Arsenal’s first pre-season friendly is a couple of weeks away but I thought it was a good tie to look at how the upcoming season is shaping up for Arsenal. It has been anything but quiet at the Emirates this summer with Mathiue Flamini and Jens Lehmann leaving on free transfers. Flamini leaves a huge hole in the midfield that Aaron Ramsey is not going to fill.
I know that there is still a month to go until the Premiership kicks off, but off the big Arsenal have a lot of question marks next to their name. The Gunners are by some distance the most vulnerable of the Premier League’s Big Four and are facing the distinct possibility of not finishing in the top four this season!
The 31 goals that the Gunners conceded in the league last season were the most among the big four and 9 more than Man United. Arsenal’s back four had all sorts of problems at times last year. Full-backs Gael Clichy and Bacary Sagna recently signed contract extensions with the club which is good news but what Arsenal need is a big strong center-half, preferably someone who has experience. With the departure of Jen Lehmann, expect Arsenal to sign a young understudy to Manuel Almunia.
The Arsenal midfield will be ok as long as Cesc Fabregas stays healthy. The young Spanish star is maturing into one of the best midfielders in the world. the loss of Flamini and potential Alexander Hleb will hurt but the 13 million pounds paid for Marseille’s playmaker Samir Nasr will help ease the pain. Arsene Wenger still needs to find a holding midfield player and a left sided winger to go with Theo Walcott on the right. What I would like to see Arsenal do is add some experience in the middle of the field. Since Viera left, Arsenal have been missing a bit of bite, experience and leadership in its midfield.
Up front Abebayor is rumored to be going to Barcelona for 30 million pounds which is a great business deal for Arsenal. Yes he scored 30 goals last year, but he mist have missed at least double that. The question is who replaces him? I don’t think that Obafemi Martins really the answer at 14 million? Arsenal will have Robin Van Persie back fit for the new season but he is an injury waiting to happen. Wenger needs to sign at least two, if not three center forwards. I like Klaas-Jan Huntelaar from Ajax and Zenit St Petersburg’s Russian star Andrei Arshavin would be an interesting addition.
It will be a busy six weeks at the Emirates until the transfer window closes. Arsene Wenger needs to add some experience at the back and in midfield plus find another center forward. How successful he is will determine whether this is another trophy less season for Gunners fans.