Sunday, 13 October 2013

Can Arsenal Continue On From Their Good Start

The Premier League season has started very well for Arsenal and they sit on top of the table with seven games played. Added to that they managed to make their way through a tricky Champions League qualifier to the group stages of the competition. They have beaten Marseille and Napoli in their first two group games too to sit in a good place on top of their group. 

It didn't start too well though with an opening day defeat at home to Aston Villa bringing some real unrest among the Arsenal fans. They were worried that the club hadn't spent any of their vast transfer kitty and a real chance to make the team genuine challengers again would be lost. As the shutting of the transfer window approached the players managed to turn things around by winning their next two league games and beating Fenerbache in those Champions League qualifiers.

Mathieu Flamini rejoined the club on a free transfer from AC Milan shortly before the window closed and then came the news to shock English football and Arsenal fans in particular. On deadline day Arsenal pursued Real Madrid's Mesut Ozil for a fee which would smash the club's transfer record to pieces and amazingly they got their man. There were a lot of factors involved in Arsenal's purchase of Ozil and it seems the player's desire to play for Arsene Wenger was one of the most important.

Ozil is a player of genuine world class and there are not too many players of his calibre playing football right now. As I have said on many occasions I think he is the best player in the Premier League and Arsenal can only benefit from his signature. He has already shown in his few weeks at the club what he can do and it excites me to think how good the team can be with him in it.

Since Ozil joined the players have spent more time with their countries on international duty than they have at Arsenal. When he gets a chance to work with the other players on a consistent and permanent basis I think he will help the team to become an even better attacking force than it is at the moment. He has already developed an understanding with Aaron Ramsey and he hasn't had a chance to play with Santi Cazorla yet.

Cazorla's recent injury has meant his performances for Arsenal have been limited so far this season, but hopefully he will be fit to return after the current international break ends. The prospect of him and Ozil in the same team is one for Arsenal fans to relish and opposing teams to dread. Between the two of them they will carve defences open and create loads of scoring chances for the rest of the team and each other too.

There are questions over Arsenal's strength in depth but upon close examination the squad isn't quite as flimsy as some might think. There are at least two genuine options for every single position in the team when all of the players are fit with the possible exception of the central defensive roles. Arsenal have only three central defenders available to them, but at least Bacary Sagna has shown he can fill in and do a good job in that role if required.

In midfield the options are so numerous that it's hard to figure out what the best one is and I can see a fair deal of rotation during the season which has to be a good thing. Players will be able to be rested when they need a rest with other players of real quality ready to take their place without harming the team. There may be some disappointed players at times but that disappointment will hopefully be enough to spur them on to do even better when they get a chance.

The striking options seemed to be very limited when the season began with only Olivier Giroud being considered a true option. Since then Nicklas Bendtner has returned from exile and showed for his country on Friday night that he might just still have something to offer to Arsenal. Added to both of those are Theo Walcott and Lukas Podolski who might not be similar players but can play up front if the team adjusts to their strengths. With the players Arsenal have it's not too much to think they can adjust to suit the needs of the team when required.

There are those who will say Arsenal haven't met any teams of real quality yet and their true tests will come when they do. Fenerbahce, Spurs and Napoli were all supposed to be the teams to show Arsenal up and test their quality and Arsenal overcame all of those obstacles. They will face some very tough games when the players return though and their performances in those games might tell us a little more.

Before the World Cup play offs in November Arsenal will play another seven games and the line up of opponents is certainly going to test them. As well as play Borussia Dortmund at home and away they will play at home to Liverpool and away to United in the league. There's also a Capital One Cup game against Chelsea to be thrown into the mix and it's going to be a hectic 23 days for Arsenal.

If they can come through those games still in a good place in the league and their Champions League group then maybe their chances of ending their current trophy drought will be an awful lot better. I'm looking forward to those games and I think the players will be up to the challenges. It certainly promises to be an exciting time for Arsenal fans and hopefully a fruitful one too.

That's it for today.

See you tomorrow.

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