Football

Three reasons why Arsenal still need to improve

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Wenger's problems are still lurking in the background (©GettyImages)
Wenger's problems are still lurking in the background (©GettyImages).

Despite a shaky defeat to Aston Villa on the opening day of the season, Arsenal have so far proven their doubters wrong this season.

Since the arrival of Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid, and the subsequent reinvigoration of the Gunners' midfield, Arsene Wenger's side look very good indeed.

Aaron Ramsey is also proving to be a much better player than many previously thought.

However, there are a number of issues that Arsenal should have addressed in the summer transfer window.

In short, they are too fragile to guarantee their hope of ending a nine year trophy drought.

Lack of defensive depth:

This is perhaps the most worrying issue that Wenger needs to put right. Yes, their back four are better than last season. Per Mertesacker has performed well, as has his defensive partner, Laurent Koscielny.

However, look beyond those two players and who do Arsenal have in reserve? Quite simply, Thomas Vermaelen is the only other conventional option in central defence, and his injury record does not make for good reading.

So if either Koscielny or Mertesacker get injured, then Arsenal will be in danger of suffering a defensive crisis.

Compare them to Liverpool, who have four (Toure, Agger, Skrtel, Sakho) vying for a starting place in central defence, and they have just purchased 21-year-old Tiago Ilori, potentially a future starter.

Wenger needs to address this problem quickly, otherwise the Gunners could find themselves in a very difficult situation.


Goalkeeper:

Question marks have been raised about Wojciech Szczesny's ability to consistently perform.

It seemed almost certain in the summer that he would be axed, Julio Cesar was apparently keen to sign for Wenger's side.

However, the Frenchman opted to stick with the young Pole, a decision which he may regret.

The Gunners have Lukasz Fabianski as back-up, a player who was nicknamed 'Lukasz Flappihandski' by his own fans.

Wenger will have to make a decision in January to either stick with Szczesny or replace him with a proven keeper.


One Striker:

Look again at Arsenal's squad. Olivier Giroud is their only proven out-and-out striker.

Yaya Sanogo was played there earlier in the season and was ineffective, he needs time to develop his game. Lukas Podolski could be played in that position, but he favours a wide role.

Arsenal are therefore in need of another striker to challenge and support Giroud, hence their failed summer pursuit of both Karim Benzema and Gonzalo Higuain.

In the meantime, Wenger will be hoping that Giroud does not get injured, things may get tricky if he does.

Overall, it is clear that Arsenal are currently reliant on a very small pool of good players.

If any of them are unavailable, results will not come so easily.

If the trophy drought continues into its tenth year and Champions League football is not secured - Arsene Wenger will almost certainly leave. 

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Topics:
Football
Arsenal
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