It is very quiet on the transfer market for Arsenal, it seems. With about a month to go till the start of the new season, this is not what we had hoped for. It looks like the club want to strengthen the left side with bids for Tierney and Zaha. However, it has gone quiet re the former and we and Crystal Palace appear nowhere near a deal for Zaha the Gooner. Ah the life of a Gooner in summertime!!
I have not heard from Emery publicly for a while and he must be worried that Arsene has yet to decide what he will be doing next. I would not be surprised if he is waiting for a heroic return as interim manager at the Home of Football. But many a Gooner believe that Emery will get it right next season, so let’s see how this could be established.
Before I come up with a way to get the best out of the squad we have, which believe it or not is a good one, let me make some assumptions re Emery’s options and views:
- Defending is not his main focus and the return of Holding and Bells will be like two new signings: other than possibly a LB nobody else will be bought in defence this summer and Holding will become his main CB around which the defence will be established;
- He wants to play attacking football but has struggled to get the balance in midfield right. With Xhaka and Torreira the team plays too deep for him and with Guendouzi (and Rambo, albeit less so) in the B2B role he leaves the back too exposed. Rambo is gone and Guendo remains a work in progress, and the same would go for the likes of EMR, Willock and AMN);
- To get the balance right he has to decide whether to sit naturally more deep with two footballing DMs (Xhaka and Tor) or push up with just one DM and two AMs close to the attackers. For this he will need a ‘Busquets’ (or a Frenkie de Jong) which may not be Xhaka or Torreira, although the latter (and also AMN and Willock over time) could be developed into one;
- I expect us to go for one DM and two AMs next season, especially once Bells is back and another LB has been added to the squad (most likely Tierney). These will add speed and tenacity to our midfield;
- I don’t expect us to play 3-4-3 next season, as this has not really worked for us in terms of balance in midfield and at the back. Four at the back seems the way forward once our best full back options are available;
- We have great attackers and with Welbeck and Rambo gone we need to add further firepower to the team: either by buying or by hoping that one of the youngsters can step up: will this be Iwobi’s breakthrough season? Will Nelson hit the ground running? Will Eddie come good? Will Mesut find his stride again?
- Youngsters will get a chance but not significantly so. The demands of the PL are too high to take too much risk re introducing too many youngsters in one season. However, we should see more of AMN, ESR and Nelson and possibly Willock and Eddie. We are desperate for some of these to break through, especially in terms of producing assists and scoring goals.
- Based on the above, I expect us to buy another attacker: especially a left winger is required (first priority). We may also buy a mobile, athletic and visionary DM to play behind the two AMs but they may be hard to find. We may add a LB but I still believe that Nacho will be our main one for the coming season.
The formation below should give us a strong attacking edge with the emphasis of pushing back opponents in their own half as much as possible:
Key to it all is that Iwobi and Ozil will be working close together in a 4-1-2-3 formation and conduct our attacks and keep the pressure on the opponents’ defences AND that we add better wing power with the addition of a ‘Zaha’ type player – and Nelson on the right wing is also an exciting prospect.
Our attackers will get much better service and our defence will get less exposed as we try to dominate games in the opponent’s half. This style of play would suit best Arsenal’s 21st century football philosophy and Emery’s ‘win games 4-3 or 5-4’ approach, I reckon. Finally, with the reintroduction of Holding and Bels we will add energy and speed to our defending; and SuperSok (and occasionally Koz) will add further calm and organisation to it.
So just a couple of buys could give us a new lease of football life we so desperately need. Let’s use what we have and realign and reenergise our talents, whilst adding a bit of quality in key areas (and one or two youngsters). All to play for!
What do you think, fellow Gooners?