6 Ways Arsenal Can Have a Top 4 Finish
Arsenal have had trouble this season. They are following down the table and are just two points ahead of relegation. If this catastrophic season doesn't improve, Arsenal will find themselves just barely clinging to their PL placement.
Yet I believe Arsenal still have it in them to make a top four finish this year in the Premier League. I will give ways they can achieve such goals and reasons why they will.
If you disagree with anything written in this article, please, do not hesitate to provide your own opinion in the comment section below.
Way 1: Play a Zone Defense Instead of Man to Man
Arsenal have struggled with defense this entire year.
Let it be from injuries or just poor performance, something is wrong. The addition of injuries to the equation just increases the fact that good defense is necessary to win matches.
Arsenal were playing a zone defense the at the beginning of the season, yet recently switched to a man-to-man type defense against Tottenham.
Zone may not have worked as well as they would have wanted, yet, with the return of Djourou and Koscielny, it will work much better than man to man. Players like Mertesacker and Jenkinson aren't fit to play man-to-man, because Jenkinson presses to hard and ends up committing fouls and Mertesacker isn't nearly as fast as PL forwards.
Zone defense allows players to cover a certain amount of area, thus not making them run all over the place trying to cover an opposing forward.
Reason 1: The Squad Is Recovering
Arsenal's injury list has been the main cause of their woes. Many ridicule Arsenal for their poor start, yet they were lacking many of their best players.
While they are still going to miss Wilshere and Sagna for at least another three months, the defending duo Djourou and Koscielny have recovered from their muscle and ankle injuries respectably. Center back Vermaelen and Diaby will be back into their playing rhythms shortly after the International break.
When they return, Arsenal's winning ways will start again. They will begin to win matches that they otherwise would have lost.
Song can go back to playing as a defensive midfielder when Vermaelen returns instead of CB. Vermaelen, the most prominent defensive player in the starting XI, will not only aid to improve the defense, but serve as a leader for the team, along with Van Persie and Szczesny.
The only thing that will not change for the better is the left back position. With Sagna out until at least January with a broken leg, Jenkinson ,one of the worst defenders on the entire team, will have to fill in for him.
Way 2: Acquire Eden Hazard During January Transfer Window
Eden Hazard has been on Arsenal's target list since last summer. They tried to buy the Lille playmaker during last summer's transfer window, yet Wenger's lack of transfer market ruthlessness halted the transfer.
Hazard would be an excellent addition to the midfield, playing either in the center as an attacking mid, or on the side as a winger. He has been known as a defender's worst nightmare. His creativity, speed and ability could bolster the Arsenal attacking side and help score the much needed goals.
While Hazzard may not be able to replace Fabregas in the midfield, he has much more potential than Nasri, and in the long run will be better for Arsenal.
According to ESPN, John Bico, Hazard's agent, told The Sun:
"Arsene Wenger wanted Hazard, but Lille said no to the sale last summer. Real Madrid have been watching too. "
While this transfer halt wasn't completely Wenger's fault, he must be more ruthless during transfer time–if Arsenal wants to improve.
Reason 2: Unpredictability of Tottenham and Liverpool
With the two Manchesters and Chelsea locking up the top three spots, it seems fourth will be a battle between Liverpool and Tottenham. Yet, Arsenal may still have the potential to make that fourth spot theirs.
Consistency has always been a problem for them. Last year, Liverpool finished in the sixth spot, and Tottenham the fifth. The year before that, Liverpool finished seventh and Tottenham fourth with Arsenal in third.
Liverpool and Tottenham seem to have found their rhythm this year, but could end up collapsing on themselves. With the injury variable still hanging over the heads of all the players, both teams could experience lapses in injuries, similar to that of Arsenal.
While it always possible that Arsenal find themselves once more riddled with injuries, it almost seems impossible.
Reason 3: It Is Only the Beginning of the Season
Many fans fail to remember that it is still the beginning of the season. They have only played seven games. There is plenty of time to turn things around before the end.
The real test will be after January. During and after January is when several major occurrences happen. It marks the return of Jack Wilshere and Bacary Sagna, who will both have suffered terrible injuries. The January transfer window will also determine several things:
1) Has Wenger developed the much needed transfer market ruthlessness that Arsenal so desperately needs?
2) Will Arsenal acquire any significant players that may change the course of the season?
3) Do the players that have been signed last summer worth it?
One of the big things is the third. If Arteta turns out to be a flop, it will be a very big disappointment. He hasn't lived up to the expectations set for him, high or not.
Mertesacker has had is good days and his bad days. He can at times let easy tackles or blocks through the defense while also making important tackles when needed.
If Arsenal doesn't improve by January, they will have to settle for fifth place or lower and a Europa appearance.