mids who are wide, but can also come in.

    What I am saying is that if everyone is down the middle and only the backs are wide, we will still be over compressed and not using the full field.

    Our issue isn’t talent or potential break through talent. It’s that they all want to play in the same spot on the field, middle and more forward than not. And they prefer to do so, even if they start wide, perhaps too often for our own good.

    Just my strengthening my argument’s 2p more — jgc

  • Ie you cant have 9 guys down the middle and 2 sitting wide, one on each side… 🙂

    OK, you can but it aint going to free the space to release the goal scoring beasts is what I am trying to say

    cheers — jgc

  • Ok guys,

    Your take: experimental line up or back to 4-5-1 for Singapore match?

    For me, we might play 4-4-2 as the players are just back, but as the first teamers are mostly here, stick to the same formation so that we can hit the ground running.. and lack of enough rest for the change in time zone..

    My take is the formation we are used to, not what Steve have suggested.

    And they arrive on Monday local time.

    The match is on Wednesday night local time, which is morning over in the UK and Tuesday evening in US.

    7 hours in time difference is a lot, and they need plenty of time to get used to it.

    But I might be wrong, as borussia Dortmund has arrived here 3 days ago and played against a Malaysian league team and won 6-1..

    So, my question again: the line up of your choice?

  • Hi JK..
    So lucky you.. To watch our team playing live.. Hehehe..
    Arsenal came to Jakarta two years ago.. But pity me.. I had a job in other province.. For I can only saw on TV.. Hihihi.. And I resigned from that company.. Hahaha..

    Guys.. Some rumours say that another TQ will coming soon.. Who is this guy..?? Any preference..??
    I wish it will be Hakan Calhanoglu.. But he isn’t expensive enough as rumours said.. Hahaha..

  • Agreed Geof but on the next post. TA was up late so I will do the honours.

    New Post. New Post.

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