Arsenal: Squad strengths and weaknesses 0

No word on Gonzalo Higuain’s transfer yet, so he’s been left out of this - but here’s a look at a possible Arsenal first and second-eleven for next season, and a quick discussion of the squad’s strengths and weaknesses.

A first-choice side:

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…and a second:

This is probably more aimed at non-Arsenal supporters, because the fans will be well-aware of where the weaknesses in their side lie.

The thinnest part of this squad is probably at centre-back, because with Johan Djourou likely to leave the club, Arsene Wenger has only three players who he’d be comfortable selecting for a Premier League game - and whether the rumours about Ashley Williams are true or not, you would expect Wenger to add to that part of his side before the end of the Summer.

At the defensive-midfield position, the problem is slightly different, in that there are plenty of players who could feasibly play the position, but just maybe not to the required standard when up against the very best teams in the country. Mikel Arteta is a much-maligned player, but he actually does a very passable job in front of his own defenders (he led Arsenal in both interceptions and successfully tackles per game last season, and is among the top twenty players in the league as a whole across both categories) - even so, there is still room for improvement and, specifically, room for someone like Marouane Fellaini who could provide a more physical and aerially dominant type of security.

…and the forward positions? Wenger actually has plenty of options out-wide, with Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lukas Podolski and Gervinho providing different types of approach and varying levels of quality, but the central area is clearly a problem - in both senses. Olivier Giroud is never going to score more than 25 goals in the Premier League, and Marouane Chamakh isn’t in any way good enough to be a credible back-up - yes, Theo Walcott can also play the position, but moving him inside is clearly at the expense of what he can produce out-wide; both in an attacking sense, but also with the restricting impact he can have on forward-thinking opposition full-backs. Add Gonzalo Higuain into the part of the side, relegate Giroud to a supporting role, and suddenly this side has a genuine goal-scoring quality and a useful change of approach on their bench.

None of that is news to anybody, and there’s nothing revelatory about Arsenal’s need for an elite forward or their requirement for an upgrade in midfield - after all, both issues are really hold-overs from last Summer.

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