I mainly joined Bleacher Report because I was getting tired of reading about Wenger and Arsenal and how everything had become messed up because of the whole “youth policy” and refusal to spend money, etc, all over the internet.
I didn’t expect it to continue here as well, but it has. That’s why my first article is going to take form of an argument that Arsenal’s squad is not overly youthful, and by no means are they inexperienced.
Let’s start with the defence; we have Sagna, Toure, Gallas, and Clichy.
We all know about Toure’s invincible season, we all know about Gallas at Chelsea, and Clichy and Sagna made it to the EPL team of the season last year (Clichy does have to stop those mess-ups though).
As back up we have Silvestre, Djourou, Gibbs, and Eboue.. I personally wouldn’t mind the addition of reliable central defender (Senderos is coming back soon).
Then, we have central defensive midfielders; this is the most inexperienced part of the team, but with three of them who have been playing the whole season because of various injuries, they’ve gained a lot of experience.
If you would have asked me at the beginning of the season if Denilson and Diaby could dominate the midfield against Roma (even at the Emirates), I would have said no.
They did, and they did so only because they have been given a chance to grow this season (rather than buying a quick fix). The creative side of their game is slowly but surely being unveiled in recent games as well.
Then we have attacking midfielders (I’m not gonna have separate sections for central midfielders and wingers, because attacking, creative Arsenal players are expected to be able to play in any offensive position).
We have Fabregas, who is very experienced. We have Rosicky and Arshavin, who are absolutely brilliant players who have the gift of being responsible and adventurous with the ball at the same time.
We have Nasri, who in flashes is absolutely wonderful to watch, he can only become a better player. And of course, we have Walcott, who has his whole career ahead of him. There’s Eboue as well…
So playing 4-4-2, we have our best four defenders at an average age of 23+26+28+31 divided by 4 = 27
Taking four midfielders (Fabregas, Denilson (cdm), Rosicky, and Arshavin (boy can’t wait to see that in action) 21 + 21 + 27+ 28 /4 = 24.5.. and remember, Fabregas plays with the maturity of 27 year old anyway.
And the strikers; Adebayor has scored 30+ goals in a season (which is bloody hard to do as a lone striker playing almost every match in the season), no one can deny the importance of van Persie, Eduardo is the ultimate goal scorer, and Bendtner and Vela are growing.
Simply put, Wenger is not going for the whole youth policy 100% as it may sometimes seem.. It has been injuries to a load of first team players that meant that Wenger could only play Denilson, Song, Diaby, and Eboue/Nasri together.
Would the midfield look like that if he had Rosicky, Fabregas, and Arshavin the whole season? Would we have to see van Persie and Bendtner play together game after game if he had Eduardo and Adebayor at his disposal the last two months?
I strongly believe that during next time this season, the probability is very high that we will look back at this season as a blessing in disguise; injured players out for a long time, allowing speedy development of other players.
And look...in this season alone, we’re still in the FA cup, we have a shot at the CL, and we proved that we are good enough (so far) to qualify for the CL and win fourth place without Fabregas being involved during a big chunk of the season (and I am NOT, like some other fans here, claiming that this means that we should sell Fabregas).
I hope I have convinced at least some of you that Arsenal are not going into the next Champion’s League game with a bunch of teenagers, and there’s a whole lot to look forward to next season provided we’re not unlucky with long term injuries and transfers.
There is going to be a great mix of experience and youthful exuberance, a mixture that any team in the world should include in their starting lineup.
So in conclusion, check out the differences between the two squads below
Sagna --- Toure ---- Gallas --- Clichy
Eboue --- Denilson ---- Diaby ---- Nasri
----------Bendtner ---- van Persie
Subs; Vela, Song, Gibbs
Above you can see how it was right before Arshavin came.
Below is what my team, Arsenal, is going to be able to look like very soon:
Sagna --- Toure ---- Gallas --- Clichy
Walcott ---Fabregas—Denilson ---Arshavin
Vela, and a few more but I believe my point has been made.