Forwards: Arshavin, van Persie, Bendtner, Chamakh, Eduardo, Walcott, Vela.
By Tony Attwood
By way of explanation I should add that Vela and Walcott have been listed by Arsenal as forwards and Arshavin as a midfielder. I’ve just made an arbitary decision and called them all forwards.
And what do we find…
Overall we have never had a forward line like this – when I typed up the list to start the article off I couldn’t believe what we had. And yet it is only one player more than the group we had last season, and then we ended up running out of players because of injury.
Seven forwards, and we are not even talking about adding one of the kids from the reserves last season. In watching Arsenal since the 1950s I have never seen anything remotely like this.
What follows is not meant to be a serious in depth analysis – anything that tries to fit itself into a simple formula can’t be. The goal ratio for example is based on goals and starts, not on sub appearances, so it is quirky that way. But then it is quirky any way.
I saw a couple of sites announce that Eduardo was off, but I believe they were just repeating some News of the World rumour that was made up to fill four or five lines, so unless there is a formal announcement this is what we have…
Last Season: 21 starts, 10 as sub, 12 goals (Goal ratio 57%)
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Injury potential: last season it was high, and clearly the injury was still there in the world cup, but I think that was a one off. I would say injury potential is low as long as he is fully recovered from the problems that plagued him last season and seemed to flair up again in the world cup. If he is out again at the start of the season however then it could be bad news all season long.
Brilliance potential: As I have mentioned from time to time, the moron who sits behind me in the Ems hates Bendtner, but I reckon he is brilliant. No self-doubt – he just keeps going, and going. He can have a game where he missed from 3 inches and then next time scores the winner in the 93rd minute. And for those who complain about missing from 3 inches, there has never been a player who plays in front of goal who doesn’t do that. Remember Henry (a much older and more experienced player) in his first year with us.
Breakthrough potential: Wenger already believes he is there and will make him a front line choice.
Personality: Had his night club fling, undoubtedly got an in house telling off, and now might be just that bit more of a family man.
Scoring potential: If he knocks in 20 even the guy behind me might be mollified, and 20 is possible.
Last Season: 32 starts, 7 as sub, 12 goals (Goal ratio 37.5%)
Injury potential: he got one injury and played on with it. Low chance of injury for next year in my guess – I don’t think in Russia he had a history as an injured player.
Brilliance potential: Stratospheric. First choice.
Breakthrough potential: He broke through years ago.
Personality: I love this guy. The blog is funny, he is original, he is bright and he runs rings round the press. Certainly the way the press are fooled into endlessly re-running “I can’t stand the manager” and “I didn’t know about tax” and “no one told me they drive on the left” stories is wonderful. More people like him, I say. The only problem is that we have some fans who actually believe his fun and games as real – but then they tend to believe the Daily Express anyway.
Scoring potential: Without the injury, and playing in his right position, very high. Remember four against Liverpool?
Last Season: Not with us.
Injury potential: Hard to say. Anyone know?
Brilliance potential: Wenger was after him for over a year, so I’d say high. Certainly taking over if Van Persie is injured playing for the Netherlands, otherwise a sub – unless of course he gets games in the cup matches and also ensures that Van Persie doesn’t get overdone by playing too often.
Breakthrough potential: He is starting from the unknown, but fans will expect brilliance. The great thing is that he probably won’t be playing in every game – he is adding to the numbers, so the pressure to adapt from day one will be off.
Scoring potential: I imagine its high, but I am not sure. He got 16 in 46 games last season (but I am not sure if this includes substitute appearances). If not that is 34%
Personality: don’t know
Last Season: 18 starts, 2 as sub, 10 goals (Goal ratio 55% – the highest)
Injury potential: Very high – he has a poor record, but maybe just maybe it is over. However it could well be that Chamakh is there to play from time to time to give VP a break, or to cover for his injuries.
Brilliance potential: Beyond belief. When he was not scoring at the start everyone else was because of his Bergkamp like performances. Without him we score fewer goals.
Breakthrough potential: He is there, there is nowhere to break into.
Personality: The original wild man, then simply a man with artistic temperament (his parents being artists) and now a calm family man.
Scoring potential: If he could go a whole season a) without getting injured for us and b) without playing for the Netherlands, we wouldn’t even have to think – we would win the league.
Last Season: 15 starts, 15 as sub, 4 goals (Goal ratio 27%)
Injury potential: When disobeying Wenger and playing for the under 21s and the full England team, very high. Otherwise most of him has now been rebuilt so he might be ok. He has no more shoulders to be repaired.
Brilliance potential: very high although I have seen calls for him to be put out on loan. One bad season dogged by injury and an argument with the manager does not destroy a career. He still can be the player we all expected. After all he has hardly started. It’s the speed guys – they don’t like it up em.
Breakthrough potential: High – everyone expects nothing after last year.
Personality: The nice guy, although last year we saw him shout at a couple of members of the team for not passing to him. Extraordinary.
Scoring potential: Much higher than last year.
Last Season: 17 starts, 15 as sub, 5 goals. Goal ratio 29%.
Injury potential: Everyone knows. Maybe this year he has finally got over the horrors.
Brilliance potential: Staggering. It is easy to forget what an amazing player he was and why the Henry money was used in part to buy him. Let us just hope.
Breakthrough potential: If he were to return to the form before the violent assault then it would be a breakthrough. Thankfully his adopted country did not qualify for the world cup.
Personality: Always comes across as a nice calm guy.
Scoring potential: 25 goals a season.
Last Season: 1 start, 10 as sub, 2 goals. Goal ratio 200%!!!
Injury potential: Moderate – it is more a case of jet lag plus injury.
Brilliance potential: Potentially staggering.
Breakthrough potential: If suddenly he made it the whole world would look up in surprise while Fleet Street would be saying, “as we predicted…” But I hoped for the breakthrough last season and the world cup was not encouraging.
Personality: Smiles a lot.
Scoring potential: Enormous – the through ball from Van Persie ending with the chip over the keeper…. Can’t you just see it?
Pick anyone from Afobe, Murphy, Simpson, Sunu, Watt, and throw in Wellington Silva in mid-winter. We are not short of these guys.
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