We have had a tough season. We are battered, bruised and beaten. But last nice comfortable victory shows we have the makings of a top, top team.
It might not quite be good enough to match Manchester City, but they are a team which cost a billion quid, containing the majority of the “most expensive footballers” in their position to ever play in England. They have failed to win just 4 games this season. About to set records that they might even struggle to match in the future. But back to Arsenal.
As said, we have the makings of a good team.
In Hector Bellerin, we have one of the best right backs in European football.
Our friends over at Gunners Town asked this week “if Bellerin left, who would replace him?” and many struggled to answer.
In the Premier League, only Kyle Walker is on the same level. And I struggle to name a better full back in their early 20s throughout Europe. And he is still just 23, people seem to forget that.
Backing him up next season will be Ainsley Maitland-Niles. He has shown this season that he is a player, more than capable deputising for Bellerin if needed.
The left back is also tied up. Nacho Monreal is Mr Consistent and Sead Kolasinac will look to build on a rollercoaster first season.
Between the full backs, I still believe there is a good centre back in Shkdoran Mustafi. I think if you get a strong character next to him, a reliable leader of the defence, he will flourish. Sadly Laurent Koscielny’s game these days is filled with injury and mistakes. Get in that top CB and we have a very good back 4.
Alongside Koscielny are Calum Chambers, Rob Holding and the Greek lad.
It could be a male or break summer for the two English lads. Neither have really kicked on due to lack of game time, but both would make an adequate 4th choice CB.
One problem area is in goal.
David de Gea has shown this year how important a match winning goal keeper can be. He does not make mistakes that lose games, and makes plenty of match saving stops.
Both David Ospina and Petr Czech have the same problems. Neither is a match winner, and both have mistakes in them. One of them will be an able deputy to a new top stopper, but it is an area of the pitch that we have fallen behind on.
I am excited about our midfield.
In recent weeks we have gone to a solid midfield 3. I felt it would be our best formation once Alexis Sanchez left.
Jack Wilshere fell deep provides protection and can dictate play, meaning that Mesut Ozil does not need to drop. On the other side is Aaron Ramsey. A midfield 3 means that he has the freedom to roam, to get forward, to score goals. He truly is a brilliant player when he is able to drive forward.
Recently Granit Xhaka has been playing in between them. Like many, I am not sold on him. He is a bit of a liability – as shown with his yellow yesterday. Get in a proper defensive midfielder and it frees up Wilshere and Ramsey to do what they do best.
I wouldn’t get rid of Xhaka, however. We need a deep squad, and Xhaka will be able to cover the new defensive midfielder, as well as Jack Wilshere. Add Mo Elneny and you would have 5 (depending on buying thee DM) versatile midfielders who could be rotated and replaced depending on the opponents.
Mesut Ozil, Henrik Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emrick Aubemayang. The golden triangle.
Add in Alexandre Lacazette, who I mentioned might not fit in next season, and Arsenal have an enviable array of attacking talent.
If we can improve on Danny Welbeck and Alex Iwobi as our wide options, then the squad will be filled with quality.
People ask “why would a top manager want to come to Arsenal”. Well to work with the likes of Bellerin, Monreal, Wilshere, Ramsey, Ozil, Mkhitaryan and Aubemayang. A core of 7 top players that the rest of the team needs to be built around.
Now we just need the manager who will get the best out of them.