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Arsenal have started the season with 10 wins in 11 games in all competitions. Top of the league and their Champions’ league group, hopes for this season are high around the Emirates. However, away from Arsenal there seems to be a lot of scepticism about the depth of the squad and it’s capability to challenge for trophies. Although I do agree that the squad needs strengthening, I believe it’s a case of one or two additions, rather than the masses that critics are suggesting. Here’s my assessment of the squad:

Goalkeepers: Sczezney, Fabianski, Viviano- Sczezney has impressed this season after a sluggish start against Aston Villa. Not yet as good as Mignolet, Lloris and Cech but every bit as good as Hart and De Gea on current form. In Fabianski I’d argue that only Tottenham and Chelsea have better second choice ‘keepers in Freidel and Schwarzer as he’s easily as good as/better than Lindegaard, Pantilimon and Jones. Viviano is a somewhat unknown quantity but a man with 6 Italy caps as understudy to Buffon can’t be a bad option.

Defenders: In Sagna, Jenkinson, Monreal and Gibbs Arsenal have two quality internationals for each full back position. Only Man City have similarly adequate options at full back in my opinion. Centre-back is one area I feel Arsenal need to strengthen in as they only have 3 senior centre-backs whereas Liverpool, Man Utd, Man City and Chelsea all have at least four

Midfield: In the deep lying midfield roles Arsenal have Flamini, Arteta, Ramsey, Wilshere, Diaby (when fit) and Rosicky who are comfortable playing there. These players have all proven to quality in this position and in terms of quantity and consistently proven premier league class only Chelsea can match this with the likes of Lampard, Mikel, Ramires , Essien and Oscar. Man City, Man Utd and Liverpool have excellent first-choice options for these positions but their replacements haven’t recently shown that they have what it takes to be top premier league midfielders (e.g Javi Garcia, Rodwell, Anderson, Cleverly, Henderson, Allen). In the three positions behind the striker, Arsenal have exceptional quality, quantity and versatility. The likes of Ozil, Cazorla, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Wilshere have all shown that they can perform in any of the 3 positions. Theo Walcott and Lukas Podolski both showed that they are highly capable as widemen last season, although both would prefer to play at centre forward, yet more versatility.

Strikers: While I believe that any additions in this position would have been useful, I think that the suggestions that Arsenal desperately need a new centre forward are exaggerated. Last season’s 17 goals and 10 assists was an impressive if not spectacular return for Giroud in his first season. His early season form suggests that he has fully adapted and is heading for 25-30 goals this season. In terms of the perceived “lack of cover” many people forget that Lukas Podolski’s favoured position is as a centre forward. Quick, strong and deadly in front of goal Podolski’s 11 goals in 25 starts mostly from the left wing suggest that he would have no problem getting the goals up front if called upon. Behind him Theo Walcott is a viable option as his much improved finishing skills got him 21 goals last season as the clubs top scorer.  Failing that there is forgotten man Bendtner who can be a useful striker when he applies himself. He may not be a long term solution but his 22 goals in 40 premier league starts tells us that he could fill in if there were an injury crisis.

With the above observations in mind, here is my ideal match day squad:

Starting 11

                                                      Sczezney

Sagna                    Mertesacker                  Koscielny                      Gibbs

                                          Flamini              Ramsey

           Walcott                                 Ozil                               Cazorla

                                                      Giroud

Subs:

Fabianski/Viviano

Vermalen

Jenkinson/Monreal

Wilshere

Arteta

Rosicky

Oxlade-Chamberlain

Podolski

Of course this is purely hypothetical as it is rare for Arsenal to have everyone fit at the same time, at the time of writing Arsenal are without Cazorla, Chamberlain, Walcott, Podolski, Diaby and Sagna due to injuries. However, if you take six potential starters, all regular internationals out of any premier league squad, it’ll look considerably weak. In my opinion this is a squad good enough to rival any in the premier league and that’s without quality players such as Rosicky, Diaby and Monreal. Hardly a “thin” squad and I haven’t even mentioned promising youngster Gnabry who is currently breaking into the first team or summer signing Sanogo. If Arsenal can stay in touch with the top of the league until January, they may be just a centre-back and defensive midfielder away from winning it.

Stats courtesy of arsenal.com