On one level that was a pretty impressive display by the Gunners against Newcastle. However before we get carried away and start predicting great things for the club in the new year it is worth noting the following. Firstly, injury-crippled Newcastle aren’t far off relegation fodder at the moment. Secondly Arsenal were poor for much of the first half managing only a couple of meaningful chances in addition to their goals.
There are clear holes in the team which need filling and Wenger, for all his talk of only signing exceptional players, knows this to be the case. No matter how big the new sponsorship deals are, not qualifying for The Champions League will blow a huge chasm in Arsenal’s financial plans and at the moment Arsenal look like a team that could well finish fifth or even sixth.
Also the pressure on the manager (and the board too) from the fans is starting to increase. What was the odd murmuring from disgruntled supporters a year or so ago is now a crescendo of discontent and it is an issue that needs to be met head on this January.
So, to help Arsene out a little, here are the six players who I think could transform Arsenal’s season. Obviously Arsenal would be unlikely to secure all six, but they are clearly missing a striker, a defensive midfielder, a wide player (especially if Arshavin goes) and a left back (if as expected Santos heads to Turkey).
This lot should realistically cost £30-40 million in signing on fees and a significant wad in wages. However that should still leave plenty of cash for more rebuilding, and in particular that marquee striker signing, in the summer.
So who have I missed?
Pics from PA
1 Theo Walcott
Well, who else!? Walcott has been superb this season and three goals and two assists against Newcastle tell their own story. He is also building up a partnership with Giroud in the same way that he did with RVP last year. The Newcastle game looked like a really interesting template for the future of the club. Walcott through the middle latching on to balls from Podolski and Cazorla for the first 60 minutes and then teaming up with Giroud for the last half hour. Premiership defenders won't know what has hit them. It is ridiculous that Walcott hasn't yet signed a new contract. In many ways his lap of honour after the Newcastle game felt more like a Van Persie-esque goodbye than a celebration of a hat-trick. He is however making positive noises about re-signing. Arsene and the board need to give him what he wants and quickly.