Arsenal started the 2010-11 season with nine recognized midfielders in the 25-man squad list submitted to the FA. With Wenger’s formation concentrating with many numbers in the midfield; nine was more than enough for an entire season. Aaron Ramsey had the lowest amount of appearances in the list due to his recuperation process still ongoing after Stoke’s Ryan Shawcross snapped his leg in two in February 2010. Abou Diaby was next on the low appearance list because of his niggling injuries but he still managed to make 20 appearances, scored two goals and laid on three assists.
Tomas Rosicky featured sparingly for the Gunners in the league but he made many appearances in the Cup competitions and managed to score his first goal since the Feudal Age against Leyton Orient in February. In total, Rosicky made 34 appearances and five assists. Recently departed Cesc Fabregas just one appearance more than Rosicky but he had an amazing haul of nine goals and 17 assists.
Alex Song was in the league of Gunners that amassed 42 appearances last season and he did well to score five goals and give three assists. Nasri made 46 appearances, scored 15 goals and laid on five assists. 2011 PFA Young Player of the Year, Jack Wilshere supplied nine assists while Andrei Arshavin tied with Fabregas at 17.
In summary, the nine midfielders registered for the 2010/11 season had 318 appearances for Arsenal with a joint goal count of 44. A midfielder’s primary job in terms of goal scoring is to supply assists for the forwards and Arsenal’s nine midfielders supplied a total of 59 assists.
At the start of the 2011/12 campaign, Denilson raised the white flag and has been shipped over the Atlantic to Sao Paulo. Diaby sustained an injury that will keep him out of action for a long while. Fabregas waved his goodbyes and packed his bags to Barcelona and Nasri is odds on to move to the oil-rich Blue half of Manchester. The manpower at the centre of the park is very little and the two games Arsenal has played so far this season hasn’t done well to convince anyone that the present crop of players can be banked upon to create chances for the forwards as the season progresses.
Here’s my take on the reasons why Arsene Wenger needs to sign a creative midfielder.