Lack Of Midfield Steel To Show – Arsenal Preview
Premier League 2014/15
Never mind Liverpool, could this be Arsenal’s year?
The Gunners were in prime position for the first half of last season and finally looked the real deal until their nemesis, injuries, came back to haunt them.
The likes of Aaron Ramsey, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain & Theo Walcott all spent months on the sidelines at vital periods which, ultimately, scuppered their hopes.
They did manage to get over their trophy hump with an FA Cup win, though – hopes are high of going one further in 2014/2015.
For the first time in a long time, Arsenal fans can look ahead in ultra-confident mood. After a relatively successful campaign last season, the Gunners are in prime position to make a serious, prolonged title challenge.
The off-season has been kind, too. Every summer, for a number summers now, supporters would brace themselves for the inevitable departure of one of their stars – not this year, though.
Instead, they’ve actually added world class quality to their roster. Arsene Wenger is infamous for being prudent with the purse-strings but has splashed out this summer and looks to add to a squad bursting with verve and talent.
In a summer of firsts, the Frenchman also has a fully fit squad to pick from; even Abou Diaby is available. With good options in all areas, especially attack, one would find it hard to knock Arsenal supporters for getting seriously giddy.
Alluding to it above, the signing of Chilean superstar, Alexis Sanchez has got Gunner’s tongues wagging. The former Barcelona forward signed on in a £35 million deal that really set the bar for expectations ahead of the new season.
Already well stocked in attack, Sanchez’s signing in a real statement of intent. Once settled he will add serious quality and depth to an attack already containing the likes of Ozil, Walcott, Podolski, Giroud, Cazorla and Costa Rica’s World Cup star, Joel Campbell.
Wih Bacary Sagna leaving for bluer pastures, Wenger moved quickly to replace him with Newcastle’s French international, Mathieu Debuchy and Southampton’s precocious young defender, Calum Chambers.
David Ospina, Colombia’s no.1, has also signed on from Nice. The World Cup star will provide serious competition to the goalkeeping ranks; something that’s lacked in recent seasons.
Wenger doesn’t look like he has finished just yet with rumours abound that Manchester United-bound Thomas Vermaelen will be replaced by another centre-half from Manchester: Matjia Nastastic.
As is so often the case with Arsenal, injuries will dictate how their season goes. If Wenger can keep the majority of his squad fit for the season ahead then Arsenal will take it right to the wire.
They’ve got goals from all over the park and a great defence. Their one weakness – which Wenger has yet to tend to – is their midfield.
They badly need a physical presence in alongside the like of Wilshere and Ramsey
– Arteta is fine against the weaker sides but struggles against the best. Someone of the ilk of Luis Gustavo would be perfect in that holding role but I wouldn’t hold your breath.
Because of this, I don’t think Arsenal will win it. In fact, I think 3rd is still as much as they can hope for until the central midfield is sorted.