Arsenal Football Club: My Starting XI for 2009-10
With the departure of Emmanuel Adebayor and Kolo Touré to Manchester City, many Arsenal fans are worried that Arsenal is becoming a feeder club or that it will lose its place in the Champions League after this season.
As an Arsenal fan, I am disappointed in the lack of action in the summer transfer season, so I've come up with my own starting XI for this season. I am mixing existing players with a few new ones that would not break the bank.
Forward: Robin Van Persie
Even though Van Persie has been plagued by injuries during his years at Arsenal, I still think that he's a world class player and deserves to be in the starting XI when he isn’t injured.
When fit, he's a dangerous striker—he scored 20 goals in 44 appearances last season—whom I believe has not yet reached his full potential.
In addition, on July 8, he signed a new long-term deal with Arsenal, assuring that the Gunners will have his goal-scoring services for years to come.
Forward: Klaas Jan Huntelaar
Klass Jan Huntelaar would be wonderful at Arsenal. He is a proven goal scorer and compatriot of Robin Van Persie.
Nicknamed "The Hunter" for his goal-scoring prowess, Huntelaar would the goal machine Arsenal has been lacking since the departure of Thierry Henry.
Left Winger: Samir Nasri
Acquired from Marseille last summer, Nasri had a pretty good first season with the Gunners, scoring six times in 29 games.
After his first few games, Wenger was quoted saying “He is doing very well He is an intelligent boy and that is always a very good ingredient. When you are intelligent in life and with talent, you always have a chance."
Nasri is very quick and has excellent footwork, which makes him dangerous on the wing.
Center Attacking Midfielder: Cesc Fabregas
Easily Arsenal's best player and captain, Fabregas is a definite for my starting XI. He's young, versatile, and a world class footballer—and he's only 22.
He has the potential to become the best center midfielder in the world, and he is someone that Wenger must keep at Arsenal for many years. Thierry Henry has agreed that it is "vital" for Fabregas to stay at Arsenal.
Center Defending Midfielder: Stephen Appiah
I cannot claim that this idea is my own. I read another article on Bleacher Report that made a good case for Arsenal to sign the Ghanaian captain.
Here is the article:
Appiah would be the defensive player of Arsenal's midfield, and he could be the replacement for Vieira that Arsenal has been searching for since he left.
In addition, Appiah would not cost anything to sign, because he is a free agent.
Right Winger: Ricardo Quaresma
Out of the 11 players I have starting for Arsenal, this is probably the least likely.
Quaresma was bought by Inter for about 18.6m euros from Porto, but he has seen very little first-team action at Inter (13 games) and was loaned to Chelsea, where he only saw seven games to play.
Quaresma has not been given ample time at Inter to show his quality, but I think that Wenger would give him the chance he deserves and would be pleased with the result.
Left Back: Gael Clichy
Arguably one of the best left backs in the game, Clichy has been solid for Arsenal.
He was the second choice under Ashley Cole for his first few years with Arsenal, but when Cole left for Chelsea, Clichy got his chance to shine.
Clichy plays with consistency, pace, and patience, and he can move forward on the field when he has to making him a valuable full back.
Center Back: Thomas Vermaelen
Arsenal's only signing thus far this summer will be solid in the back for Arsenal.
Wenger said that "Thomas is primarily a left-footed centre back, but he's multi-functional and can also play at left back. He is strong technically with a positive winner's attitude, and I have no doubt his arrival will strengthen our team. Thomas Vermaelen will be a huge asset to Arsenal."
Center Back: Brede Hangeland
Standing at 6'5'', Hangeland would provide Arsenal with the physical size in the back they have been lacking.
Hangeland had a great season with Fulham last season and proved that he can defend against Premier League foes.
In addition, he is not signing a new contract at Fulham, having hinted that he wants to move on to a better club.
Right Back: Bacary Sagna
Bacary Sagna joined Arsenal from Auxerre in 2007 and made an immediate impact. From his Arsenal.com profile: "His positional awareness, tackling ability and aerial strength secured Arsenal's right side."
In addition to his defensive prowess, Sagna is also a strong crosser, making him valuable on the attack as well as defense.
Keeper: Manuel Almunia
No keeper is perfect, but Manuel Almunia has been very good for Arsenal between the posts last season.
For years, he was in the shadow of Jens Lehmann, but at the beginning of last season, he was given a chance due to the injury of Lehmann. During this period, he established himself as a quality keeper, with eight clean sheets in his first eleven matches.
Yes, Arsène Wenger is a genius. And being a Gunner fan for many years, I have come to trust his judgment.
However, no manager is perfect.
While I hope that whatever he does in the remainder of the transfer season keeps Arsenal in the top four, I thought I might add my two cents.