Last summer was terrible for Arsenal.
Three important first team members left and it took Arsenal a few months to get their act together. This season, after Theo Walcott refused to sign a new contract, it seems history is repeating itself. Arsenal, yet again, are losing their best players.
However, it seems to me that the changes are part of a plan. Arsene Wenger didn’t want to lose Robin Van Persie but he found replacements before he left, while Alex Song and Walcott might have been very important for Arsenal in the last couple of seasons – but obviously their best was never good enough.
Song was never going to be a midfield monster and Walcott… well, he is a frustrating player and I don’t think he is going to change for the better. His main asset is his speed and it made him probably the most overrated players of his generation. Quite a feat.
Now, Walcott & Song had 27 assists last year – mostly to Robin Van Persie, who scored 37 goals. “Arsenal will need to replace that” is the mantra. However, obviously Walcott, Song and Van Persie were never good enough to carry the team to glory. In many games the formula these three created wasn’t good enough. I think Wenger has realized it and that’s why he changed his team’s game plan.
Santi Cazorla brings in a different approach, while Mikel Arteta is a better midfield general than Alex Song.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is a more diverse player than Walcott. Olivier Giroud & Lukas Podolski might not be as deadly as Robin Van Persie but Giroud is very physical and contently on the move and Podolski is a workaholic winger who adds strength and directness that Arsenal might have lacked.
Replacing six major players in two years is a hard mission but it is made easier by changing your game. And that’s what Wenger has done.
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