Arsenal sit 5th, just a point off the top 4. Having been relatively disappointing at times after much was expected going into the new season. But besides the blip at Southampton, the new year has brought positive results, players returning and form hitting key players at the right time. The January transfer window gives Wenger a chance to improve his squad going into the home straight of the Barclays Premier League season.
Having already signed Krystian Bielik from Legia Warsaw, we’ve been linked with many players, mostly with defensive traits. But can we secure champions league football with no further arrivals?
Well after our performance at Eastlands on Sunday, much doubts about the squad has been squashed for the time being. Coquelin’s return has gotten the best of out the defence and to a large extent ended cries of the need for a holding midfielder. He’s always looked the part but now he’s mastering it. If he continues to play at the level he is at, bringing a World class player in his position will be a want at most. A rival is welcome but you don’t want to it to ruin what Coquelin is doing currently, at the moment it can wait till the summer window.
Arsenal currently only have CB pairing Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny as their primary central defenders. However full backs Calum Chambers, Nacho Monreal and Mathieu Debuchy (injured) are all capable of playing there and have done so when called upon. A disciplined back up CB is still necessary as we cannot rely on our infamous injury record, which currently sees Captain Mikel Arteta and Debuchy as previously mentioned out of action for at least 3 months.
We’ve been in this situation before and still achieved Top 4. I’ve been less optimistic about our season in recent years, and somehow we turned it around. 2011-12 season springing to mind. We’ve got stiff competition from Manchester United and Southampton, and if you look behind our shadow you may just see Spurs somewhere in the midst of the battle too. The Saints in particular have been very impressive this season but do they have what it takes to see it through especially with Schneiderlin & Wanyama out of action? Inexperience could turn out to be a downfall. United will not want to finish outside the Top 4 again and there will probably be more of a meltdown at Old Trafford than us if they do not achieve Top 4 for a successive season, having the most expensive team and splashing almost double the amount in transfers as Arsenal. So, there is Pressure and in the Premier League there’s loads of room for exploitation.
After victory over City we are now just a point off the Top 4. Our goal difference will need to be improved in case worse comes to worse, but with Ospina & co keeping clean sheets and our attack putting the ball in the back in the net, it all seems good, for now.