Do we have a squad? by Vuyo Mataka
After the loss against Nottingham Forest the fans feel as if we were embarrassed by a lower league team but, actually, we lost to a good Championship team that could be in the Premier league next season. The team were focused and had the fans behind them, and Arsenal did not take the fixture as seriously as our opponents.
Our team was mostly filled with squad players, plus Saka, Odegaard, Martinelli and a start for the rising star Charlie Patino. The squad was also weakened due to players leaving for AFCON. The team looked as if they could win but it was not enough to cut down the Forest.
The result showed we lacked in mentality and in depth, especially in midfield. With the transfer market now open, it’s time to focus on building a squad with the quality to reach the top 4. With the defence, Holding and Cedric were not up to standard. Lack of game time could have affected their game but they are simply not at the level the club needs. Centre-backs should not be a focus, William Saliba should have the opportunity to prove himself. For right back, the club should look at options like Tariq Lamptey or Noussair Mazraoui to make the position more competitive.
Regarding midfield and striker, the club are in a predicament. With the club chasing Dušan Vlahović and with the midfield looking thin, will the club be able to do both or focus on one this transfer window. I feel the club has to prioritise midfield, with the likes of Bruno Guimarães and Mattias Svanberg so that the midfield is properly bolstered to help us secure too four.
It would be a dream window to be able to bring in Vlahović and improve the quality in midfield. With the owners spending big in the summer, it is unlikely that they would do so again. Midfield has to be the main aim, with Partey being injury prone since arriving in Arsenal and Xhaka being very likely to get red and yellow cards throughout the season, we need the players coming off the bench that are able to perform at the same level.
Arsenal finally have a recognisable XI with our young players performing. When an injury crisis occurs, will we still be able to get top 4? The club needs a better midfield to secure or even stay within top 4.
It’s time to make signings.