Football

Do Arsenal really need to reinforce in January?

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When looking back upon the vitriolic reaction of Arsenal's fans towards the players and manager after that desperate opening day loss to Aston Villa, it is incredible to think of the transformation that has taken place at the Emirates Stadium since.

What a German attacking midfielder and a few wins can do eh.

It is December and Arsenal are sitting four points clear at the top of the Premier League, and with two home games coming up that is unlikely to change.

But the Gunners are still not favourites for the title. That honour lies with Manchester City, despite the fact that they are six points behind Arsenal and seemingly incapable of winning a game away from home.

The main reason for this must be, then, that most people do not believe that Arsenal have the depth to last the course and distance. But is this true?

There may have seemed a problem in pre-season in goal, but Wojciech Szczesny has silenced his doubters with a string of superb performances.

In defence they possess a genuinely quality partnership in Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker. Rotation is less of a necessity at the back, and teams tend to benefit from stability in central defence. Despite a lack of form Thomas Vermaelen is still an able deputy (as well as being club captain) and Bacary Sagna is more than capable of filling in.

There also exist two quality left-backs in Kieran Gibbs and Nacho Monreal, as well as a solid backup right-back in Carl Jenkinson.

In midfield there is nothing approaching a problem. Mathieu Flamini has been superb, Jack Wilshere looks resurgent, Mikel Arteta and Tomas Rosicky have shown no signs of slowing down and Aaron Ramsey has been a revelation.

Further forward things are also ticking along nicely. Mesut Ozil may have suffered a slight post-honeymoon dip but his second half performance against Marseille and his away day at Cardiff suggests he is right back on the way to his best.

Santi Cazorla has not yet hit the heights of last season but that merely suggests that Arsenal theoretically still have plenty in reserve. With Theo Walcott back and Lukas Podolski and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain both closing in on returns, the theory is confirmed.

So if Arsenal do have problems with strength in depth, then it must be upfront. And whether you consider it to be a case of Olivier Giroud needing better backup, or that he's not good enough to spearhead their title charge, it is probably where Arsenal are weakest.

Unfortunately, it isn't an easy problem to address. A like-for-like replacement for him they do not possess, but in Walcott and Podolski (when he returns) they have two players who can both play upfront and offer an alternative at different points in the season.

To find a superior striker to Giroud will simply not be possible in January. And to sign an inferior one just for the sake of backup will be pointless.

The issue with playing a solitary striker is always the same. For several years Liverpool struggled through a series of ill-equipped alternatives to Fernando Torres because any striker going there knew that whenever the going got tough, Nando would be the first choice.

The north London club have already suffered through a start to the season that has been blighted by injury, but they have come out the other side in their best position for years. They have options and choices in every area of the pitch, and in this craziest of seasons they have enough quality to win the thing.

Bar an outrageous swoop for Luis Suarez or Radamel Falcao, a mad trolley dash in January will not help Arsenal's cause.

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Topics:
Football
Premier League
Arsenal

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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