Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Are wholesale changes needed?

Arsenal fans are slowly starting to come out of the mourning phase for Sunday’s result, but moving forward is difficult when you look at the squad and wonder how we will get out of this sticky situation. Some fans are calling for Wenger’s head, some are blaming the board and others just downright blame the team. Visit any arsenal boards and you will quickly hear people calling for mass changes in the team. Often the cry is for a signing in each key position. Personally, I want to see some spending in this summer, but only 1 or 2 players.

Let me explain why this is the case. I am a strong believer that team chemistry is more important than individuals in the team. This becomes an obvious statement by looking at the league today. Chelsea signed 5 first team players that have featured regularly this season, Man City did the same. Man United, who are taking the league by a landslide have, by contrast, only signed two.

You could put the success of Man united down to better transfers, but I don’t really buy that. The likes of Eden Hazard, Oscar, Demba Ba, Javi Garcia, Maicon and Nastastic are all quality. Player-for-player City and Chelsea are both equal to – if not better than – Man United. Now this year could obviously be an anomaly so I decided to look back a few years. Since 2000/01 season, only two teams have added more than 3 regular first team players and gone on to win the league – the Chelsea team of 04-05 and the Man City team last season. Our team of ‘Invincibles’ saw several players join us that year, but only Reyes and Lehmann were first team regulars.  Maybe not conclusive evidence, but it suggests nonetheless that wholesale changes are unlikely to benefit results massively. Now let’s look at our last two seasons, ones where we have struggled to maintain our status as Champions League shoe-ins. 4 regular first-team players were signed this season and 5 last year (note that I have not counted Jenkinson or Chu-Young). Once again the pattern re-emerges, it is not conclusive, but you can see my point.

In conclusion, this summer my main hope is that we don’t lose any key players.If Wenger really does have money to spend, I hope he buys few quality players over several decent ones. A CDM and RB would do nicely – I’m not too worried about upfront, but that’s just me.

Anyway what are your opinions, What positions do you think need strengthening?
Feel free to leave a comment,

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