How to Make Arsenal Champions

 

In my mind, there are two great Champions of the Premier League recently, Arsenal 2003/04, and Manchester United 2007/08. 

 

Arsenal 2003/04 was arguably the greatest club team of all time, after going the entire league season without losing a single game. Manchester United 2007/08 had a great team that had one main key to victory: squad depth, and the fact that Sir Alex Ferguson could pick any player in any position and still win. 

 

One attribute that both of these Champions share was a solid defense. Arsenal currently does not. In 2006/07, our main defensive weakness was set pieces. We have highly improved with that, and are even scoring off set pieces now! As Wenger has said now, our main weakness has been long, Route One balls down the middle. 

 

The reason for this weakness is the fact that we don’t have a dominating defender, who can cut out balls left and right, in the air, on the ground, down the middle, on the side. Gallas and Toure are both identical defenders. They are both short, quick, good decision making, reliable defenders, but after two season together, we now know that they do not work as a pair.

 

Statistically, when 6’3, nonsense defender Phillippe Senderos played alongside Toure or Gallas, Arsenal’s defense was better. In his first spell of starts last year, from Blackburn, in August, to Sunderland, in October, Arsenal let in 5 goals in 11 games. And they didn’t lose. In his second spell, from West Ham in January, to Wigan in March, Arsenal, on much worse form, let in 7 goals in 15 games.

So when Senderos played, we let in less goals. When he played, from the 26 starts he had, he let in 12 goals. That’s less than half a goal a game. When Toure and Gallas started together, they let in 14 goals in 15 games. That is just not alright for a team of our stature. Without Senderos, imagine where we’d be. So for those of you who said that he is the reason of our downfall, he is not, he pretty much kept us in the Champions League for next season. 

 

The moral of the story is, for a defensive partnership to work, you need a quick, footballing defender, and a no nonsense, brick wall of a defender. Whether that defender is Senderos or not, I don’t know. But the partnership of Toure and Gallas just isn’t going to work for Arsenal, and Gallas really has to leave the club. 

 

In the entire attacking section of Arsenal we are fine. But with the exit of Flamini, we don’t have a good enough replacement in Diaby, Denilson, or Gilberto. We need a new defensive midfielder to replace Flamini. In my opinion we really shouldn’t have sold Diarra, if he were only a little more patient he would be starting now for Arsenal. That is our next issue, to sign a DM. Also we need to give Theo Walcott a starting spot if Hleb leaves, as he certainly deserves one, and has more goals that Hleb does, despite having half the starts. 

 

If we get rid of Gallas, and get a new, quality DM, and start Walcott, we will be challengers next year. 

If Nasri is signed it will probably be just for depth’s sake. 

19 Responses to How to Make Arsenal Champions

  1. Henry says:

    Aulmunia

    Sagna Senderos Toure Clichy

    Rosicky Fabregas Nasri

    Helb Vela

    Adebayor

  2. arsenal_fan16 says:

    interesting post, im still not a fan of senderos though

  3. SB says:

    I think you’re forgetting how vital some of Gallas’s goals were. To say we are better with Senderos is naive, stats can be spun anyway you want it. My nephew watched one arsenal game and we won it! i can now say we are much better on average when he watches us than when he don’t. See? Silly huh.

    Diarra was unfortunate but that’s football, i doubt Nasri will be signed as a ‘depth’ player he’s far too good for that. I think he will be around 15+ starts and maybe 10 subs if he signs for next season same with vela but will both feature heavily in the future. Walcott does need to start more games i agree with you on that. Can he do a Ronaldo and win us the PL and CL…i dunno, i doubt it.

    We do need a DM that’s true and maybe Diaby could fill that void in the future. As for the CB someone of the Adams mould would do nicely.

    Take care, SB

  4. CaribKid says:

    Fair assessment except for two points:
    1) We still allowed an inordinate amount of goals from set pieces, including one where the wall did not even jump and RVP ducked. Also, aside from RVP we have no other offensive set piece threat.

    2) Although Senderos is good in the air and would create a better partnership with either Toure or Gallas he lacks the pace, aggressiveness and venom of a Campbell or Adams. We need a Vidic/Terry type to add that sting in defense.

  5. naga gunner says:

    First step to become champions. SELL SENDEROS!!!!

    my goodness I cant believe that he is still in an arsenal shirt!!!!

  6. Cojones says:

    Really thoughtful post guv.

    Most Gooners know that this is a turning point for us. We know how good Arsene’s been – and we know how the long term future of the club is safe as long as he’s around. But conversely, we will lose ground significantly long term, if we have another”worthy” season playing great football, blooding new players and winning nowt.

    There is a fistful of good players on the verge of breaking through Vela, Merida, Lansbury, Nazarate, Gibbs, Norsveldt, Pedro etc..

    We’re adding another batch of good youngsters by the look of it.

    So do we inhibit that progress by buying short term? I guess now , especially given the unwelcome attentions of wannabe oligarchs, we have to.

    What would you do in Arsene’s place? Get rid of the disaffected. (Hleb probably- maybe Adebayor) Examine cover for the broken (Eduardo, Rosicky Van Persie).

    And face facts about 4 key areas.

    Like you said, Stopping Route One. Gallas and Toure doesn’t work. Djourou is not good enough as back up. Nordsveldt is too inexperienced. Sell Gallas. (Never was a good captain!) Keep Senderos. Is Kompany the addition? And then. if the rumours are right, bring in TA to coach them.

    Replace Bobby Pires. Neither Hleb nor Rosicky have done it. Robinho turned us down before. Nasri looks the best bet, but Zarate might do it if they don’t bump up the price? Interesting that Wenger talked about Premiership experience as a key factor in who he will buy….

    Replace Paddy. More important than the Flamini gap which neither Denilson nor Diaby can fill and without a proper experienced replacement Fabregas will burn out and maybe leave. Makoun looks outstanding. Or even Yaya – if Gallas goes.

    If we can get these 3 places right then its cover for what Eduardo and Van Persie may not give for most of next season. Santa Cruz has “cojones” He would be perfect (And piss off Mark Hughes – always a lifetime ambition!) Eto’o is great but too short term – Van Huntelaar is too much like what we already have. Benzema would be better but over priced.

    Four areas -four key players – wouldn’t transform us. But we wouldn’t be trophy-less next year And given the conveyor belt taht Arsene has constructed, maybe not for several years to come?

  7. dial square says:

    There too many people who view Adams and Campbel with rose-tinted glasses. Campbell was an international before joined Arsenal. And Tony’s best years were after he gave up the booze. Both played in very different times and styles of play. I think your stats prove Senderos is a better defender when he is partnered with mobile agressive defensive midfielder like Flam or Gilberto. Sanderos reads the game and works well with Kolo and Gallas…and he will get faster. Time is on his side. The defensive weakness is actually further up the park…RVP, Hleb and Rosicky will track back but are poor on corners but they take up defensive positions. But this only just crowds the box is fully exploited by any attacker in the 6 yard box. Bendtner and Ade are more effective. Some gooners just don’t want to give Sendros a break. Just as well AW does not read fanzines before deciding on who to pick.

  8. GOONER says:

    DUDE , dont follow that band wagon. Phil is still a good player, he is short of confidence. i would loan him to some premire league club and see where it goes from there

  9. Corporate Buewll says:

    we need Vidic type of player, Arsenal have had just 12 clean sheets this season — Man United 20 !

  10. Stone says:

    I think Senderos’ problem is that he makes obvious mistakes. He makes mistake when he is caught off pace or miskicks the ball. Apart from those two awful goals against Liverpool in the CL, I don’t remember any positional or marking mistakes that he did. Gallas and especially Toure, however, do different kind of mistakes. They lose headers (Gallas vs. Drogba), don’t concentrate right after we score (Toure vs. Babel) or don’t mark proberly (Toure vs. Matt Taylor).

    I don’t think that selling Senderos is what is going to bring us the title. On the other hand, I think that never playing Toure and Gallas together again is a big step towards improvement.

  11. John says:

    I feel Senderos is a good Defender just as Pascal Cygan. The ony setback is thier pace. They are slow on the turn but they read the game well enough. They will do good in teams that play deep rather than high up the pitch like Arsenal. A team like Arsenal would require fact pacy centre backs. But I do agree e partnership of Toure and Gallas is not so good. We would need someone who is agressive and able to challenge for the first ball.

  12. Tonex says:

    1st step: sell Gallas! Lets face it, the Gallas at Arsenal is not the Gallas at Chelsea! Am a France fan, but am fearing for the Euros if Gallas is gonna start all games! We should not waste time pleading with Hleb to stay if he does not want! Much as he has all the skill and flair we’d love to see, what good is an attacker who plays about 75% of the season on the right wing or in the hole and only finishes with 4 goals and 7 assists!!! He owes us alot more. Ofcourse selling Gallas will mean bringing in a solid sweeper. Then we shoud only keep Eboue as back up for Sagna. Oh yeah, and forget playing the deadliest goal poacher in England (eduardo) on the left wing!!!

  13. Rezaul says:

    My opinion is to let playToure again in the CB position. To buy a tall , intelligent CB. As Gallas is very commited to this club, he can be used as a right defender winger. Flamini position can be solved by playing Diaby in this position or buy another one. Buy Devid Villa, as he wants to come and Fabregas choice. Yaya toure can be bought in Flamini’s position. More than that, we need such a player in this position, who can score from much distance.

  14. sulesh says:

    senderos though he plays his heart out is not an arsenal type player. wenger should replace him with a tall, experienced and no non sense defender. i dont rate diaby, denilson.gilberto is off pace. we need reliable dm a.k.a flamini. one more striker should come in. ade is good but reliable as he miss 10 chances and score one. RVP always injured, Bentdner still young. edourdo is fantastic but it will take ages to get his form back. i hope Arsenal will lift the quadruple next season, that is the only way wenger can justify the pain he has caused arsenal fans for the last 3 seasons.

  15. dan says:

    Keep senderos and you can forget about winning titles.

  16. Angulo says:

    Can you for once stop talking about Diarra? He is gone. None of you expected Flamini to perform to the point he did last season so let the other available players get their chance. Take an example of Arsenal Vs Manure (1:2), the best players were Clichy and Song with Flamini injured. Arsenal didn’t lose because of Flamini not being there NO it was poor decision by the ref. About Big Phil. Yeah, he has had his bad moments but do not compare him to Gallas coz the guy is good. There are very many good defenders however all can be bad if their partnership is not working. There should always be an intelligent one and a workaholic one – (Ferdinand – Vidic: Intelligent – workaholic, Cavahio – Terry: Intelligent – Workaholic, Canavaro – Pepe: Intelligent – workaholic) these complement each other BUT Gallas and Toure have both failed to understand their duties that’s why when Phil and Song are playing Gallas and Toure think that they are intelligent leaving Song and Big Phil to work hence stability. Suggestion; maybe Wenger should drop Gallas or Toure.

  17. Paul N says:

    i think Man U’s key to success was “RONALDO” along with not a lot of everlasting injuries to key players. dont buy the squad depth thing though, never have.

    Blessings!

  18. aisha says:

    R U KIDDING ABOUT SENDEROS?
    THE MAN IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH FOR ARSENAL. YOU CANNOT COMPARE GOALS CONCEDED AT DIFFERENT TIMES OF THE SEASON WITH DIFFERENT DEFENDERS.
    THERE ARE VARIABLES. WAS SAGNA, CLICHY, FLAMINI PLAYING.
    WHO WERE WE PLAYING. ETC ETC ETC.
    IF SENDEROS IS THE BEST WE CAN OFFER WE NEED HELP.
    BET LIVERPOO, MANURE AND THE CHAV’S ARE RUBBING THEIR HANDS WITH GLEE. BRING ON TORRES AND THE DROG.

  19. Nirgoon says:

    I think you’re forgetting how vital some of Gallas’s goals were. To say we are better with Senderos is naive, stats can be spun anyway you want it. My nephew watched one arsenal game and we won it! i can now say we are much better on average when he watches us than when he don’t. See? Silly huh.

    Diarra was unfortunate but that’s football, i doubt Nasri will be signed as a ‘depth’ player he’s far too good for that. I think he will be around 15+ starts and maybe 10 subs if he signs for next season same with vela but will both feature heavily in the future. Walcott does need to start more games i agree with you on that. Can he do a Ronaldo and win us the PL and CL…i dunno, i doubt it.

    We do need a DM that’s true and maybe Diaby could fill that void in the future. As for the CB someone of the Adams mould would do nicely.

    So think about it!!!

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