Arsene Wenger is a man under pressure. His reputation for guiding his team to the Champions’ League without fail is destroyed. His team is not looking very good. The number of fans calling for his head is increasing every month.
We look at Arsenal’s woes and the steps that need to be taken to go on and become one of the Premier League’s big boys once again. It is a congested mess- the top of the Premier League table, but Arsenal has to soldier through it. Given that Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez leave, they need to be in Europe’s elite competition to attract top quality footballers to the club. Here is exactly what needs to be done.
1- Stick with the front three
Alexis, Ozil, and Lacazette are three of the best attackers in the league. That is a line up capable of heavy destruction and can challenge the best defenses in the world. Alexis is a proven gem and Ozil keeps creating chances in spite of all the complaints about him. Lacazette is the man to take those chances. The Frenchman has proven his worth time and again in an Arsenal shirt and he needs to start playing entire games, week in week out. Wenger needs to stop jaw-dropping stunts with his lineup.
2- Start playing Wilshere instead of Xhaka as early as possible
This simply has to happen. Wilshere is a player who is willing to run with the ball, at the ball, and throughout the pitch. Xhaka is a much less mobile player than Wilshere and although his passing is good, it is not comprehensively better than Wilshere’s ability to dictate play. A midfield with two players that have low work rate cannot succeed in the Premier League- and Ozil and Xhaka in the same lineup is a recipe for disaster.
The Englishman has put in some solid performances whenever he has been given the chance and his inclusion would force Ramsey to be present defensively. The Welshman has been guilty of abandoning Xhaka at the back, probably due to the Swiss midfielder’s size and reputation as more of a defensive player. With Wilshere, he will have specific orders to be alert all the time.
3- Make one big signing this January
Many Arsenal fans may be calling for important signings this winter, but one proper deal is enough to make a huge impact. Arsene Wenger is well known for doing shrewd business in the transfer market and the Gunners are in dire need of another of the professor’s signature impact transfers.
Possibilities include Julian Draxler, Leon Goretzka, Jose Gimenez, Michi Batshuayi and much more. Wenger has to pick one that re-ignites the fire in the squad and stabilizes things. The way Arsenal has defended so far, Gimenez looks like the best and most interesting option.
4- Win the easy games
Arsenal has not been totally shambolic. In their first 11 games, they played Manchester City, Chelsea, Everton and Liverpool away from home. You would expect them to drop a few points. The disturbing thing here is the fact that they dropped six points against Watford and Stoke. Wenger’s men need to win these games. If they cannot stand up to the big boys, they have to pick points from the little ones. After the Tottenham game, they face Manchester United at home and a series of teams that they are expected to beat in their next 7 games. They have to grab at least 20 points from their next 8 matches and be sure about defeating the small teams before anything else.
It is not too late for Arsenal to save the season but they have to understand the need to do well consistently. The attitude in the dressing room has to change. The players need to understand that they are not playing a game, they are fighting a war- a war to survive among the very best.