By Walter Broeckx
On the facebook group of my supporters club in Belgium, we have had, over the last few weeks, time to run a poll over each position on the field and consider who we think should be played in that position.
The result of this poll gave us the following team
- Goal: Cech.
- Right back: Bellerin
- Central defenders: Gabriel – Koscielny
- Left back: Monreal
- Defensive midfielders: Coquelin – Cazorla (deep lying playmaker one could say)
- Playmaker: Özil
- Right attack: The Ox
- Left attack: Alexis
- Up front: Giroud.
Now of course we can ask questions about the knowledge of my friends in Belgium but I think most would be satisfied with this starting line up in any match.
But I must say that I didn’t agree with the general consensus based on the voting. However that is democracy for you of course. Being chairman of the supporters club doesn’t allow me to I dictate to all and sundry.
If you ask me what and where I disagree I still would put Per in the place of Gabriel in my favourite starting line-up. And sorry for the Ox but I still would prefer Theo at the right side of the attack if I were be the boss. And can you really leave out a player like Ramsey…?
But in a way this is all not that important even though it might and probably will be for the players. What is more important however is if we look at the players that are left out of this team. Because if we do this we could also start with this team:
- In goal: Ooooospina (couldn’t resist) [That’s all right – Tony]
- Right back: Debuchy
- Central defenders: Per – Chambers
- Left back: Gibbs
- Defensive midfielders: Arteta – Rosicky (deep lying playmaker one could say)
- Playmaker: Wilshere
- Right attack: Ramsey
- Left attack: Welbeck
- Up front: Theo
Now who would have any trouble when starting a match with this team? I wouldn’t have any trouble with it at all.
I know some of the positions are not really filled up in the best way. One can argue about the right attack position from Ramsey and play him next to Arteta more central and play Rosicky there. Or you could even put Flamini in the mix who seems to be staying at Arsenal after all and who hasn’t been included in any of the line ups.
And then you can still put all the players in a shaker, shake it all about a bit and mix them up at free will and you still would get a decent team no matter who you play picked as the first or second choice.
And in many cases the difference was marginal. In fact many people argued about the right and left back places that it could and should depend on whom we are playing. If you want to go out on an all attack scenario you play Bellerin and Gibbs. If you want and need a bit more holding back at either flank you can play Debuchy or Monreal.
The main message from this little time-passing exercise however was that it has opened a lot of eyes. We need a …(fill in ) type of player to fight for the title. That can be a ‘world class striker’ (Messi or Ronaldo come to mind – oh they aren’t real strikers….) or a beast of a defensive midfielder. But after seeing this it has struck a few people that we actually are rather well stocked with players for the moment.
Do you need a big centre forward who can link up and bring others in play? We got Giroud. And we have Welbeck. Do you need a fast small centre forward who can run past defenders at speed? We’ve got Theo. We’ve got Alexis. So whatever the rumour mills are saying we’ve got different solutions and even more than one player for the solution. That makes me think that if we were to buy someone for that position it has to be a real world class player.
He has to be a major upgrade to the players we have. And to be honest I don’t know any realistic target that would be a major upgrade. Probably a few who could be a minor upgrade but not a major upgrade. And what is the use to go for minor upgrades? Better save the money for the moment a real major upgrade becomes available.
And the same can be said about a few positions.
And another astonishing thought is the fact that we even seem to have players waiting in the wings to fill up the places of the aging players. Per is the oldest defender but we could put Chambers in his place in a few seasons depending on his fitness.
Arteta getting too old next season? What about Hayden? Will he have a breakthrough season this year? Or Bielik in that position in the next seasons? The same names for Flamini of course.
Another older player is Rosicky. But with the young talents of Iwobi, Jeff Reine-Adelaide couldn’t they step in his shoes in the next season?
Santi is also one of the older players now but again the same names crop up to replace him and then I would add Crowley in the mix as he reminds me a lot to the little Spanish magician.
The good thing is that many of the players we have are still rather young and are now entering the best years of their career. Theo, Jack, Aaron still have a lot of good years in front of them.
And then to think that we still have a bit of money to buy who we want if they come available at a decent price and not the over inflated prices we see mentioned in the media. Prices that I hope we will not pay anytime soon for any player.
I’ve said it before and will say it again: the squad we have is capable of winning everything. The only thing we need to avoid is too many injuries at the same time with the same type of players. But with all the players having been put in different positions in the last couple of seasons, most of them can fill in in different positions. And in avoiding the injuries we will need the cooperation of the refs. But that is a completely different story and it will be interesting to see how one of our bogey refs is doing next Sunday.
In the season of transfer speculation and rumours the media have missed out on something. Something we have been seeing developing for a few years. Wenger was building a team, adding with some great buys, but the core of the team has been the result of slowly building from a young age. We have seen it coming but I must admit that even I was taken by surprise by seeing what a great squad we now suddenly have at our disposal.
Almost 22 players equal to the task and able to play in multiple positions. And somehow the media missed out on it. But that somehow doesn’t really surprise us, doesn’t it?
Woolwich Arsenal: The club that changed football – Arsenal’s early years
Making the Arsenal – how the modern Arsenal was born in 1910