A few days ago I wrote an article called 'Why Arsenal can win the Premier League title'.
In that article I mentioned that I would write a follow-up piece detailing exactly what Arsene Wenger's side need to do to improve their chances of success this season.
38 Game Season
There's no question that some matches are more important than others. By definition Arsenal's trips to White Hart Lane, Stamford Bridge and Old Trafford are all much bigger than trips to the KC Stadium, Selhurst Park and Carrow Road.
However, although wins would mean no points for rivals, they still carry the same number of points towards Arsenal. Therefore Arsenal cannot lose concentration in the games against the smaller clubs because all mistakes will be punished and will hinder Arsenal come the end of the season.
Know when to draw
Arsenal are often so desperate to win all of their games that it means that they do not draw very many. This is not a good thing. Had Arsenal drawn all of the games they lost last year they would have finished second. I
n the 2009-10 season had Arsenal drawn all of their games with Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea plus had they not had that ridiculous result against Wigan, Arsenal would have been Champions.
With Arsenal having a very difficult run of games in the next few months Arsenal need to be careful when committing men forward. There have been too many occasions against the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United where Arsenal have got on top, committed everyone including the full-backs forward, and the opposition have then delivered a sucker-punch blow with a counter attack.
Manchester United once beat Arsenal 3-1 all from counter attacks. When the going gets tough for Arsenal and it looks impossible for them to win, they must just take the draw and make the opposition drop two points.
Strengthen the squad
There is no question that Arsenal have one of the strongest first-teams in the league. However, Arsenal slip much further down the table once the second team is taken into account. Olivier Giroud does not have a suitable backup in Nicklas Bendtner; Arsenal don't have any out-and-out wingers with Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain injured; Carl Jenkinson isn't up to standard yet and needs a loan spell, meaning Bacary Sagna doesn't have a backup; once Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker are taken out, all that's left is Thomas Vermaelen who might even leave in January. Arsenal need to sign some fringe players in January.
I think that a team needs five centre-backs. Three top-quality ones all fighting for the top two places, and two good fourth and fifth choice centre-backs who can all step up when needed. I like the idea of having a youngster and an older player in those two roles. A player not quite at his peak (twenty to twenty-four years old) and a player near the end of his career who will have an influence on the younger players.
Roman Sharonov and Mario Yepes are both regularly starting for top-flight teams still at thirty-seven and either would work well as a fifth centre-back. Arsenal also need signings in the aforementioned positions as well as possibly another holding midfielder in January.
Sign Karim Benzema
Rumour has it that Real Madrid want to take Luis Suarez away from Liverpool and their way of killing off interest from Arsenal is to offer them Karim Benzema at a cut price. If this is true then Arsenal must take this opportunity to make one of the best signings possible.
Signing Benzema would disrupt Giroud's progress, but a team must have a squad to win things, and a bit of competition between the two would surely be healthy. I know that when a striker comes to England it can often take a season for him to settle (look at Giroud), but Benzema's combining with old teammate Mesut Ozil will help him gel into the team more quickly.
Had Benzema signed for Arsenal three years ago instead of Real he really could have led Arsenal to a period of prolonged success; perhaps it's not too late for that to happen now.
Keep Mesut Ozil fresh
On a few occasions so far in his time at Arsenal the German has played in matches where he has looked exhausted and not been able to fire on all cylinders. Just every now and then it would work wonders were Ozil to be given a rest against teams Arsenal are able to beat without him.
This would mean that when he comes up against more difficult teams to beat he'll be playing with his usual intensity. Arsenal must hope that he keeps going until January though as he is needed for almost all of Arsenal's matches until then.
Sign a world-class winger
Arsenal need a winger (or maybe even two). Playing Jack Wilshere on the wing does not work and if Arsenal want to get the most out of the Englishman (which would help their title challenge no end) he must be played in the centre.
Come January, Arsenal must look into the market and see if they can buy a winger capable of transforming matches. It did look at one point over the summer like Angel Di Maria was available and if that is the case in January he would be ideal for Arsenal.
An ex-Real Madrid legion would gel together well just like they did at Real Madrid. Franck Ribery was allegedly incredibly close to signing for Arsenal in 2006; he would certainly not go amiss right now.
Get Jack Wilshere back on top form
Arsenal need their former talisman to start playing like he did when he wasn't injured and like the Jack Wilshere of the 2010-11 season. Certainly, wasting him out on the wing is no way to get his confidence back, but were Arsenal to add a red-hot Wilshere into their midfield it becomes truly unstoppable.
Since a very young age Wilshere has had defenders targeting him and kicking him. This means that his ankles are now in very poor condition. Wilshere wants to play every 90 minutes on offer, but were he given a week or two off to get his ankles back in shape I really think he'd reap the rewards.
Don't be afraid to make a few loan deals
Arsenal very nearly signed Demba Ba on loan from Chelsea but the Blues became wary of adding to their rival's squad once Mesut Ozil arrived.
A few loan deals here and there would be perfect for adding the fringe players to Arsenal's squad, and Wenger really should consider his options in that respect.
Remember Yossi Benayoun? He didn't set the world alight, but he had a few purple patches which helped Arsenal win quite a few matches which helped them get third. If a loan signing were to change the course of just a couple of matches in the five months of 2014, the player would've been a hugely worthwhile signing.
Arsenal are very much on course to challenge for honours this season and if they can keep going and can even improve on what they are doing now they will surely win something.
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