Do Arsenal Require New Players or Just Less Injuries
"Buy another striker!", is the cry which has gone round Arsenal for some time now, and while it's true every team could benefit from a world class striker being added to their midst, is it fair to claim Arsenal actually need one, or indeed new players at all?
I can feel a tangible wrath building as readers shake their heads and point at the table screaming, "Of course it is!", but the reality is, Arsenal had the best away record in the league, winning 11 of their games on their travels, more than Liverpool or Manchester City mustered with their much vaunted selection of strikers.
Speaking of strikers, the much maligned Olivier Giroud started 36 games and scored 16 goals in the league. Not fantastic, but then Thierry Henry in his second season only scored 17 from 35 games, and had only 3 assists, the same as Giroud. Lukas Podolski started 14 games and had 8 goals, and Theo Walcott started 9 games and bagged 5 goals, both very decent ratios (although some of the goals were scored as substitute appearances). Let's also not forget Aaron Ramsey, with 10 goals from 20 starts in the league. What tally might he have acquired were he to have started all 38 games?
Transpose these numbers into full injury free seasons and it's entirely possible that Podolski, following that ratio, could have close to 20 goals, Walcott something similar, and given both of these players penchant for an assist, Giroud's tally is consequentially also likely to have become somewhat higher. It's not unreasonable to speculate that, there are another 20 goals which could have been added, and, given that Arsenal's defence kept a fantastic 17 clean sheets in the league, those 20 goals would likely have turned a few of their 9 draws into wins, and turned around on of their losses. Let's not forget, Arsenal finished only 7 points behind Manchester City, having drawn their home game against the blues. Had Arsenal won that game.. the gap would be 4 points, so, only 2 results from those 19 extra goals could easily have landed Arsenal top.
However, this is of course only conjecture. Injuries are a reality for all squads. Manchester City coped without Sergio Aguero, who only started 20 of their games, as did Liverpool without Suarez, because they had able deputies to call upon. Yaya Sanogo and Nicklas Bendtner, with the best will in the world, do not constitute "able deputies" when you're fighting for the top of the league.
There is a requirement for another striker at Arsenal who has the prospect of scoring 25+ goals in a season in order to ensure that Wenger's men can fight on all fronts for trophies and the league. I sincerely hope Arsene realises this, and refrains from buying yet another attacking midfielder. There is more to come from Ozil, (you would certainly hope so anyway!), and with Rosicky, Wilshere, Cazorla and Ramsey all floating within the midfield, there is simply no need for any additions, not to mention Oxlade-Chamberlain and Serge Gnabry.
But then, I believed last year that these were exactly the same requirements, and in came Ozil, a player in a postion/roll I think Rosicky could easily have filled (and in fact, did so on several occasions while Ozil was "adjusting"), leaving £42million to have bought a Suarez/Costa etc. I'm genuinely worried something similar might happen again, especially given that recently, Wenger is not given to learn from his mistakes. It can't have escaped his notice that Arsenal could well have been 20 goals better off without injuries... and it's certainly within Arsene's repertoire to espouse what could have been, and then attempt to play out the next season in the hope that it will finally manifest.
We've had 9 seasons of that as proof and counting....
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