For many reasons 2020 will be remembered as a year of lows and a few highs. We Gunners have experienced the football lows but we are also one of the few sets of lucky supporters who actually had something to celebrate. Arteta gave us an unforgettable summer, but after that it has been a real roller-coaster. Are Arsenal a team in decline and doomed, or are we slowly witnessing the start of a new beginning?
It is still early days but it looks like Arteta is going to play the 4-2-3-1 formation more regularly from now on. I would welcome that. Reducing the number of out and out attackers i.e. pure finishers to just one would suit me fine. I, like Wenger in the previous decade, like lots of skillful midfielders who know how to defend, pass the ball well and are able to hold on to it, or dribble with it, on a constant basis. Playing Auba, Laca and Pepe up-front really has not paid off and I doubt it ever will. It was time for change.
We have a lot of good midfielders and if Arteta were to opt for the 2 + 3 midfielders formation from now on then the likes of Martinelli, Willian, ESR, Saka, Willock, Nelson and AMN should have plenty of opportunity to play first team football in all competitions. The question is whether we would need to add real quality in the ‘2’ or ‘3’ this January, or that we should better spend our money in another area. Do we have a more urgent need to add a more all-round CF than we currently have (one who is strong in the air and does hold up play really well)? Or should we add another defender to strengthen our defence?
Now let’s imagine, just for a bit of winter-fun, the club manage to let a few players go who are no longer required and are able to free up funds to buy one just quality player for around £40m this January: who would you like us to get? You can spend less, or more if you have to, but it can only be one player. Furthermore, what would be your strongest eleven to beat the vast majority of teams in the PL? So I am not talking about the one off occasions of playing Pool or Man City but how we can beat the sort of teams who got the better of us in recent months on a regular basis.
I am wary to put forward my team as I am more interested in the views of our bloggers (and new bloggers are very welcome too) and I don’t want to influence this too much. But just to kick-start the discussion, here is my strongest 11 + 1 newly purchased player:
I am certain about all positions except CF, Nr10, and RB. I love Hector and would not want to lose him, but this is the position I reckon we have the strongest need to buy an upgrade. With a more mobile style of football with strong runs into the box by midfielders, we may not need the strong-in-the-air CF as much as we did when we were playing the 3-4-3 formation. I am also less convinced that we most urgently need a new nr10, but I know that many disagree with this. So if it was up to me, I would go for a quality right back and I have been very impressed by Ajax’s Mazraoui, lately. I think he would offer on the right what Tierney offers on the left.
So there you go, that’s my choice…. What is yours?