So tomorrow the season kicks off with Arsenal playing Aston Villa. But who is actually left to pull on an Arsenal shirt? After selling or releasing 22 players from both our first team squad and reserves squad and loaning out an additional 6, it leaves Arsenal with a 24 man squad.
Of these 24 men, according to physioroom.com, 11 are currently out injured and unavailable for 1st team action against Aston Villa. Even with my simple GCSE in maths, I can work out that this leaves us with 13 men available from out 1st team. Of this 13, two are Ju-Young Park and Nicklas Bendtner. It also contains 2 goalkeeper.s That leaves us with just 9 outfield players available from our first team squad.
So before the season has even started, we are down to the bare bones.
Now I would not be surprised if Theo Walcott, Bacary Sagna and Aaron Ramsay shake off their knocks and are fit to start tomorrow. However, worse case scenario and they do not, what are we actually left with?
With Sagna out, Carl Jenkinson will start at right back. Inside him will be Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertersacker. At left back Kieran Gibbs. A solid enough defence which, unless Benteke get’s one on one with Mertersacker, should be good enough to nullify Aston Villa. These 4 are our only fit defenders though. And anyone who has watched our under-21s in pre-season will know there is no one yet ready to step up. God forbid one of these pick up an injury. We will soon be recalling Johan Djourou back from his loan spell to play at right back!
Moving forward, it gets worrying. Of the 8 midfielders listed on our website, 5 are injured (Arteta, Ramsay, Rosicky, Diaby, Frimpong), and 1 (Cazorla) is unfit and has just been to Ecuador and bag for a pointless friendly with Spain. In an ideal world, he would not play.The world is not ideal. That leaves us with Jack Wilshere, and unfit Santi Cazorla and Ryo Miyaichi, who is actually a wing forward and has clearly been added to the ‘midfield’ tab just to make it look like more than what we have. So basically, if Ramsay does not get fit, we have 2 central mdifielders. What is likely is Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will drop inside and play the role he has recently played for England against Scotland. But this will mean Cazorla and Wilshere playing deep. We will be bullied.
With Podolski and Giroud fit upfront, they will start. But that is where we now come up short. In all the players I have mentioned, we are now 1 short. So what are out options?
- Pray that either Ramsay or Walcott get fit
- Play Bendtner right wing
- Play Gedion Zelalem, Thomas Eisfield or Kristoffer Olsson
- Announce the signing of 3/4 players in the pre-match press conference today
- Play Steve Bould
To be this short before a ball has been kicked is a result of our lack of transfer activity. Yes, we were correct in selling/releasing these players, as most were either ‘deadwood’ senior players, or youngsters who were never going to make it, but a lack of signings is costing us dear. Had we secured Etienne Capoue, Stevan Jovetic or Gonzalo Higuain, rather than spend 2 weeks chasing and unsettling Luis Suarez to no avail, we would not be in this situation.
If you have a pair of boots in your cupboard, bring them to the game. There is a very good chance you might get a spot on The Arsenal bench. Infact, I am surprised our board are not selling places on our bench to the highest bidder. What a money raiser that would be for them!
Dropped points against Aston Villa is a direct result of our poor transfer window.