Following the devastating Watford defeat and the damning comments made by Watford Captain Troy Deeney on BT Sport that followed after the game, where he stated that the Arsenal side were reluctant to fight and do the physical side of the game which is a key reason why we will miss Mustafi, for all his flaws of diving in, he is a strong defender and is always going to be challenging for that first ball, he is very good at intercepting and winning the first header and is going to be a sore miss if defensive performances like this are to follow. He also brings communication to the defence, as often more times than not he is the one talking most in the defence. The loss of Laurent Koscielny further weakens our defensive crisis at the moment.
Arsenal have been missing a defensive midfielder who breaks up play and can transition defence into attack for many years now and at Watford was no different. Last season with the arrival of Granit Xhaka many fans thought we had finally brought in a replacement. However, he had a poor first season and even though he started this season well in the Community Shield he is not the type of midfielder we needed. He is a very talented deep lying playmaker, but his lack of pace and timing of tackles or interceptions is poor and he rarely breaks up play. He offers steel to our spine but rarely gets to use it and when he does it will end in a foul (granted that a lot of the time may be down to his dirty prestige), so either Wenger has to start working with him to improve this or simply sign someone else who can do it.
Arsenal have lacked leadership in defence for a long time now. We have no real general who is going to command from the back and create the discipline along the back line. We need a centre back who is nasty and players fear (including our own) as well as one who isn’t afraid to voice his opinion and tell people when they aren’t pulling their weight. Currently, a centre back that does this doesn’t spring to my mind but with the network of scouts that Arsenal Football Club has surely they should be able to find a shortlist of players who fill the criterias needed.
Onto Mesut Özil. I love this man and believe he is an exceptional player, but he’s not good enough at Arsenal. If he had scored that brilliant opportunity before Watford got their penalty the game would’ve been over and we would be walking away with the 3 points. He is often too lazy and weak for the Premier League and even though I have defended him many times in the past I now think we are a better side without him in this current system. However much it kills me to say it from our recent performances I think we are. I have the utmost respect for him as a man and a footballer but he is not good enough for the Arsenal jersey and it’s time to move on. Mesut Özil brought Arsenal back onto the big stage and made us a big name again and for that he should always be loved by our fans. But, unless we change system to benefit Özil and protect his weaknesses then he shouldn’t be starting.
Arsenal have been too weak in recent history. They have never replaced the physical players such as Vieira, Adams, Keown, Petit, Henry. All these players were known for their strength and power, as well as their leadership. Key traits Arsenal teams have been lacking and this has been reflected on Arsenal’s league record in past years. It’s time to bring some monsters back into the side, Kolasinac was a good signing but more are needed in the centre of midfield and defence, too many times has big times been able to bully a result out of our side by picking on our weakness.
TheArseView (twitter – TheArseView)