After a very good September we are starting to believe in the team and manager again. I reckon the draw against the Chavs was a big result for the team. With a bit of luck we would even have won that game, and that would have been very nice, but above all the boys needed to be solid, regain confidence and show what it means to wear the shirt. And that is what they did. Many a team in the PL would have buckled under the pressure of the Champions after losing to Pool so painfully, but our boys stood tall.
A few good home wins later and we are joined fourth with the winds in our sails. We now need to push on and it is clear that we are not yet cruising with all the sails raised to the mast. This is of course good news as we need to improve further to get closer to the two teams that are leading the table. So were is the extra ‘wind-power’ to come from?
- The UEFA Cup/ League Cup team. Wenger has opted to play predominantly two different teams for the PL and the two current cup competitions. This way the whole squad is being used and young players are getting really good opportunities to shine and grow. Furthermore, the more experienced ‘fringe players’ are playing themselves fit and ready to join the PL team if required. This may turn out to make a massive difference this season;
- Mesut Ozil. I am not sure what is going on with Mesut: was he really injured or is Wenger giving him time to make up his mind once and for all re signing a new contract… or not. But I am sure that whatever his decision, and I reckon he WILL sign a new contract within a month, he will start to influence our games more and more from next weekend onwards. His ability to find quality assists, through-balls and key passes is still top of the league. We need him back.
- Jack Wilshere. It looks to me that Jack is gradually getting fitter and playing the cups is really helping him. What I would like to see is Mesut and Jack sharing some of the ninety minutes in PL games going forward. Jack coming on after 65 minutes or playing the first 65 minutes is a viable option now. Together they can add that much needed extra dimension to our attacking football and get the best out of Lacazette, Alexis, Giroud and Welbeck.
- IwobI. There is also a real chance that the most exciting talent at Arsenal currently, Alexi Iwobi, will move up another level this season. It is just a gut feeling, but I reckon he could be our joker this season.
- Lacazette-Giroud. We are effectively playing with two CFs upfront with the third attacker in our 3-4-3 being the creative player. And we need Mesut or Jack, or indeed Iwobi, to play in that role. I rate Alexis but he is just not a good team player in the two CFs upfront system. He never gelled with Giroud and I have not seen much that indicates that he can work really well with Lacazette. Ultimately, he is too selfish and that is only compensated by his goal scoring ability. If Wenger has the guts, he will start taking Alexis off after 65 minutes and combine Lacazette with Giroud more and more. He should also start them together now and again. They ARE both team players and could build up that title-winning CF partnership this season.
- The partnership between Xhaka and Rambo. IF they keep playing with tactical discipline, which means close together when defending and pressing opponents together to dominate the midfield, they will get better and better. It is still a work in progress but Wenger will get it right with them.
- Coquelin. We need that player on the bench who can come on and help us close out a game. Francis needs to return to fitness asap.
- Cazorla. The almost forgotten one. Just imagine getting three months out of him towards the end of the season, what a boost that would be!