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.
Not breaking down the squad list as you have done, but here are my thoughts. We definitely need a ‘world class’ striker. One that is selfish, ruthless, and lethal in front of goal. Our attack is filled with players that do not contribute enough to the goal pool to see us through a season successfully, and putting the whole load on Giroud has been proven to be impractical.
We also need to decide the formation we employ that will bring out the best in our strikers. Giroud obviously does not shine in a lone striker role, so unless we switch to a 2 man strike-force, we either need to get a Giroud replacement or an accomplice.
The midfield looks ‘solid’ enough to me. There are enough bodies in there to play the role of DM/Box-to-box midfielder without compromising the shape of the team that much.
We do need covers in central defense. Yes, we have FB players that can play in this role, but we need dedicated CB to challenge Per/Gabriel/Kos.
Overall, to successfully compete in the coming season, we need players playing in their rightful position in a formation that is suitable to their skills and talents.
Howedes and Draxler would do. Both very good players who can play a number of positions.
GN5 – great summary, can’t argue with much.
In all positions we are relying on aging players, which is good as they bring the experience and cool heads, but the younger future replacement should be more up to speed. This is probably the oldest squad we have had for many years.
I think we need reinforcements in attacking and defending areas. Proven players at the peak of their careers, say 25 year olds. Not old and pleeeease not teenagers any more. We have seen far too many of them not fulfilling their promised brilliance.
Wenger tried the youth project, he tried the out the door over 30s and both failed.
BTW, would Bergkamp retire so young in current climate? I doubt it, he would probably play 2-3 more seasons
Higuain, Drax and a top defender are minimum requirements. We have to look at our injury record alone to know that the squad we have is not big enough or filled with enough quality. Agree that a greedy and selfish No9 is priority.
didn’t both Higuaín and Draxler pooed on our offers in recent years?
On the attacking front, I think Theo is the biggest question mark. If he’s staying, then I don’t think we’re signing a wode forward. Instead we’ll rely on him, and then the likes of Ox, Campbell, Gnabry and maybe even Akpom to step up.
We will, I am certain, be signing a centre forward. Here the question is, what type. Vardy’s chase suggests that it will be someone different to Giroud. Which makes sense because Giroud is great and we have Sanogo to be his understudy. (and I like Sanogo. I think he’s unfairly made into a joke. The guy won us the FA Cup semi final with his impact. Raw and ungainly as it was.)
Last season our finishing was the lowest it’s ever been under Arsene Wenger. And yet, the shots created and shots allowed were both very good.
Also, I think the signing of Xhaka will help us out in both defense and attack, because he will improve us in transition (b/w defense and attack and vice versa) I know he’s still ‘unknown’ but I’ve been watching him in the Bundesliga for two years and he’s the closest I have seen to combining the best qualities of Arteta and Coquelin.
In defense, I don’t think we NEED a CB. We have a good balance of qualities there, and I expect Gabriel to keep on improving. However, the one quality we are lacking from a CB there is the ability with the ball. In terms of playing it out from the back. Per does this, but his lack of speed means he can’t be the first choice in our system (high line) Gabriel can’t do this. Chambers can. But I don’t know if Chambers is ready defensively. He could be. He’s had time to acclimatise, as has Gabriel.
But, if there is a CB who is a good defender and good with the ball at feet, we should get him. If we’re actively chasing a CB, I reckon that means Chambers is either going to go on loan, or be backup RB. (I hope it is the former)
I’d argue we need a backup at RB more than a CB. I don’t think Chambers should play there. Debuchy is probably gone. Jenkinson is still out with a knee injury, and much as I like him, probably isn’t the right option. This too, remains a question to be answered.
There’s question marks around the futures of Ospina, Szczesny and Gibbs too, which would make a difference to what we do in the transfer market as well.
I think both those players wanted to come but we couldn’t agree a deal with their clubs.
shard – really? hm, I seem to remember a different story. I am sure I read that the players turned down Arsenal. They wouldn’t lie in the media
Epic, almost indulgent level of squad scrutiny there. Great work, thanks.
Let’s pretend, without getting all suicidal and jumpy, that we buy no-one, could the current bunch perform better in a different system.
As we know, I’m not Ollie’s biggest fan as the lone cowboy up top, but in a brokeback kinda twosome, maybe.
Also, could in the same vein, our lack of central defenders be overcome by a similar change of system that helps us at both ends ie attack and defence.
Of course I refer to the 3-5-2
(sure, legends are made in a 2-3-5, but I’m in a sympathetic mood of compromise)
Again it comes down to our overall game plan and the sytem to apply it.
But for sure we need a CB and a FW and ideally we could add a LB and Winger…
The 3-5-2 system has its merits but we do not necessarily have the players to pull it off 😦
Xhaka looks like he’d be perfect between Kos and Gab
He, however, may not share my visionary thinking 🙂
………..Kos Xhak Gab
Sam Allardyce to be the next English manager
Fat Sam is an expert with relegation fodder style minnows 🙂 🙂
Good morning all, just finished breakfast and now I will read through the comments.
Firstly, even the fact that Fat Sam is being interviewed shows a total lack of ambition by David Gill and the FA – next up will the Arry Redknap.
Very sad indeed 😦 😦 😦
Thank you for your thoughts, I’m in agreement with you on the need for a (goal scoring) striker and more defensive coverage – especially at CB.
The average age of the entire 1st team squad is 25.5.
Age wise I’m concerned about Mertesacker and Santi plus Giroud is no exactly a spring chicken – he will be 30 on Sept 30th.
I seem to remember that Bergkamp was on a rolling one year contract for a few seasons before he left.
I would also like to see a striker who shoots on sight of the net, it’s a guarantee that if we don’t shoot we won’t score!!
Here are our goal scoring records in the PL ,
1st two columns = season
3rd column = goals scored at home.
4th column = goals scored away.
5th column = total goals scored.
The big surprise (shock) to me is that last season our goals scored at home were the lowest in 21 seasons (1994/5). I wonder if that had anything to do with the subdued atmosphere at the Emirates?
– H – A – T
1992 93 – 25 – 15 – 40
1993 94 – 25 – 28 – 53
1994 95 – 27 – 25 – 52
1995 96 – 30 – 19 – 49
1996 97 – 36 – 26 – 62
1997 98 – 43 – 25 – 68
1998 99 – 34 – 25 – 59
1999 0 – 42 – 31 – 73
2000 1 – 45 – 18 – 63
2001 2 – 42 – 37 – 79
2002 3 – 47 – 38 – 85
2003 4 – 40 – 33 – 73
2004 5 – 54 – 33 – 87
2005 6 – 48 – 20 – 68
2006 7 – 43 – 20 – 63
2007 8 – 37 – 37 – 74
2008 9 – 31 – 37 – 68
2009 10 – 48 – 35 – 83
2010 11 – 33 – 39 – 72
2011 12 – 39 – 35 – 74
2012 13 – 47 – 25 – 72
2013 14 – 34 – 29 – 63
2014 15 – 41 – 30 – 71
2015 16 – 29 – 36 – 65
Arsenal were 4th in Shots per game (15.1) behind Spurs (17.3), Liverpool (16.6) and ManCity (16.2) (Also 4th in shots from Open Play)
Second in Shots on Target (5.6) behind Spurs (6.6)
But Arsenal had the highest number of shots in the penalty area (9.5) ahead of City (8.9), Spurs (8.5) and Liverpool (8.1)
Arsenal are also 1st in shots in the 6 yd box (1.4) City were in 5th at 1.1 and Spurs 9th and 0.9
Arsenal were 18th in shots from outside the box (statistically, these shots have a 3% success rate)
In addition, Arsenal were 1st in dribbles per game (13)
It’ll surprise no one that Arsenal had the lowest number of long passes and the highest number of short passes in the league. But Arsenal also had 4 through balls per game, which is double of the next highest teams.
I believe that we have a serious imbalance in the squad with too many players to cover the mid field and attack and too few in defence.
I firmly believe that we need get a goal scoring striker and 2 or 3 seasoned players to give us more defensive coverage/stability and we achieve this by making some tough “pruning” decisions with our current squad..
The dribble and through ball numbers, along with the number of shots from inside the box (better shooting positions) suggest that penetration wasn’t a problem. We were creating chances, and good ones. We were also apparently putting them on target often enough. Just not beating the goalkeeper with them.
Also, we had 11 shots on the counter. Joint for 2nd highest with Spurs. Leicester had 13. So I don’t think we were necessarily lacking in that department either.
Finishing. Just that is what cost us the league title last season.
You are correct Shard those stats are not the least bit of a surprise to us supporter’s who sat and watched all of those (frustrating) passes – and what did they achieve?? Very tedious.
Is it time to go for a cut and trust type of game versus the tip toe through the tulips strategy?
Something has to change for us to achieve greater results – it cannot remain the same old, same old – as that has run it’s course with only minimal success.
Due to our strategy (never changing) we face brick wall defences and try to tip toe through them with a feather duster when it requires a bulldozer approach.
I still cannot believe that the FA are interviewing Fat Sam – the only thing he has achieved in his life is to increase the size of his ever expanding belly.
I think you misunderstand the point I was trying to make through the stats. (Though perhaps you interpret those stats differently and can elaborate)
I think those stats show that Shooting was not a problem, and our passing wasn’t superfluous. We created more shots in dangerous areas than anybody else, we created as many on the counter as anyone else.
I don’t think our approach was wrong at all. I think we did everything right, including shooting on target. But we either shot straight at the GK, or didn’t shoot with enough power, or both. We should have scored a lot more goals than we did precisely because we created a lot of great chances. My gut feeling and my reading of the stats both say that our problem last season was poor finishing/conversion of chances. As I recall, only Giroud matched his avg conversion rate. Everyone else fell off massively.
With this squad,my man it is a sure bet that we won’t win the league come next season.Our attack is too blunt, the mid field is o k baring injuries,which we all know would surely happen.The defence is aging,erratic and unreliable.But our goal keeping department is o k. Arsene Wenger knows what Arsenal needs to compete for and win the league.But the problem is that he wont do it.My fellow Arsenal fans,let us brace up for another dissappointing season.Did i hear someone says ‘God forbid?
Priorities- Eddie, I have always thought of you as a Princess Margaret type!
Despite definitely remembering Higuain making derogatory comments, I would invest the money in him with the suggested swop involving Giroud. Would sell both the Ox, I’m afraid, and TW and also buy Draxler.
In defence, would sell Debuchy, Gibbs and reluctantly Jenkinson. Would still try to get Wales Williams and like fgg’s suggestion of Howedes for versatility.
In terms of formation, like 352 idea but with my selections as follows
Kos. Xhaka. Williams
Bell Elneny Coq Mon or Drax
Santi or RAmsey
Ozil or Sanchez
But think AW more likely to play 442 as follows with my squad;-
Bell. Kos. Williams. Mon
Elneny. Coq. Draxler
Ozil or RAmsey
Higuain or Sanchez
Recognise keeping RAmsey and Sanchez happy may be problematic, but not if those two places and combinations are changed regularly enough for all parties to feel they “own” the system and, more significantly for me, Jack is not currently an automatic pick at present.
Before anyone says too many players are unlikely to be happy, feel that depth of players and flexibility of players in some positions is essential for four competitions and to provide for injury. There! Find.
Do we honestly believe that Wenger is going to suddenly change and start playing 3-5-2?
It’s nailed on that we will play a version of a fluid 4-3-3 with slight tweaks and changes depending on who we are playing.
I believe we will get a ST although I find the rumours about a swap between Higuain and Giroud baffling as it doesn’t help us numbers wise. I also think we’ll get a defender although I’m not convinced they will be a specialist CB, but we will see. As for RW, I think Wenger will give existing players the chance to claim that spot. It will be up to Theo, Ox, Campbell, Iwobi and JRA to force themselves into the team. All of those players are capable of being at Arsenal, but it’s time to step up now and stop f**king about.
Maximum of 2 more signings.
The point is Shard – we may have lots of shots on goal but of what use are they if they are straight at the keeper or just soft taps. It’s painfully obvious that they were not effective enough – and that has to change.
Our lowest goals scored at home in 21 seasons only serves to emphasise the fact that we need to improve on our shooting.
To be consistent also ran’s proves that we are missing the plot somewhere and that needs to change if we are to win the league.
Nicely done above: I will further simplify.
15+ more goals scored and 5 less conceded will be good enough for league.
However Arsene wants to get that done does not matter to me. Make it happen Arsenal!
Leicester City won the league by scoring only 3 goals more than us and they had the same goals against. I guess that proves the point that it’s the quality of the shooting that counts more than either the amount of goals scored or the amount of shots on goal.
It proves you need to spread out the goals; think 5 goals scored in one game and then 0’s for the next three. Leicester did the 1-0’s very well. It is not so much how many, but when, and then not conceding with 5 minutes to go or converting all those shots last year that hit wood.
That wins League!
That’s true Aaron, Leicester were very proficient at getting and holding a lead in games. They also gained a lot of points in games where they were outplayed.
This is the sort of goal scoring consistency that we need.
Gonzalo Gerardo Higuaín
Season GP GS
2006–07 19 2
2007–08 25 8
2008–09 34 22
2009–10 32 27
2010–11 17 10
2011–12 35 22
2012–13 28 16
2013–14 32 17
2014–15 37 18
2015–16 35 36
I think we need a big striker. The bigger the better.
Right-sided attacking goal-scoring genius as well.
That’s a great squad, GN5.
What will Wenger do?
1. Look for a gem to improve the squad
2. Rest the Euro players up to/ till Half September
3. Give Sanogo, Akpom, Theo a chance to proof themselves, even if a gem in attack has been added
4. Slowly reintroduce the Euro stars who then are all like new signings 😜
With or without an added gem, we will be very strong as long as we hold on to our stars. Stability, growth from within and hunger for silverware…
I don’t have your level of faith in the current squad, however if (a very big if) we stay injury free we could be in with a chance to win the league.
But I have serious doubts about our defensive stability and goal scoring ability.
Our Euro players will most likely miss the first 2/4 games and given that we have Liverpool and Leicester in our first two games we could easily drop 6 early points.
All dogs matter!!
Sorry to confuse, I was loading tomorrows post from my phone and accidentally published it 😦 doh …………………… it will be back tomorrow.
Brilliant stuff GN5, very much appreciated.
Nit picking a bit but I think there could be some discrepancy with some players as to whether they are classed as offence or midfield. AOC for instance I feel ought to be played at left wing forward so for me is part of the offence but maybe played out of position by Arsene currently in deeper midfield areas. Get him further up and back to running at defenders in their own box.
What is Ozil? Is he a number 10 / 2nd striker or an attacking midfielder? Generally as the 2nd most advanced central player he could be considered as offence but also could be a deeper numbr 10 / ACM whose main job is to pick out and feed 3 attacking players operating in front of him.
I do think Arsene is going to have to be ruthless in how he looks at the squad and also have a more coherent idea and plan about the role of certain players. I am not a big fan off bringing in more adaptable players. It is important to have some in the squad but I think we have enough adaptability in enough players already and we need 2-3 specialists.
I agree about a commanding CD but would prefer a proper CD rather than another adaptable defender. Doesn’t have to be a 23 year old from overseas. I would be delighted with someone like Williams who is EPL ready and can drop in immediately alongside Kos. He buys us 2-3 seasons by which time I am expecting Gabriel and / or Chambers to step in, neither of who look quite ready to be nailed on first choices yet.
Not fussed about a ball playing one either. Right in front of the CD we have 4 good ball playing options in Xhaka, Elneny, Cazorla and Jack who can all come and receive the pass from CD to bring it out. I think we need a ready made commanding no nonsense CD even if they can’t thread a 40m pass through 8 players. With those midfielder options I don’t feel this will be a necessity.
I don’t fancy another “can play anywhere across the front line ” attacker either. A specialised top striker if you please. Higuain ticks all the right boxes but I do like the look of Icardi as well. Either way I am feeling all Argentiniany. I think we need 2 proper strikers and 2 extra options, either from stepping up academy players and / or from the wide boys who could play there in the event of a spate of injuries.
There is an argument for a specialist right wing / wing forward player as well. I know this will make some chuckle, but I will say it again anyway, we need a lefty who prefers to predominantly play from the right. We are already overloaded with righty options in wide positions (Sanchez, Walcott, AOC, Gnabry, Danny) and this I feel exhibits one of our squad imbalances.
We have only Campbell and perhaps Iwobi or, at a stretch, Jack as options. I would question whether Campbell is not more than a very good back up option rather than top level first choice option. Iwobi has the potential but is still raw and may actually be better suited developing as a central attacking player anyway. Jack obviously has mostly played as, and looks, a central player so it would be a long-shot to consider him the permanent answer in the role, but I wouldn’t mind seeing it tried out. His injury history would also make it foolish to make him a banker for the role.
Mahrez maybe? Yarmolenko has the talent but could he move up the level and perform consistently? Big decisions to be made.
Thanks again GN5
Wenger said three signings and we’ve had one so far (I’m assuming the Japanese lad will be sent out on loan).
If Debuchy goes permanently, surely we would have to sign a replacement so I’m thinking the “3 signings” is assuming no one (else) leaves.
I don’t think we need a new CD unless Chambers is deemed unsuitable. He looked good in his brief appearances last season and my bet is for him to gradually take over Per’s position this year and next.
We definitely need a new goal scoring winger and I’d be happy for us to ship out one of the Ox or Walcott to achieve this. If Draxler is a target, and we get him, then surely he has to play regularly and where will Walcott fit then? Backup? If we get a good offer for him and we can get someone like Draxler, I say sell and upgrade. We’d presumably get £20m each for the English pair so that would help offset the cost.
Up front Wenger said we need to strengthen, and he said it before Welbeck’s injury. We have to assume Welbeck is out for the season and then a new worst case scenario is that Giroud gets a season-ending injury the day after the transfer window closes.
That is not out of the question (I believe Welbeck was brought in to cover Giroud when he broke his leg at the start of the season a few years back, and in any case you can usually rely on Arsenal to get some serious injuries…)
Consequently we do need someone up front. Vardy looked like he was going to be a Theo replacement (I heard he was being asked to play right wing) so clearly the plan was then to keep Giroud. I still think we should keep him but if there is any truth around the Higuain rumours then we are in serious business.
Giroud then likely becomes backup but he’d be a very good player to be able to bring on. £50m for a 29 year old is excellent business for Napoli (are they in any financial difficulties?) and it’s an expensive but necessary short term fix for Arsenal. I assume Higuain would be good for 3 years, but if he won us the league once or twice or got us a Champions League win then it would be fabulous.
We’d then have a few years to bring in a new striker, a younger one, to gradually phase in as Giroud got phased out.
Higuain seems like a plausible target because of his age and likely high cost will put off other teams. He’s not going to end up in Spain so unless PSG came in or Bayern, surely if he goes anywhere it would be the UK. Man U already have the Ego so not sure there’s space for Higuain; not sure about City or Chelsea.
Having said all that it’s probably just agent talk and tomorrow he’ll sign a bumper new deal at Napoli. Bummer.
Boris Johnson. Mrs May must be thinking ‘give him enough rope and he’ll hang himself’.
About black dogs. Once I was attacked by a man and a woman in the local park shouting at me ‘black dogs, black dogs, blah, blah, blah black dogs’. They just stopped themselves from saying ‘blacks’.
I told them to leave me alone as nothing happened, absolutely nothing. Dogs were off the leads happily mocking about. no, they were not satisfied. In the end I told the man ‘Look, nothing happened. you are having a bad day and you are taking it out on me. Not my fault you are married to a bitch’. The woman went purple and screamed ‘Who are you calling a bitch?’. I replied ‘You’ and did a runner. The husband laughed 🙂 People, I hate them
I have never heard of an owner of a white fluffy dog being abused because the thing is off the lead.
Ollie wants to swap places with Gonzalo! I don’t believe it. He is a Gunner, he loves it here
ha hha ha Eddie
I’m beginning to understand you better now we have a dog. My God, you get some snotty dogists
“Higuain has agreed personal terms with Arsenal. Clubs are in advanced talks”
Let’s be honest, another way of interpreting that is they haven’t got to the bit where some money has to leave the Arsenal vault, have they? 🙂
Oh dear, Eddie, what’s Boris done now?
Oh right, Foreign Sec.
Morning all …….
… New post ……
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