Analysis: Arsenal’s options in midfield


It has been more than a week now since the season ended and there isn’t much football to look forward to except of course the Copa America and a round of Euro 2016 qualifiers. There isn’t much happening from an Arsenal point of view either except the usual round of transfer nonsense which admittedly gets irritating after a point.

So today we’ll have a look at the central midfield partnership options that we DO have internally as opposed to considering players who may or may not sign the dotted line this summer.

The emergence of Francis Coquelin and his subsequent demolition jobs have shown us once again what we have been missing all these years since the likes of Gilberto Silva left. Hence it is quite probable that he might be the first name on the team sheet at the start of next season. His partner in crime for most of this season, Santi Cazorla or the indomitable Aaron Ramsey would most likely be the runner ahead of him according to the quality of the opposition, injuries in the squad and situation in the match itself.

Jack Wilshere provides an exciting alternative to the above two though, with his driving runs and ability to take on defenders, although this same quality is perhaps why the much fancied Ramsey – Wilshere pivot might never be a plausible solution while facing the big teams. Alex Oxlade Chamberlain is another name which comes to mind as the box to box option, partly because of his pace and defensive attributes and also because the manager has time and again reiterated that he sees him in the centre of the park as he matures.

Also, we’ve seen this season that against teams that sit back and defend the whole of the 90 minutes, Coquelin tends to become a passenger simply because he doesn’t get to do what he does best,viz a viz making tackles and interceptions, and breaking up play. In such a scenario, Wilshere as a deep lying playmaker with either of Ramsey or the Ox alongside him to do the dirty work might just put off the opposition and open up space for the wide men to exploit.

Amongst all these permutations, one name that seems to have slipped our minds completely is that of club captain Mikel Arteta. He has recently recovered from the injury that made him sit out the latter part of the season and with him reportedly being on the cusp of a contract extension, it will be interesting to see how the Gaffer uses his qualities for the betterment of the team.

He is a fantastic passer of the ball and at 32, has the experience and technical knowhow to control the tempo of the match from the middle. That is the reason why an Arteta – Coquelin combo might just be a very interesting option at some point in the season, especially while facing teams against whom we need to maintain a deeper backline than usual.

With the number of players getting linked with us, it will be a surprise if we do not add atleast one more body in central midfield but if it were to come to that, we do have a number of options to fall back on. Whether the players can adapt to these roles if and when they are needed to is what might determine our fate in crunch situations next season..

Till next time..

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