November is upon us. 3 months into the season, good time to see how Arsenal have fared so far and the road ahead.
Premier League: 10 games. 6 wins. 2 Losses. 2 Draws. 2nd in the Table. 5 points behind Chelsea.
Champions League: 3 games. 3 wins. 14 goals. Top of Group H.
Carling Cup: Quarter finalist after defeating Tottenham and Newcastle.
These look like good statistics. A closer look at the squad and the players that have been influential in getting us here will make it even more pleasing. It is so because, we cannot pin-point one particular player who got us here. We’ve had Theo Walcott, Chamakh, Jack Wilshere, Samir Nasri & lately Alex Song too to thank for, for where we stand now.
Our dependence on talismatic players is reducing. Which is a good sign if we wish to compete and win different competitions in the months ahead. Another boost would be the players coming out of injury at the right time. While Walcott & Bendtner came back in previous week, Van Persie and possibly Aaron Ramsey’s return too is on the anvil. Only Thomas Vermaelen seems to out for a long time, quite surprisingly. Read on..
November has a whopping 8 games in store for Arsenal. 5 of them being in the Premier League. 2 Champions League and 1 Carling Cup fixture against Wigan. Considering the amount of stamina required for such a daunting task, Arsene Wenger must be relieved to know that he has a big squad to choose from in all positions. Only thorns would be Vermaelen and Gibbs. The difficult task would be to get a good shuffle of players and prioritizing the trophies.
Arsenal will be facing some tough opponents in November, some of whom will be vying for a spot in Europe. We are 5 points behind Chelsea and ahead of Manchester United due to a better goal difference. Any slip-up or points lost during the month will only make our title challenge weaker in later months. Some of teams drawn up for Arsenal this month have struck good form recently and cannot be taken lightly.
Arsenal have had just 3 clean sheets this season and it is a niggling worry. It is wonderful to see Alex Song in the score sheet. Equally delightful to see him appear in the box for goal scoring/creating opportunities. Same with Jack Wilshere. But a tougher opponent might catch us on the break if others don’t get back to take up defensive duties. Fabianski has been good in the last few games. But only consistency gives us the confidence and faith in our goal keeper. He is yet to attain that level of faith.
Arsenal’s performance in Champions League has been excellent. They have dominated their opponents by scoring 14 goals, while allowing just 2 against them. If Arsenal win against Shakhtar Donetsk, they would qualify for the Round of 16 in the Champions League. The remaining games against Braga and Partizan Belgrade can be taken lightly. But Shakhtar at their home cannot be as easy as Shakhtar at Emirates. It should be a tough encounter.
In previous seasons, we wouldn’t look at Carling Cup so closely. But a drought of silverware can change things. It was surprising to see the starting XI in the 2 games. Even more surprising was introduction of Fabregas against Newcastle at 69 minutes when Arsenal were leading the game 3-0. Next up is Wigan. Arsene Wenger is certainly following his words with actions on the field. He does seem determined not to take this competition lightly.
It would be ideal to win all the games in November. But do we have the squad to achieve that? Let’s see.
Goal Keeper – Good
Fabianski is building our confidence. Sczczesny was good against Newcastle.
Defense – Weak
Right back – Sagna & Eboue are equally good.
Left back – If Gibbs is out for long, Clichy has trouble. Eboue might take up this spot like he did against Newcastle.
Centre back – Koscielny & Squillaci are pretty strong. Djourou isn’t. But these 3 will have to be shuffled until Vermaelen is back.
Midfield – Exceptionally strong
Our strength is in the midfield. While Fabregas, Nasri, Wilshere and Arshavin can provide the creative bursts, we have Song, Denilson, Rosicky and Diaby to provide strength in the midfield. Not to forget the blistering runs of Theo Walcott.
Forwards – Good
Chamakh has proved to be an excellent signing. Immediately gelled with the team. Bendtner has proved to be good by scoring important goals in dying minutes. Van Persie coming back is a huge bonus. We wait to see him strike some form. Vela can be useful too.
To wrap it up, November looks exciting. Arsene Wenger might have a tough time getting the right balance in a team for every game, but he has a potent squad at his disposal. We, the fans, are assured of excellent football. Go Gunners!
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Note: If any of you want to share your views/opinions on the club from N5 (read: Arsenal!), leave Us a comment at the bottom. We’ll get back right away & be glad to give you a chance. Keep Gunning..