Another year, another Arsenal side that supposedly flatters to deceive. Or perhaps next year the media will not pile so much expectation on a side that always punches above its weight. This is a side that lacks a truly dominant central defender, a commanding goalkeeper, and a tough-tackling midfielder, yet Arsene Wenger manages to paper over these cracks, and get closer each year to delivering major silverware. While Man United will take some stopping, Arsenal are best placed to do just that.
There are many valid reasons why Arsenal have not splashed out, and brought in another tough Viera-esque midfielder. One important issue is that the whole world is aware of this problem. What is Wenger supposed to do…beg Milan to let Gattuso go? The age-old problem of having an obvious position to address in the transfer market is that clubs can smell desperation a mile off. It is why Newcastle will struggle to buy a quality striker this summer (or at least what Mike Ashley will claim). And it is why Arsenal will continue to toil in their attempts to buy proven warriors in their key positions. Unless you are Man City – where money is no object, you can always be priced out of the market. Perhaps the Gunners’ best hope is to wait on Nigel de Jong inevitably becoming unsettled at Eastlands and slapping in a cheeky £10m bid.
Having said all that, this current Arsenal side remind me of an impressively assembled Football Manager team, which goes close in all competitions, but somehow contrives to lose the biggest matches in winnable circumstances. I’ve been there so many times – getting to a cup final against opposition such as Birmingham, playing them off the park, and getting beaten by a sucker punch goal. The problem here is not mentality – simply attitude. What I would suggest is getting the likes of Tony Adams, Martin Keown, Ray Parlour and Patrick Viera in as coaching staff. Perhaps even David Seaman? Well I’m done telling Wenger how to manage.