4 Things Arsene Wenger Has To Do…
Arsenal’s smash and grab victory over Marseille the other night in the Champions League prompted Arsene Wenger to say that the Gunners had reached a “turning point” in their season. But that’s what Wenger said after the 1-0 win over Swansea, then in typical fragile Arsenal fashion, the following week they blew it 4-3 at Blackburn. They followed it up with a hard fought 3-1 win over Stoke on Sunday but it’s important the Gunners don’t push the self destruct button once again.
So here is a proposal of 4 things Arsenal Wenger should do, to ensure this “turning point” won’t go off the rails again:
SCRAP THE 4-3-3
Back in the good old days of Henry, Viera, Pires, Arsenal was structured in a 4-4-2 formation. It brought the Gunners success. Back two seasons ago, Wenger began the change to structure Arsenal in a 4-3-3 system he thought would bring the Gunners glory. It hasn’t.
The 4-3-3 doesn’t suit the players and while it means Arsenal controls the majority of the game through possession, it hasn’t brought any success, leaving Arsenal short in attack and weak in defence.
Walcott, Gervinho, Arshavin are all players of immense speed and skill, but being shunned tot the wing, they have gone missing. Walcott is a striker by heart; Arshavin plays behind the strikers or as secondary one and similarly so does Gervinho. In the centre, Song is solid as the anchor man, but needs support in the role, another stern body to help him out in defence. This has left Arsenal vulnerable at the back, leaving Vermaelen and co to fend for themselves. Also, the burden of scoring goals has fallen on Van Persie, and with no one there to assist him, the Gunners lack the firepower up front.
The suggestion is simple: Go back to the basics. A switch back to the 4-4-2 formation would change things. Ferguson proved it last year it. Even Chelsea used it. Arsenal has the players to make it work.
USE THE SQUAD
Football is no longer about the best 11; it’s about the best 25. Ferguson, Guardiola, Mourinho – victors of past three Champions League teams – know this. They chop and change the squad; ensuring that players don’t burn out during the end of the season; keeping players fresh for the important games and making everyone feel part of the squad.
Wenger has not seemed to grasp this fact. Over the last few years it’s been well documented that Arsenal collapse in the second half of the season. The major reason is fatigue. After playing 30 or more games at the point of the season, wear and tear starts to kick in.
Wenger has to utilize his squad, giving players the chance to impress, but also to rest the big guns. Fabregas, Nasri, Wilshere all went off the radar in the second half of last season, because they played every game, even dead rubbers and matches against lower division teams. It’s about time Wenger starts getting the fringe players onboard.
GET THE PLAYERS FIT
Vermaelen, Gibbs, Diaby, Sagna and Wilshere all head up Arsenal’s injury list. Every season, the Gunners find themselves short in their playing squad forced to use youngsters not ready for the big leagues (the 8-2 drumming by Manchester United anyone?).
Vermaelen has barely featured over the last two seasons; same goes with Diaby and Wilshere was all but spent before the season even started. Arsenal seems to suffer injuries to their key players year after year.
Time for Wenger to change that: he has to implement a change in training regime or perhaps focus more on the physical and fitness aspects of the game to get the injured Gunners up and running.
Getting the players fit, focused and ready to jump in when required will help the Gunners this season.
STRENGTHEN IN JANUARY
Wenger needs to jump into the winter transfer this season, to strengthen the squad. Yes, it’s difficult to get a quality player during that time of the season, unless you have the money to do so – or in Wenger’s case, the inability to spend that money – but Wenger is more than capable of purchasing quality players.
Arsenal needs another midfield enforcer on their list. Song is capable, but when he’s out – who else is there? Wilshere is better as a box-to-box player, but even that he’s only 20 years old. Rosicky, Arteta and Ramsey are better creating than defending.
Also, with Arsenal overly reliant on Van Persie, it’s time Wenger finds another goal scorer. His distrust in Chamakh and Park; and with Walcott and Gervinho pushed out on to the sides, Arsenal lack that consistent goal poacher. With Van Persie were to get injured, Arsenal would find themselves in trouble.
Here is a list of players that Arsenal that should look at getting this transfer (some possible and others unlikely):
Lucho Gonzalez (Marseille), Yann M’Villa (Rennes), Gary Cahill (Bolton), Edin Hazard (Lille), Juan Manuel Vargas (Fiorentina), Christopher Samba (Blackburn), Roque Santa Cruz (Blackburn) and Roberto Soldado (Valencia)
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