By Craig Pearson on April 4, 2014
Arsenal have predominantly suffered from the same frailties this season as they have for the past five seasons or so. Against the teams lower down the table, they look brilliant and the hype begins all over again. Then they meet the teams at the top of the table, and it all falls apart. Fragile defense, lack of leadership, goalkeeping errors and a lack of width all impede Arsenal's season regularly and changes must be made this summer.
It looks like right-back Bacary Sagna will be leaving Arsenal this summer. It's not official, but with the player and the club struggling to agree a new deal, it certainly looks like the Frenchman will depart after this season. Arsenal have Carl Jenkinson in reserve but will need a new, first choice right-back for next season. Beware, though; to make do with a current young backup instead would be a typical Arsene Wenger move.
Without Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Arsenal look very one paced indeed. When they do play, neither are classic wingers by any means either. Arsenal need a winger who can open up a game for them. They are too narrow, but they don't need to change that; what they need is variety. Playing central midfielders out wide is not the answer either. Play Aaron Ramsey, Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere in their natural positions, not out wide.
Wojciech Szczesny is a good goalkeeper most of the time. Most of the time should not be enough, though, for the very top teams. He does have a remarkable ability to mentally bounce back from errors, but if he didn't make so many errors, then that would be more remarkable. Like Arsenal, Szczesny is great whilst everybody is riding high, then when the road gets rocky, he hits a brick wall like the rest of the team.
Olivier Giroud is a good striker with a healthy goal return. Whether he is quite at the level of a team hoping to win the Premier League and the Champions League is another matter, though. One thing that isn't debatable is that Nicklas Bendtner is not at that level. Arsenal need at least one top class striker who can make the difference in the big games, against the best defenders because without those goals, they cannot win those games.
The Arsenal team is unbalanced; with attacking midfielders playing wide, orthodox midfielders playing defensive roles and wide players playing centrally, it's a mess. No wonder the better teams eat them alive on the counter attack. Arsene Wenger needs to invest in a genuine, quality defensive midfielder who can help control a game, protect the back four and stop opposition attacks before they get too dangerous. It's essential for next season.
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