The Midfield Conundrum.

October 16, 2012

Sherlock Holmes said that whatever is left once you have removed the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.

What has this to do with our midfield? Well,  ….. the impossible is that we will have a fully fit midfield  to choose from, we have physical fragility in spades – Diaby, Wilshere, Rosicky, Ramsey, Frimpong, Coquelin and Arteta have all suffered long term injuries over the past few seasons and there is no reason to think this will change.

And what is improbable? That less than half of them will be fit at any one time. Add in the as yet to be damaged Ox, Arshavin and Cazorla and we have lots of choice, some might say, too much choice. At a time when all three of our Goalkeepers are under the age of 23 and two of them are crocked, it could be said that we lack squad balance – but that is another story and another post.

I would need RA mathematical qualities to work out the possible combinations of our midfield, all I know as there are too many to count on my fingers. Even if we take Cazorla and Arteta as starters  there are 8 possible partners for them. But should they be automatic starters? Is a midfield of Diaby, Wilshere and Coquelin worse? Or  Ramsey, Ox and Rosicky? etc etc etc

Should Oxlade- Chamberlain be considered as a future midfield linch-pin or a prettier Peter Beardsley?

My point is that what is left is the truth and the truth is we have too many midfield players. The skill sets of Ramsey, Rosicky, Coquelin, Wilshere, and Ox are similar – not identical but similar. I would be happy for any of them to start against any opposition, Cazorla is exceptional. We have no player who can replicate the skills of Arteta but should he be injured we will change the balance of the midfield to be either more attacking or more defensive.

What do you think will be our best midfield assuming all are fit? And what do you think it will look like in 2014? My take is:

2012   Diaby    Cazorla     Arteta

2014     O-C   Wilshere  Cazorla   Arteta

Because I believe to maximize the potential in this squad we have to play  4-3-1-2 with Ox being the 1.

The difficulty will be juggling the fantastic talent we will have behind the first eleven. Wages can be a recompense – it works for Nasri, Kolo, Cahill, Malouda, Nani etc but a truly ambitious player will want first team action and many of our squad players are highly talented lads who have yet to fulfill their potential, something I feel sure they will agitate for.

Lost in the Midfield

For the first time  I can recall we have an area of the pitch which is flooded with exceptional talent.  How would you sort it out ? I have no idea but then I am not paid £6m a year.

( pic c/o Didit )

Written very quickly by Big Raddy

ARsenAL: Weak in the Middle?

August 12, 2010
Written by Barumgooner

Since Flamini and Gilberto left we have had a big hole in the middle which we have failed to fill. At every transfer window I have found myself hoping and praying that Arsène sees this and purchases an experienced defensively minded midfielder. Most of the Arsenal supporting world has also seen this and yet Mr Wenger has refused to delve into the market leaving us all so terribly disappointed and the team sadly lacking. The reasons why can be explained by the lack of funds available as such a player would surely cost upwards of £15m and it seems that this sort of expenditure has been beyond us (but apparently not anymore).

Then there is the theory that AW doesn’t want to scupper the chances of the younger players getting first team opportunities which is admirable and I for one have longed for the day when we actually have a few players competing for places in the England squad again.

Congratulations to  Kieran Gibbs who was completely unfazed by the occassion last night and was one of England’s best players in the second half. Unfortunately Jack Wilshere didn’t really have enough time to show what he could do coming on with only 10 minutes to go.

I would also hate to see us become a buying club making wholesale changes season after season and simply paying whatever it takes to get the next ‘star’ player who will transform the team from average Joes to title challengers only to see the ‘team’ become a collection of ego’s and starnames rather than a capable solid unit (team). It isn’t the Wenger way and I am glad of that however the sad truth is that if we had that relatively minor investment a couple of seasons ago things could have been so very different. Song was a revelation in the holding role last year with his power and energy but does he need help and do we need  more cover/options ?

This is the bit where I have become unsure.  I  find myself in two minds as to whether the need is there anymore with so much young talent available…but potential is one thing, stepping up to the mark is another and the question is do we take the gamble that one or more of these lads will sieze the opportunity ? The biggest frustration for me during these years of financial constraint disguised as “project youth” has been the reluctance of players to take their shot and prove their worth.

We have seen Frimpong have a great couple of games in the Emirates cup in the holding role and this certainly gives us hope for the future along with Eastmond and Lansbury who could also provide alternatives to the obvious purchase of a ready-made player but we have been teased with such promise before. A two-game friendly show-piece is a totally different ball game from the week-in week-out battles of the premiership.

Whether the fear of failure or the lack of desire or purely not being good enough has restricted some of the young players in the past I dont know but does AW gamble again on so much potential or buy a more mature player to help bring these lads on? Personally I prefer the latter, IMO the young players at the club have had to hit the ground running and this is why many have fallen. As good as they are they would be better if they had the opportunity to learn from more experienced players whilst ultimately striving to take the position for their own.

Its been said many times but over the years we have released too much experience too readily and left the apprentices to learn their trade for themselves.  Sol proved in a small way last season what a difference an older head can bring to the game and to me unfortunately I’m going to be sitting here at christmas hoping AW will bring in a CM in the January sales again!