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.
Arsene Wenger has employed many tactics and formations in his 15-year stint at Arsenal Football Club but in recent times, he uses the dynamic 4-2-3-1 formation usable as 4-5-1 in defense and 4-3-3 in attack. The formation uses a line up of four defenders at the back line with two ‘holding’ midfielders protecting them. The striker spearheads the attack, supported by two wingers on each flank. The last available position belongs to the creative midfielder that plays ahead of the holding midfielders and behind the center forward. Wenger has to sign a creative midfielder because it’s an important piece in his jigsaw puzzle.
Arsene Wenger groomed Francesc Fabregas Soler to become one of the finest midfielders of his generation but the player has left Arsenal to join his hometown club, FC Barcelona. In his eight years at Arsenal, Fabregas amassed 303 appearances and scored 57 goals. Most importantly, Fabregas had a century of assists in Arsenal with 80 supplied in the Premier League. Wenger needs to sign a player of measurable quality to Fabregas because Arsenal lacked in the final third when they played Newcastle and Udinese.
Arsenal bought Little Mozart from Borussia Dortmund in 2006 but an injury suffered in the winter of 2008 took him out of action for the best part of 18 months. Since his return to full fitness, Rosicky has failed to live up to expectations and has found himself warming the Arsenal bench in recent times. Last season, he played 21 games in the Premier League and gave a meager return of two assists. With the sale of Fabregas and the absence of Nasri at the start of this season, Rosicky was in the first team sheet when Arsenal played Newcastle and Udinese but he was quite disappointing. Let’s not forget that he’s a player that is susceptible to injuries.
Robin van Persie scored 18 goals in 17 games in the tail end of last season because he had a consistent supply of passes from his teammates. His fellow forward, Theo Walcott supplied with a large number of assists but midfielders like Fabregas, Nasri and Wilshere also played their part. When Arsenal visited St. James Park last week Saturday, van Persie played like a striker that was starved off supplies because they weren't there for him. The only bright spark in that game that showed good signs of creativity was sent off after Joey Barton’s antics.
Wenger said, “The transfer window is still open and we are not scared to spend money if we find the right player. If it is for £2m or £20m, we will do it if he adds quality to our squad. We have all our scouts all over the World and we look everywhere.”
Wenger has proven that this summer with the signings of Gervinho and Oxlade-Chamberlain but Arsenal needs to buy one creative midfielder at least because the sale of Fabregas with the potential sale of Nasri will generate an amount in excess of £60m+ and that amount is more than enough to purchase a player that’s as good as the departed captain.
The media Vultures have linked Arsenal with a host of names ranging from Valencia’s Juan Manuel Mata to Shakhtar’s Will.i.an and Jadson but the gooners are still optimistic that Wenger would make a signing that would ease the pressure off him created by the fans.
In Wenger we trust.
This article was written by Toni Okike, a writer of an Arsenal blog called Gooner Daily.
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