Arsenal: New Boy Santi Cazorla and the New Arsenal Dream
A word recalled too frequently by the same tongue can easily nauseate; else the point is emphasis, until the particular idea is driven home. (Poverty of vocabulary could also be the cause, of course.)
In my case, I have clung to the word "consolidation" for far too long now. The idea is that Arsenal need to build upon what already is on ground, add to their youth experience.
In this case, the tremendous impact of Mikel Arteta and the ease by which he and Alex Song complemented each other in the Arsenal midfield cannot be unconnected to the player's experience, a commodity that grows deeper and richer with age.
Mikel Arteta's experience, besides his skill, has helped Arsenal already. Getty Images.
Nor was the impact of Yossi Benayoun unconnected to this same commodity, either.
In fact, it isn't stretching logic too far to say that the salvaging of the potentially disastrous concluded season for Arsenal owed greatly to the matured presence in the squad.
Concomitantly, the falling away from strong positions, which has happened in the recent past, could be put down to too much immaturity in the squad.
One reader put an incisive finger on this precise point when he noted in the comments section of my last article that—as touching the understandable anxiety that still plagues Arsenal fans in regard to the coming season, which surfaces in the worry about the team's defense—the solution isn't in buying more defenders as it is in organizing the present one.
Indeed, the astute and observant reader would note that the greatest defenses in the world (let's say in Europe) aren't so as a result of individual players per se. Rather, they are a product of complementary effort in the unit as a whole.
It has been noted that, statistically, Barcelona have the best defense in the Europe, but I doubt that most would classify Barcelona’s individual defenders as the best in Europe.
Furthermore, anyone who follows Barcelona can note how they often concede goals from torrid school-boy defending, a result, usually, of the defenders being out of position, having lost—as a result of the developing play—their normal unflappability, which comes from the said complementary effort.
Indeed, Barcelona's defensive strength comes from team effort.
Consequently, if Arsenal's defense was seen to be better last season (despite the many goals the team conceded, which were really a product of the early disastrous beginning to the season), it was because there was more defensive awareness in the team as a whole.
Team effort, rather than Messi (seen here) is the key to Barcelona's success. Getty Images.
Accordingly, this reader's observation is quite astute.
As far as consolidation goes, therefore, the three Arsenal signings fall neatly into this. Both Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla are 27 years of age, meaning that, barring unforeseen circumstances, both are likely to retire at Arsenal.
Or, at any rate, we are unlikely to face the recent trophy-less narratives from them. Arsenal will sell them at the club's own behest rather than the players'. Olivier Giroud, who is 25, isn't any different.
We can see, therefore, that, in these players, Arsenal have added a different dimension to their squad. Suddenly, the club has three players who are developed and matured enough. This is a neat complement to the youth already in place.
What is required now is the turning of the collective raw material into a well-drilled unit. And this, again, is the key to the defense, which is thought by many to be the team's weak point still.
As far as this goes, I will cast my lot with the referenced reader.
While buying a defender or two might not hurt, this isn't necessarily the way to go, especially since the squad already is too big as it is.
(The reader knows that Arsenal's squad is the biggest of the Premier League, as a result of the many young players in the club's ranks.) For anymore purchases to happen, there may be the need to sell some of the extraneous players.
In the days of yore, Arsenal were on par with the likes of Real Madrid, or better. Getty Images.
The point, then, is that Arsenal are on the right path towards regaining their former glory. Just think Podolski, Giroud and Cazorla, and you'd see the point.
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