We have been underperforming as a team for some time. Few if any of our players could be described as being in top form. The signs against Barcelona were encouraging and we certainly didn’t disgrace ourselves – but two of the best performers (Elneny and Iwobi) weren’t what you might consider to be first team regulars yet.
Is the problem more to do with the team than the individuals, or is it that the players aren’t taking enough individual responsibility? A player can only be his best when others around him are also on top of their game, so clearly the two are interdependent. A team that is performing well can carry a couple of players who are below par, but a single player cannot carry a whole team unless he is a truly exceptional leader – and I don’t think we have anyone of that character in the squad. The team ethic is paramount.
One mark of a good side is actually knowing what your strongest eleven is and getting the best blend of players to gel into an effective team.
So I got to wondering how many of the currently available players would be categorised as ‘first names on the team sheet’.
Not enough is my answer!
These are the outfield players I would categorise as ‘must play’ in the important game ahead against Everton – there are only 6!
Koscielny, Bellerin, Elneny, Monreal, Ozil and Welbeck
That leaves 4 positions where I can’t see a clear first choice – and apart from the one CB, they are all in midfield/attacking midfield. The emergence of Iwobi as a ‘proper Arsenal player’ is one of the highlights of the season and I’d also play him on Saturday although he features just below my ‘must play’ rating.
How many and who would be your ‘must start’ players against Everton?
You can choose up to 10 (goalkeepers are not included) in the poll below and then review the results later in the day to see whether others agree.