… and keep our romanticism re using lots of youngsters under control…
Remember those bad first halves we used to play at the start of last season? We sat back and made ourselves seem vulnerable and thus invited and encouraged the opponents to come and have a go. We were desperate for space to operate in, and by sitting back and having a go at teams with quick rebounds and counter-attacks we sometimes got the first goal. Unfortunately, it just as often did not work as we regularly conceded during those first halves, leaving Emery no other option than to take off players during the break as to turn things round again (and in the process affecting their confidence and not doing much good to the player-manager relationships – the days of the effective autocratic manager are well and truly behind us, thank Dennis).
Luckily, we had the likes of Torreira, Ramsey and Auba on the bench: the sort of big guns that can really make a difference. For a while, this formula worked but during the second half of the season we saw our super-subs more and more used from the start rather than from the benh.
There is no doubt that we cannot pooh-pooh the need for having a strong bench of players to change things round if and when necessary. For this we need experienced and self-motivated players who have the quality and confidence to have a meaningful impact on the game within a short period of time. Youngster are almost always not suitable for this.
Ramsey is gone and Torreira really has to feature in games from the start, so Auba is the only one left who could start on the bench and be our supersub-hero later on in games next season.
I am going to state the bleeding obvious that to win games we need to score goals – lots of goals given our lack of prioritisation of defensive discipline these days. Auba and Laca had a share in 48 of our 73 PL games (35 goals and 13 assists), so it does not take a genius to realise how dependent we are on them. That is why the idea of selling either Auba or Laca really does not wash with me. We need them both, and if we don’t buy another quality attacker (like Zaha for example), Arsenal will simply not score enough next season now that Ramsey and Welbeck are no longer donning the home of football.
It is all good and well to say we need to give more of our youthful players a chance, but you only have to look back at the likes of Jack Wilshere, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Iwobi, and many a young CF, to conclude that the one thing young players struggle with is producing the bread and butter stuff: assists and goals.
So for me it is clear that we need to keep both Auba and Laca and need to buy another quality attacker to add both assists and goals next season. We need to have the firepower at the start of the game and on the bench if and when it’s required.
But what do you think?