Potential of the Immediate Arsenal First Team

Ben OakfordContributor IJune 16, 2009

If you look at the coming season and the weeks of transfer speculation to come, it is possible to lose sight of what can potentially be a very exciting time for Arsenal.

The rumoured signings of e and Sakho will potentially add steele, enthusiasm and will most probably breathe life and competition into the central defensive partnership.

William Gallas, as petulant as he may be, is still a top class defender and somebody who Arsenal had been able to rely upon for important goals, ironically leadership, and presence up until his injury, and i envisage him staying.

Wenger appears to prefer him to Toure, more due to him struggling to recapture his best form than Man City's reported interest, and Gallas is technically a better footballer than Kolo in my opinion.

The departure of the remaining member of the 'Invincible team' would not be all doom a gloom. Despite Toure's love of the club, all action displays, and commitment, his head has been turned, displayed in his handing in a transfer quest at Christmas.

His reported interest from City would provide Arsenal with an ever-welcome increase in transfer funds, or it may stop another player leaving.

The City bid may incorporate City England International Micah Richards, who despite a dip in form, is still a splendid player who only two summers ago was valued at 20million and was the England star in the making.

Wenger, who is reputed for developing players, would be a perfect manager for him, and being an Arsenal fan, would give him the chance to play for the club he supports, adding pride and a much needed English presence to the team.

Richards is also strong in the air, quick across the ground, he is comfortable going forward, and can at either right back or centre back, and I can see him competing with Vermaelen, Sakho, and Gallas for a starting berth, and challenging Eboue for back up right back.

Senderos is coming back to North London after Milan failed to take up their option to sign him for 6.9 million. Although his chances may be limited, I can see him adding experience and solid back up.

Arsenal always seem to have somebody out injured, and it would appear we finally have a dearth of back up in Gallas, Vermaelen, potentially Sakho, Djourou, Potentially Richards, and Senderos. He would add a laughable maturity going by the average squad size and will come back a better player.

However it remains to be seen if he will happy with that role, and if a bid comes in from a progresive club along the lines of West Ham, or Atletico Madrid, I come easily see him leaving for more first team chances and regular first team football.

His departure however may balance on the entry of another more versatile centre back, like Sakho, who is better on the ball and quicker on the ground than Senderos.

I see Djourous options limited, perhaps to back up to the first team through injuries, making carling cup appearances, or perhaps heading out on loan. Hasn't got the prescence to challenge yet, that will come with maturity and experience, perhaps from going on loan, although its yet to hear of any rumours or speculation on the subject.

The Left Back birth is equally adequately complemented on the right, if anything, more so. For Sagna, Eboue and Richards, read Clichy, Gibbs, and Traore...with Sakho and Vermaelen both able to play there, not to mention Gallas, but i cannot imagine Wenger playing with of the latter three in that position.

Clichy is quick, experienced despite his youth, and is quickly establishing himself as one of the best left backs in the world, after being voted the best left back in the country by his fellow professionals two seasons ago.

Despite this season being indifferent, struggling with injuries and suffering lapses in concentration, not to mention luck (see Robbie Keane vs Tottenham) he is still an essential part of this team and defence, and he can only get better, and any interest from Real Madrid or Ac Milan is very unwelcome.

He is a vital part of the team, someone who needs to stay, and become a pillar of the club. Hes loyal, has come out and said he wants to stay, and is a very, very good footballer.

Kieran Gibbs.Potentially very good...potentially. He is a player, who is similar to Clichy. Hes quick, comfortable going forward, and is a local boy, Arsenal fan, who has looked calm and composed and who will be a very good Arsenal left back in the future.

His recent call-up to the under 21's and his end of season Arsenal appearances have come quickly as he has suddenly appeared from relative obscurity with performances mature beyond their years. In my opinion he needs a couple more years, learning, making appearances, developing under Wenger and Pearce, and learning from Clichy.

Armand Traore however, i believe will be number two. Hes has a decent season a Portsmouth and is highly thought of at the Emirates. His recent admission that he wants to come back and fight for his place is brilliant news, hes going to get even better, and developing nicely and is a very good attacking full back.

His defensive side will improve, and therefore i can see him as back up, filling in for the inevitable resting of clichy and a few games out through injury or suspensions.

We have a few choices in midfield, especially in the centre. Cesc, club captain and focal point of the team and the decisive, fast,attacking brand of pass-and-move football which we play with is cemented in his role. His partners position however is up for grabs, assuming we play a four-four-two.

Samir Nasri, despite his attacking brilliance, has said how he enjoys playing the defensive role, and has played there for France. He has more influence in the middle, is good and going pass people and has a reliant passing range, like Xabi Alonso, with less maturity and experience, but more mobility.

The jury is still out on his tackling, and although he has great potential, I can see Wenger using him more on the left wing, as an attacking mid-fielder cutting in and creating, hopefully scoring a few goals along the way.

If Arsenal play three supporting midfielders to a lone striker, then I could envisage Wenger giving him one of the roles, allowing him to create and dictate.

Recently Nasri had looked a very busy, very good player, scoring on his debut, and the brace against united showed us his attacking qualities, but this may not guarantee him his midfield role.

More likely to be Fabregas's partner is one of Song, Denilson, or Diaby. Ramsey will mostly be used in Carling cup games, and Fa Cup Ties, perhaps learning from Fabregas, replacing him in the lower profile games and infrequent substitutes appearances.

Denilson is a very good, efficient footballer and someone who Wenger rates. He played alot last season, more so than most other players, and his passing statistics, his ball retention and tackles and ground covered is brilliant.

He's got the potential to brilliant, but I think he needs to assert his authority and try and control midfields more.

He looks as though he is in awe of Fabregas as times, but his passing range, his work-ethic and consistency will see him making alot of appearances and getting even better. Not the midfield enforcer-protector he need in some games though.

"Song, someone who Wenger sees more as a central defender, has played central midfield alot towards the end of the season, and was arguably our best player with Arsharvin. He works hard, and he makes good tackles.

His passing is ok, but hes a Good football, despite his flaws, and someone, who again will be even better next season, and hopefully will be authoritative. However he can be infuriating.

At times it appears as though hes not trying hard enough, as if hes not running as fast as he could, he always gets to where he should be though, so credit to the man, he's goign to have a big role to play, especially if we don;t sign a YaYa style enforcer.

Diaby looks as though hes another Wenger favourite.

He has so much potential, and is infuriatingly inconsistent. He hasn't been the same player since THAT injury at Sunderland, but Wenger still likes him.

Similar to Patrick Vieira in stature, its almost as if he doesn't know where he should be playing, and it definitely should not be as a support striker or left winger.

Although to be fair he wouldn't have been playing there had it not been for injuries to Rosiky and Nasri, and the ineligibility of Arsharvin, but again, he has equal opportunity with Song and Denilson so stake his claim, assuming Arsenal don't sign another more defensive midfielder to command midfield, and if that happens, then it will be time for the others to raise their game and not stagnate.

We are blessed in the attacking department, 'nuff said. If it wasn't for the appalling injury record of late (come back Gary Lewin!) I think we would have ended our barren run two seasons ago and bad luck wouldn't have delayed success.

Assuming Adebayor stays, options are limitless.

Robin Van Persie - Technically amazing, quick, loves the role off of the striker. He scores some amazing goals, finally came of age last season, and is one of the most respected, influential, and driven players in the squad.

His form last season was his best at the club, and he knows he can improve, and given he avoids injury, which he finally appears to be over, he will become even more prolific, creative and influential.

Eduardo - yet to be seen whether he will come back the same player, but the glimpses of brilliance, and hs scoring record since he returned is great, If he recovers from his latest injury and gets a full preseason under his belt, then he will be the natural finisher we have been missing. Quick, Clinical and experienced, I can see him being the natural partner to Van Persie.

Adebayor is an alternative, perhaps for a different style of opponent, one where we need an outlet, some one who is big, strong, and unplayable, that is if his heart is in it. He is quick, a decent finisher, and he has the talent, 35 goals proved that.

But it does appear his head has been turned, I hope he stays, hes important, he signed a new contract, and Wenger wants him, but we shall see, if the right bid comes in, then we may just be that much richer.

Niklas Bendtner will have a good season, mark my words. This kid is good. His finishing is poor. Last season he missed countless chances, but at least he missed them! At least he got himself in the right positions! hes reasonably quick, his heart is in it, he's good in the air, and he looks like the replacement for Adebayor.

Niklas has come out and admitted that he had some really bad patches last season and is under no illusions, so he can only improve, and if he doesn't he'll be the first to admit it!

Carlos Vela. Impact player, play against the lesser premiership teams, and will hopefully improve even further, as this guy has a big big big future. His first season in England is through, so he can only get better! like Henry, like Pires, it takes time to adapt and he will be a big player, but not next season.

Rosiky, what a plus it is having this guy back. He is very, very good, he can score goals, create goals, his passing is brilliant, him and Fabregas work well together and his presence on the pitch can only be positive. Experience, talent, confidence and somebody who shoots.

Assuming he comes back fit, raring to go and no side effects to his injury, I can see him filling that left mid field birth. He really is a very good player.

Andrei Arsharvin. What a signing. Liverpool have Torres, United Rooney, City Robinho, and we have Him. He really is that good. Fast, direct, tricky, travels at spped and is very determined.

This guy has to start, and a team with Arsharvin, Rosicky, Van Persie, Fabregas, Eduardo, and Nasri in is a very very good side, attacking, creative, vibrant and there are goals all over the pitch, and the players can interchange, and forations can adapt.

That's all without mentioning Theo, and Without mentioning other fringe players such as Jay Simpson. For Simpson see limited games and perhaps a loan. For Walcott see rotation alongside Rosicky, Ade, RVP, Eduardo, Nasri, Arsharvin, Bendtner, and Vela.

Walcott offers something which the others don't, he gets in behind teams with his pace. His finishing is improving, his final ball needs work, and I can see him being tired due to summer involvements, but he will play alot for Arsenal, on the right wing or upfront, maybe depending on Adebayor, like Eduardo.

Alll in all it has he potential to be a very good year for Arsenal Fc. The team if it stays fit, and key players stay fit, is as good as United, Liverpool, Chelsea, and any other challengers, the difference is we play our own football, football the captures the imagination and entertains.

Our squad has all the star quality, experience and talent needed to progress even further. The signing of Vermaelen will hopefully be the start of a tighter, more commanding defence, with more communication and a renewed unity.

The attacking portion of our squad is outstanding, and injury permitting, we have the experience and know how in players like RVP, ARSHARVIN, EDUARDO, ADEBAYOR AND ROSICKY. All internationals, and all experienced, not to mention Cesc. So the future is bright, the futures Red and White.


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