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Arsenal might suffer from Key Man Risk

Howdy, it’s one of those “you blog it best, when you blog nothing at all” periods as Arsenal won its last game and there is usually not much to write about what should be a routine win, no injuries to worry about as it seems Gibbs will be ok, Mesut Ozil is injured so the #PlayOzilatTen brigade is on a vacation, so really except you are Tim Stillman you would struggle to come up with something interesting to write about during this period of famine.

If only we celebrate our wins with the same ferocity we moan about our losses. I wish there was a barometer to measure the level of excitement shown by football fans on Twitter over the last weekend you would think Man United won their game and Arsenal lost. To be fair to Man United fans, he who is down needs fear no fall, so coming from their position to grab a late winner must feel like a rookie boxer knocking out Floyd Mayweather in the first round.

After reading this amazing post by Tim Stillman …., looking for the link?  (naa, you will find the link at the end of this post so you don’t run away to read it and not finish this) I have trained myself to revel in Arsenal wins a whole lot longer and I would strongly advise you do same too.

So during this quiet Arsenal week, while throwing jibes at a colleague in my team about how he alone knew how to handle sets of tasks that involve regulatory authorities the term “Key Man Risk” came to mind. I have already written about how I find a way to relate almost everything in life to something at Arsenal Football Club (this is not recommended behaviour) and I did exactly same with this Key Man Risk issue.
Is Arsenal on the verge of suffering from the effects of Key Man Risk should anything happen to Alexis Sanchez? With our defence in tatters, Ramsey not playing anywhere near his last season form, Ozil out injured and general loss of co-ordination in Arsenal performance recently it is pretty evident that Alexis is carrying this team on his shoulders.

Everything good at Arsenal now surrounds him, he is either scoring goals or creating opportunities for team mates to score them. Alexis has started on the right, left, center forward and more recently the number 10 role, irrespective of where he is fielded his effort remains the same and continues to produce massive returns on investment.

The fear however is if the whole team starts to rely on him performing at this level every game and then he suffers a massive dip in form there is a tendency that it would spread across the team.  Arsene tries as much as possible not to build his team around one player as he is a strong believer in the team ethic and the core believe that football is a team sport and should be seen as that. In the final years of Thierry Henry’s stay with Arsenal it we suffered the same thing after a lot of the invincible players left the club, Henry playing with younger newer players then meant every time Arsenal had the ball in an advanced position they all looked to time their pass to Henry’s run, if that didn’t work, we lost possession and started all over again.

While that is not the case with Alexis yet, it is evident to see that he carries a lot of the goal scoring responsibilities as we are not getting a lot of goals from other areas of the pitch.  I am hoping that by the end of the season I would regret not adding “yet” to the end of the last sentence. For a lot of fans, any club that intends to win trophies requires a 30 goal a season striker, I am not of that opinion and there is an excellent post by @goonerdave that further buttresses that opinion.

While it would be nice to have a striker that can guarantee you a goal per game, I would prefer a team that had goals from all areas of the pitch. Ramsey contributed a lot in that regard last season and this season he has three to his name already. Yaya Toure and Frank Lampard are perfect examples of this nature.  Just like the modern game expects defensive midfielders to be great passers of the ball, left backs to have loads of speed to bump down the wing and put in world class crosses, midfielders and wingers roles have evolved from just creating chances to making runs into the box to get goals too.

In a world were statistics and performance measurements are now extremely granular and we can tell the number of passes a player makes, the range of the passes, how many tackles they put in or how many miles they cover, I wonder if a basic measuring index like how many goals have you scored is now lost. When we signed Danny Welbeck, and I would not lie about being skeptical about the signing, one of the attributes I saw written about him was he was the best defensive striker in the league. I struggled to understand what that meant but now I see.

Two questions worthy of asking ?

  • What is Arsene Wengers goal scoring expectation from Santi Cazorla, Jack Wilshere, Oxlade Chamberlain, Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey and Theo Walcott?
  • As an Arsenal fan what is your expectation from the aforementioned players from a goal scoring perspective?

Do we really expect any of them to reach double figures with goals this season? Two seasons ago we had four players that hit double figures in goals and assists (Theo, Poldi, Giroud and Cazorla). How about double figures with goals and assists from this team? Who is the most likely to reach that milestone? Theo Walcott maybe if he stays fit. I’m not certain I can put my money on any other.

Hopefully with Theo returning to the squad he can pick up from where he left off on the goal scoring charts, the fact that teams would have to focus on him with his pace and his clinical touch in front of goal would give more room for him, Alexis and Welbeck to thrive and Arsenal can only be better for it if our midfielders join in the goal scoring party.

Recommended Post:

Tim Stillman : Put it in the ground where the flowers grow  

GoonerDave : Arsenal fans still demanding a 30 goal a season striker 

Have an awesome day Gooners. Interact with us on the comments section on which Arsenal midfielder you think will hit the highest number of goals this season or on the Twitter @canoncrested. If you live in Nigeria, support the site by shopping from our Arsenal FanStore : Click Here




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