Analyzing the Opposition – Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool
It has been eight weeks now since this season started. Enough has been talked and written about Chelsea, Jose Mourinho and the way our team has been going about this season.
After understanding and analyzing all of our tactics, it was only fair that we took a look at the starting XI & bench strengths of our opposition and find some sense in their title aspirations.
So here we are, analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of the three teams who finished in the top four last season along with us and are expected to provide us some serious competition in our quest for the league title.
It has been a decade now since the Gooners lifted the league title (or any sort of title other than the FA cup last season), but there is no doubt that with the quality of players they have, the champions of top four finishes could pose some serious threat in the title race this season. Currently sitting on the 7th spot with 11 points, here we analyze their strength and weakness:
Attacking midfield: This has been the biggest strength for Arsenal with a total of 10 AMs competing for 3 spots! With the quality of Alexis Sanchez, Cazorla and Ozil, the Gooners are good enough to take on any defence and rip them apart with their incisive passing and creativity. Even with their long injury list, Wenger has got enough depth at this position with players like Oxlade-Chamberlain, Gnabry and Podolski to trouble any defence.
Defence: Now Koscielny and Mertesacker might not be the best CB pair in the league as some delusional Gooners might think, but they are still mighty good enough to stand tall against the best of attacks. But with Arsenal’s long injury history and a total of 6 defenders available for 4 spots, it could be a big worry if, say, one of Koscielny or Mertesacker gets injured. If that happens, there’s a huge gap between them & next in line (Chambers). While the fullbacks are decent enough, none is a top drawer.
Central Midfield: Even Wenger would say that the CM position is Arsenal’s Achilles heel. Oh wait, he won’t! Otherwise, he would have done something about it in the summer transfer window, wouldn’t he? Arteta has aging legs & is nowhere near his best years. Flamini, if fit enough, is usually just a couple of tackles away from getting booked. While Ramsey, when fit, doesn’t qualify as a holding player. So it’s pretty obvious, Arsenal need at least one DM/CM, if not more. Their January target, Sami Khedira would not be the best choice for the role, but he would at least be an upgrade from the wayward Flamini & aging Arteta.
Forwards: With Giroud injured, Arsenal are relying on a striker who wasn’t good enough to be 3rd choice at a struggling United side. Add to that, if Welbeck also gets injured, they might have to play Sanchez up top to fill the forward role. Certainly not good enough for a team aspiring to fight for the title!
Arsenal might have a good enough squad and quality to fight for the 4th spot, but with their obvious and glaring weaknesses, they are no way near the league leaders to compete for the league title.