Football

Arsenal can enjoy a successful season despite lack of summer signings

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So the transfer window has closed until January, and Arsene Wenger has decided to keep the Arsenal coffers locked firmly in the vault. 

Just what does that decision tell us?

Arsenal finished twelve points behind Chelsea last season and four behind Manchester City and it's quite obvious that, at the end of the season, Wenger saw a major problem with the goalkeeping.

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An opinion shared by a large number of supporters and neutrals, some would say it's been addressed a year or two too late, but addressed it has been.

So, as Arsenal have become the only club in Europe's top five leagues not to sign an outfield player this summer, is Arsene saying that the only weakness in the entire squad was the goalkeeper?

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John Terry is quoted as saying that Petr Cech will save Arsenal 12-15 points a season, does Wenger also think this is true?

After four games of this campaign, the Gunners have hardly been prolific, scoring just three goals - two of those being scored by the opposition(!). However, last year they finished on 71, whilst Chelsea only hit two more and Man City 12 more.

Arsenal had more shots at goal (439) than Chelsea (416) last term but Chelsea had a slightly higher conversion rate (17.5% compared to 16.2) So when looking at the simple stats, it appears that Arsenal are up where they should be.

Let's not forget that during pre-season Arsenal used Chuba Akpom as one of their strikers, and he looked good, bagging a hat trick against a Singapore side.

When asked if Akpom was going out on loan, Wenger replied "No.. during the season I plan to keep him " Why the U-turn ? Wenger obviously believes his opportunities would have been limited, if Arsenal were that short in numbers, he would surely have kept him.

Solid in defence?

Defensively, Wenger's men conceded 36 goals in the league, which is four more than Chelsea and two less that Man City. Based on that, there is hardly cause for concern.

However, it doesn't require a football guru to recognise that they were susceptible to corners and free-kicks. At times, the type of defending witnessed at the Emirates, would have been more fitting on a cold Sunday morning on Hackney Marshes.

It's true that the goalkeeper is the guy that should be organising the defence and commanding the area, but sometimes the cross is too good and the 'keeper isn't going to get there. That's when the big players have to deal with it, and if there isn't enough height on the pitch, then that needs to be made up for with aggression.

Defensively, Wenger has at his disposal Mertesacker, Gabriel, Koscielny, Debuchy, Gibbs, Bellerin, Chambers and Monreal - all players of great ability who have shown that they can play at the highest level.

That leaves the goalkeeping to mention. Arsenal eventually replaced David Seaman with Jens Lehmann, two world-class keepers that would have plugged holes on even the leakiest of defences, but who replaced Lehmann?

Almunia tried but always had mistakes in him, Vito Mannone tried but never quite cut it. Fabianski had and go but was lovingly nicknamed 'flappy-hand-ski' by the Gunners faithful, leaving Wojciech Szczesny as the best (but not good enough) option.

A dithering 'keeper will put the entire back four on edge and indirectly cause mistakes- an all too familiar sight over the last few seasons at the Emirates

Enter Petr Cech and David Ospina. Two keepers of undoubted quality, two keepers that will fill the defensive unit with confidence and in Petr Cech a record that truly speaks for itself.

Arsenal fans: Stay positive 

Now only time will tell Arsenal fans, but don't get down in the dumps about this season. Yes, an appalling start cost them dearly last year and that was ultimately the difference. If they can avoid such disaster this year, they will be there or thereabouts.

If they can tighten up at the back (and with Cech, they probably will) and avoid significant injuries, there is no reason why Arsenal can't have a successful season. They will create goals and they will score goals, just wait until they get into their stride.

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Topics:
Football
Arsenal
Premier League

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