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.

A New Formation For Arsenal?

Currently most Premier League Clubs find it fashionable to play a 4-3-2-1 otherwise known as the old 4-3-3 formation. Arsenal were one of the last clubs to leave the traditional 4-4-2 formation after the retirement of Dennis Bergkamp.

It can be argued that we need to have three players in central midfield to counter other teams who have three in central midfield. This is a theory that the team needs a Guttuso as the out and out defensive midfielder, a Pirlo to link the defence and attack and an attack minded midfielder like Kaka. The variation on this is to play two strong defensive midfielders like Matic and Obi Mikel as that boring team often does.

The downside to this formation is that the team needs non traditional wingers who can score, assist and also track back from high up the pitch from attacking positions, as well as a more complete lone striker.

We have pacy wingers who all do to their credit create a lot of assists and do track back. Arsenal do lack goals from the wingers and often a lot of this burden is put onto Sanchez. Upfront we have two strikers who are both very good but both lack a clear attribute to be great as a lone striker.

Giroud has the hold up play, strength and a decent knack of scoring goals. He however lacks true pace to be a great lone striker. Walcott is the opposite, he lacks the hold up play and the killer eye for a goal when he is not on high confidence.

There are plenty of opportunities where Arsenal could take the game to opponents, possibly not in the big games but against sides like Newcastle, Aston Villa and West Brom we should be looking to attack.

I personally would try out the 4-4-2 formation that got Wenger so much success in his early days. This would be a midfield of Coquelen and Ramsay or Wilshere. Ozil and Sanchez on the wings with Theo and Giroud up front. Theo and Sanchez would be swapping positions.

Why is Wenger so rigid to his formations? It surely should be horses for courses? Let me know any of you agree that we should experiment a bit more with two up front.

Another striker out the door? Why?

It seems that in strengthening our defence we have decided to leave our selves short again up front. Podolski jetted out to Inter, Sanogo to Palace and now it seems that we are letting Campball go to Villarreal.

Campball and Sanogo were not my favourite strikers but atleast they provided competition to the likes of Giroud and Welbeck. I can understand the decision in the club letting all three of these strikers go but will we be left short again?

So now we have Giroud and Welbeck as our two out and out strikers. The former who has already suffered a long injury this season and the later who is currently injured. Welbeck had a fair few injuries in his time at Manchester United also. We then have Sanchez and Walcott who can play up front. I personally think both are more effective from a wider position.

I like Akpom a lot, but there was also talk of a potential loan move to MK Dons. Him being the replacement for the former Arsenal striker Afobe. He needs game time but we also need bench strength.

God forbid we have another injury crisis, this time up front we will be left wondering again why Podolski was frozen out. On a positive note it looks like we have spent good money on a decent centre back.

Realistic Arsenal January Transfers

Logo-Arsenal As with most seasons it seems that we are short of quality in key areas, these are the same areas that Arsenal fans have been calling to be filled for the last five seasons. There could be an argument to say that Arsenal need a dominant player through the spine of the team. This being a poacher upfront, a dominant midfielder, combative centre back and a trust worthy goalkeeper. Lets forget strikers for the time being as Giroud, Welbeck, Sanchez and Walcott can get us through this season. The wingers when fit are the best options in the league, if fit Theo, Sanchez, Welbeck, Ozil, The Ox and Santi Cazorla make these up. I personally think we need a goalkeeper, but Ospina is a steady option for us until the Summer. Martinez is a good back up keeper while I feel Szczesny will be kept until the summer where he will probably start to look elsewhere. The pressing positions are at CB and DMC. The needs are must so big money may have to be spent. Lets not delude ourselves WE WILL NOT BE GETTING HUMMELS or EVEN A PLAYER LIKE GODIN THIS JANUARY!

CB Options:

1. James Tomkins (CB)– (Surprised?) It is clear we are after Winston Reid but Tomkins is the real star here. He is the ball winner in his partnership with Reid. Tomkins would be the long term replacement for Mertesacker. We should not let what happened with Gary Cahill happen with Tomkins as he has the potential to be of a similar quality. Very low chance of this happening.

2. Winston Reid (CB) – It is very unlikely that Wenger will pay over the top money for a player he can get for a free in the summer. So it will be a test of West Ham’s nerve. I don’t think they have an issue with just letting him go for free, especially if they can’t get their replacement in. If we do not get him in January I think we will be seeing him in the red of Man Utd or Liverpool instead next season. A good player who would improve us greatly. he would be the cover we need when Koscielny is injured.

3. Nacho Fernandez (CB/RB/LB) – He is a good defender who plays at Real Madrid, he  has had little game time. That is not surprising considering the players who he has in front of him. A defender who is primarily a CB but can play anywhere along the back line. One of Jose Mourinho’s boys that he promoted up from the youth system. With a bit of game time he could be a gem of a premier league player. He has one international cap to his name and is pretty highly rated. He is also a more realistic option to purchase over Varane (who also struggles to get into the Real Madrid side).

4. Philipe Mexes (CB) – This would be at least ten years too late, just like we missed out on a young Vincent Kompany we sort of missed the boat on Mexes. He is now 32 but could still be a value signing in January, bringing lots of experience. He is also French and may be looking for one last pay day. I would love this to happen but again do not see Wenger go for a stop gap option. Mexes would definitely mix it up against the likes of Stoke.

Other CB Options: These are probably more likely to happen – Howdes, Perrin. We have been linked with these players pretty heavily so who knows. Nastasic at Man City could be another option but it might be hard for them to help us out.

Defensive Midfield Signings:

1. Adrien Rabiot – He has had a season ravaged by injury so far. But watching him last year there is defiantly a quality player there. At only 19 years old this would be a long term signing, but one Wenger would relish. Rabiot is tipped to hold the French midfield in years to come with Paul Pogba. Despite his slight frame he actually adds defensive cover. Wenger do it!

2. William Carvalho – I will be honest, I have not seen much of Carvalho. All I have seen is bits and bobs of his game against Chelsea. This is not really enough to go on, but saying all that everyone else seems to think he is the real deal. Including his club who have slapped an high value on his head. Lets see more of him to judge.

Luxury Signings For The Summer:

  • Juan Quintero – We do have a lot of attacking midfielders at the club but lets not forget the injuries we have every season. This kid is quality, he should be made to shadow someone of Santi Cazorla for a season and eventually take over from him.
  • Jackson Martinez – It was this time last year that his name cropped up when I wrote about us signing him. We should still make this plan a reality in the summer. Just so no other rival team can snap him up.
  • James Milner – Many people dislike him, but at the age of 27 he still has many many good years ahead of him. Whats better is that he could be available on a free transfer who would say no?
  • Chuba Akpom – Not a new signing but someone who should be treated like one next season. If we do not enter the market for another striker he is a perfect number 3 striker for us.