Three reasons why Arsenal won’t win the Premier League this season
Ned Bristow gives three reasons why Arsenal won’t win the Premier League this season
It speaks volumes when you can bring in one of the world’s best goalkeepers and still be talking about a leaky defence. This is the case for Arsenal, as they continue to stockpile attacking players and neglect the glaring weaknesses in their defensive unit. While it’s all well and good for Arsene Wenger to go in for a big name striker – as they need a consistent goalscorer – he should also be looking with the same importance at his defensive midfield and centre back positions. While Francis Coquelin had a brilliant season last time round, it seems all but Wenger can see that competition is needed a player as inexperienced as Coquelin is not necessarily the man to instil belief in those around him – not solely at least. He needs a player with hundreds of games alongside him or ahead of him in the pecking order to help his development, which will unquestionably be helped by consistent game time but also potentially hindered if the season becomes a turbulent struggle. In defence, the side would benefit from another top-class centre-half to compete with and provide back up to Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny. While Wenger is known and must be praised for his blooding of youngsters in high pressure situations, Calum Chambers development has been questionable and the Gunners would do well to bring in another experienced name to fill in for situations like these where their two first choice men are side-lined.
2) Lack of ruthlessness
As well as lingering problems as the back, Arsenal need a top-class goal-scorer to net consistently and lead the attack. As Thierry Henry stated at the end of last season, Olivier Giroud is a good player who unquestionably appeals to Wenger due to his high team work-rate, but you can’t win the league with him. Similarly, Theo Walcott is clearly not trusted by his manager as a lone striker in the current system, and has only hit double figures in league goals once in his career. While not big spenders, it is well known that they have a big budget if needed and top class strikers certainly require a big budget in the modern game. Rebuffed multiple times this summer, Wenger needs to set his crosshairs on a single striker and gun for him with all his financial might. Sergio Aguero or Diego Costa equivalent, it is difficult to see Arsenal pushing beyond a comfortable top-four finish into the title-winning equation. It appears as if Wenger is attempting to forge a front four who are all equally involved in the attacking process and would ideally all chip in with around 15 goals each, but he needs a player who can bring others into play while leading the attack and sniffing out 20 goals a season in order to propel his strike force into a lethal formation that will seriously threaten at the top of the table.
3) Lack of personality
Looking back at title winning sides over the past few years, there are names that immediately jump out at you: the flair player, the top scorer, the surprise package of creativity. But to balance this, you need the elder statesmen. The stalwarts, full of experience, who pass on their knowledge and support to those around them as they quietly go about their business. They are players who have been there and done it, and bring with them the experience of champions to those who may lose their focus halfway through the campaign. Looking at the Arsenal side, it is tricky to find that balance. Where United had – among many experienced names – Rio Ferdinand, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and of course Sir Alex Ferguson in 2012/13, City had Vincent Kompany, Yaya Toure and James Milner the following season and Chelsea John Terry, Petr Cech and Didier Drogba last season. Arsenal can now rely on Cech, along with Per Mertesacker and, at a push, Mesut Özil, but it is difficult to look further. The Gunners’ other senior players do not have the experience of winning titles in England, which is increasingly essential despite the influx of extraordinary talents from across the world. The grit is still necessary, and they simply wont find it in Mikel Arteta, Tomasz Rosicky or Laurent Koscielny. It is widely accepted that Arsene Wenger should bring – or should have brought – in a centre half, defensive midfielder and striker. And of this trio, it would likely have been the least exciting but most experienced addition that would have helped Wenger to another long-awaited Premier League medal. As things stand, Arsenal undoubtedly represent a huge attacking threat full of talent, but will struggle to stick it out during the course of the unique marathon event that is an English season.