Arsenal’s Strength in Squad Depth

Howdy my friend and thank you for visiting. It’s a few hours to Christmas and Arsenal already gave us early Christmas gifts with the win over Man City at the Emirates. The celebration from the players at the end of the game echoed the general feeling of how important the win was. Fist pumps, hugs, loads of smiles and of course the trademark Metersacker and Theo Walcott jump we witness at the end of every win. Thankfully, the Arsenal players did not make room for some Liverpool all-hands together-and-walk to the fans style celebration when they draw matches.

It is hard not be really optimistic about our title chances this season and judging from how the players fought to protect their lead in the final minutes of that game it seems they want the title as much as we do if not more. This new Arsenal confuses me to be honest, how the same set of players can play varied types of football is amazing and it is not something we are used to from a usually all attack Arsenal team. One game they are all free-flowing and attacking, in another it’s a complete contrast with them soaking up pressure, being comfortable with opponents having the ball and relying on being clinical when they have the chance. I think we scored from our first two shots on target against City.

In years past, we were perpetually on the receiving end of defeats in games like this. Last season, at home to Man United, we practically controlled the whole game but lost to a United side that maybe had one shot on target. Against Man City at home, we played very well, went 2-1 up only to allow City score an injury time goal to draw level. Liverpool away was a similar experience, where we allowed a late Martin Skrtel header ensure we shared points. At Stamford Bridge, we matched the Chelsea team in every department of the pitch but still fell to one moment of Hazard magic and one sublime pass from Fabregas to Costa. This season however, we seem to have better game management and the results are showing. I’m looking forward to seeing how we treat the Champions league game against Barcelona.

I believe this new attitude could be down to a variety of things from the manager improving certain aspects of his game management tactics, or just having a steady goal keeper in goal or possibly better cohesion in the team from playing lots of games together. I am more inclined to the last option and the manager himself was keen to stress how important it was for the spirit of the team not to broken with too many new additions. It is apparent the quality we have in our current squad and this is more evident with the results we have continued to produce despite the epidemic nature of our injuries.

If Chelsea had the kind of injury problems we have suffered, they might have had to cancel some of their numerous loans deals because they had a manager that could not and was unwilling to trust the depth of his squad. There are a lot of first team players in the premier league that can improve our team but I am not sure if the same could be said for squad players of other teams.

Watching Mangala and Otamendi (64 million pounds worth of talent) concede 18 goals in the absence of Kompany, Gabriel our third choice CB will walk into that defence. Flamini is our third choice defensive midfielder and is making vital contributions to our current form. Same cannot be said for players like Mikel Obi, Fernando and possibly Schweinsteiger who fall into the same position as him either by role or age. Joel Campbell, our 6th or 7th choice forward certainly does a better job compared to the likes of Jesus Navas, Memphis Depay and Pedro. I certainly would not switch David Ospina for any second choice goal keeper in the league currently. Many fans will remember his error against Olympiakos in the champions’ league but his stats last season were hugely impressive and he is a really good keeper. Imagine the contribution players like Welbeck and Wilshere would make to this team if fit.

It behooves on Wenger then, knowing all these to ensure that the necessary additions are made during the January transfer window to refresh key positions in the team without breaking the current harmony. Whilst world class players might be a hard find during the window, if this season has taught us anything it is that just having the bodies available to use is an absolute necessity given our players potential for sustaining injuries. It is often said, that your first team wins you games but your squad wins you championships. The manager has done great work in ensuring we do not have just bodies in our squad but some good quality and we can only trust him to make the necessary decisions when the window opens.

We have come too far, waited too long and the current team has done too much work to allow such a golden opportunity to win the league slip away. That’s it from me today, I wish you a very Merry Christmas celebration. Whatever you do, show love to someone who can’t pay you back and do not drink and drive.

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