Here is the 2016/17 squad as listed on Arsenal.com
1 Chuba – Akpom – 20
2 Joel – Campbell – 24
3 Olivier – Giroud – 29
4 Serge – Gnabry – 21
5 Alex – Iwobi – 20
6 Alexis – Sanchez – 27
7 Yaya – Sanogo – 23
8 Theo – Walcott – 27
9 Danny – Welbeck – 25
Average age of Attackers = 24.0
1 Gabriel – Armando de Abreu- 25
2 Hector – Bellerin – 21
3 Calum – Chambers – 21
4 Mathieu – Debuchy – 30
5 Kieran – Gibbs – 26
6 Carl – Jenkinson – 24
7 Laurent- Koscielny – 30
8 Per – Mertesacker – 31
9 Nacho – Monreal – 30
Average age of Defenders = 26.4
1 Petr – Cech – 34
2 Emiliano – Martinez – 23
3 David – Ospina – 27
4 Wojciech- Szczesny – 26
Average age of Goalkeepers =27.5
1 Santiago- Cazorla Gonzalez – 31
2 Francis – Coquelin – 25
3 Mohamad- Elneny – 24
4 Alex – Oxlade-Chamberlain- 22
5 Mesut – Ozil – 27
6 Aaron – Ramsey – 25
7 Jack – Wilshere – 24
8 Granit – Xhaka – 23
Average age of Midfielders = 25.1
Here are my thoughts…………..
From an attacking standpoint we obviously lack a cutting edge and if we are to have any chance at all of winning the PL that is a situation that cannot be ignored.
Both Walcott and Welbeck are injury prone and we cannot continue to wish and hope that they will suddenly be injury free and become our saviours. Theo Walcott has had ample opportunities to show his worth but constant injuries have delayed his growth or he simply does not have the overall skill set required. Danny Welbeck has shown tantalizing glimpses of his ability (especially for England) but can we afford to constantly hope that he will become injury free?
Giroud and Sanchez are both top class internationals and while neither had a stellar 2015/16 both should and will remain as an integral part of our squad.
We have five younger players in Akpom, Campbell, Gnabry, Iwobi and Sanogo; while they all show good potential only Campbell and Iwobi have made an impact in the first team.
Should we sell some of these players and then replace them with players who can convert the chances that our midfield presents them with? Or do we continue to wait and wish and hope that things improve?
We desperately need to solve this dilemma.
Looking at our defence I see two issues one is of age and the other being coverage. We have four players Debuchy, Koscielny, Mertesacker and Monreal who are 30 plus while this is not very old for their positions they will undoubtedly need to be replaced in the not so distant future. With both Debuchy and Jenkinson on loan last season we were left with only seven players to cover four positions and that minimized the opportunities for rotation.
Our main pairings in 2015/16 were Koscielny and Gabriel at CB with Bellerin and Monreal as our FB’s – that left us with just Chambers, Mertesacker and Gibbs as our back ups for the four positions.
This leaves several questions:
- Should Debuchy and Jenkinson remain on our squad?
- Will Chambers fulfill his potential?
- Is this Mertesacker’s final season?
- Do we need to have eight defensemen on our squad?
This is one area where it appears we are in good “hands” with Cech as our number one and Ospina, Szczesny and Martinez as our current and future coverage.
Injuries continue to plague the careers of Wilshere, Ramsey and Oxlade and last season
Sanchez, Cazorla and Coquelin were also out for extended periods. Elneny had an impressive first season in the PL and we have an unknown quantity in our new signing Granit Xhaka.
Take away the injuries and we look to be in a strong position especially with the additions of Elneny and Xhaka.
1) Should injury prone players be replaced?
2) Are we force fitting players into the wrong position?
3) We have 17 players to cover only 6 positions – are there too many?
Premier league squad rules prevail in the selection of a team and to the best of my knowledge these are the rules that apply.
Premier League squad rules
- A club cannot have more than 17 foreign players who don’t fall under the ‘Home Grown Player’ status.
- A club can name as many U-21s as they like, even over and above the limit of 25 players.
- To qualify as a home-grown player, a player must have been registered with any club tied to the Football Association or Football Association of Wales for at least three whole seasons or 36 months, all before they turn 21. However, it does not have to have been in one continuous stretch.