How Arsenal can potentially restart in 2017/2018

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With many of our major stars contracts in limbo and the manager situation up in the air, it seems Arsenal need to restart. Who ever the manager is there seems likely to be major changes in the playing staff as well as backroom staff.

The article will be based on the assumption that Arsene Wenger will be the manager for next season and Sanchez/Ozil will go. It does not take into account the contract situations of  the other players such as Wilshere, Gibbs, The Ox and Cazorla to name a few of the others. Below are just some issues I think the club need to address on the pitch.

Youth investment:

When Arsenal were at their best Wenger would constantly buy the best youth players from all over the world. Players such as Fabregas, Cliche, Oxlade Chamberlen, Theo Walcott and Van Persie were all brought in at a younger age, we also went after Christiano Ronaldo. We are losing top quality players to Chelsea and Man City, they offer higher wages but much less chance into the first team. Some of you may suggest putting all the investment into the first team now but strong clubs survive on long term planning.

We need to have a big recruitment drive across the world, particularly following how Dortmund attract top young talents.

Long term first team replacements: Goalkeeper

I think Cech is a top class goalkeeper but with age against him and the likely departure of David Ospina Arsenal need to start looking long term. The candidates for this role are:

Joe Hart – Would be an ideal keeper for the next 5/6 seasons for Arsenal. He brings a bit of leadership and passion to Arsenal something we lack. The only question is if Manchester City would sell him to us.

Jordon Pickford – Although he has only one season of first team experience under his belt, he has already shown he has quality. The transfer could be more likely if Sunderland relegate this season. He would have to wait his time though to displace Cech. Is he willing to wait his time?

Gianlugi Donnaruma – Only 19 but is already Milan’s number one and also heir apparent to Buffon. It would take massive offer to take him from Milan and also to fend off interest from other big clubs in Europe.

Long term first team replacements: Outfield

Our troubles seem to have stemmed from the Santi Cazorla from injury. We do not have another player who can transition the play from deeper in midfield all the way into attack. With his age, contract situation and injury record it might be worth bringing in a younger player to replace him long term.

With Ozil and Sanchez also likely to leave that leaves a serious lack of goals and assists drained from this side. The suggested players are:

Asier Illarramendi – Although he probably is slightly more defensive than Cazorla, he is still a player capable of controlling a midfield. Constantly linked with Arsenal it could actually happen this year.

Kylian Mbappe – If we were sitting here 10 years ago Mbappe would already have been an Arsenal player. Young, French, plays up front or on the wing and a hot prospect. This signing could go down as another we have missed in five years time when he is banging the goals in for a rival of ours.

Bernardo Silva – A player who can offer something a bit different. I think we probably will not get this man with Man Utd and Chelsea also in for him, but trying for him might not be the worst thing. If we can persuade him to join Arsenal it could be the game changer we need. A little like the Bergkamp signing.

Romelu Lukaku – Again another player Arsenal should be going for if we are to show any ambition. Yes he will be expensive but given his age the return will be there from Lukaku. It looks like he will leave Everton with many clubs circling around. Arsenal should be one of these clubs.

Arsenal should also look to buy stronger players who add value with work rate passion and those who are tactically aware. These are skills that the current Arsenal squad are lacking.

Can Alexis lead Arsenal to the Title?

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There are many factors that will decide the destination of the league. One of the factors which will decide Arsenal’s fortune is the form and fitness of Alexis Sanchez.

The combination of Oliver Giroud’s injury, Perez finding his feet in the team and Walcott  know realising he’s a winger has meant that we have seen the first sight of Alexis as a striker. So far we seen the Alexis experiment work wonders. The usually flying winger has started 8 games and has contributed to 9 goals for the side, most of these as a striker.

The above stats just highlight how important Alexis is for Arsenal, but the key question is can he keep up the form upfront over a prolonged period? Throughout his career Sanchez has generally played off the wing or with another striker. His partnership with Vargas for Chile has been very fruitful.

There is no place harder to ply your trade up front on your own in the Premier League. Case in example is Andrie Arshavin who was left out to dry by Wenger when he inexplicably picked him as a lone striker against Stoke at their strongest.

What Arsenal now have with Sanchez working out is two options, when Arsenal play sides such as Burnley or Stoke, Giroud would work better up front or with Alexis. Against the top sides who come at Arsenal a bit more, Sanchez up front will be deadly. A horses for courses approach should be taken this season.

The season will be interesting but the signs are promising for Arsenal.

Five reasons for Arsenal to be positive

Its seems just a few weeks back that it seemed like doom and gloom for Arsenal this season. How quickly things can change. I still think there is a lot more to see from Wenger and the squad but overall its more positive than it was. Here are five reasons why every Arsenal fan should be positive at the moment:

1. Positive injury news + New Squad Players = Strong Squad

With Ozil, Koscielny, Giroud, Theo and Ramsay all back in recent weeks, our squad looks strong again. Now all we are missing is Wilshere, Arteta, Debuchy, Welbeck as well as the always injured Diaby. Add our two new defensive signings Bielik and Paulista to this and we are starting look at a balanced side. Lets not forget the recall of Coqulen who has been fantastic since his return.

2. We have our pace back

With Walcott back in the side we are getting ever so close to seeing the fastest attacking line in the history of football. Welbeck, Sanchez and Walcott. Supplemented by The Ox, Bellerin and Ozil all of whom are not slow. Counter attacks are back!

3. FA Cup could be on again

With Chelsea, Man City, Spurs and Southampton all going out in a crazy Saturday afternoon the path for FA Cup glory has opened up slightly. Man Utd, Liverpool, West Ham and the rugby team who call themselves Stoke are still left in. All good sides but none of them are in the Champions League like us. So in my eyes we should be favourites, but it all depends on the draw.

4. Players are stepping up now

We have seen different players stepping up. Be it Santi Cazorla and Coqulen vs Man City or Rosicky against Brighton, it is not all down to Alexis Sanchez every game. With Ozil, Walcott back now squad rotation should see all our attackers rested.

5. Champions League is back next month

Champions League knockout games are what club football is all about for me. I have grown up not knowing what it would be like to support a side that play in the Uefa Cup (Europa League now). Well all apart from that one blip seasons where we didn’t make it out the second group stage of the Champions League. Yeah you may recall we lost in the final of the Uefa Cup that season.

Night like these are what separates us from the likes of Tottenham or Liverpool. I look forward to the double header against Monaco. Be warned they have seen a marked improvement in form since the draw. We should be wary of them. I fell we still can win though.

Counter Attacking the Key to Sunday’s Match

There has been a lot said about Arsenal’s performances in the last few years in big games, especially those away from home. We have had quite a few spankings on our travels. From memory I can remember one at Old Trafford a few seasons back and last seasons embarrassing results away to Liverpool, Man City as well as a horror show against Chelsea too.

So far we have avoided being ridiculed at Stamford Bridge and Anfield, but Sunday is another test. I feel we had gone wrong in the last few seasons, Arsenal would normally push up to much in order to score. When we did not the other teams would counter attack and score. There is no need to over attack from the get go, patients is something the other sides have over us.

In terms of tactics for this game I would seriously consider a change in tactics. I honestly feel we should employ the counter attack more in games like this. This is not saying we put ten men behind the ball and give the ball to Theo, Alexis and Welbeck to run, it means be more selective as when to attack.

This ruthless counter attack has been employed by Man Utd to great effect this season, us being one of their victims. What we need to do is sit slightly deeper than we have been in other big games. We have started to press teams pretty well over the last games. This is something that both Welbeck and Alexis do particularly well.

Arsenal are normally the ones to over attack in the big games, meaning teams simply wait and counter us. A slight change of emphasis could put Manchester City off their game plan.