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Wednesday, 4 January 2012

January Transfer Window Arrives Just in Time

This month could be vital in determining The Arsenal's successes this year. Having turned our initially disastrous season around, consistency is now key if we want to participate in next year's Champions League. Additions to the squad are fundamental in order to build from where we are currently. Presently, our strength in depth is one that has been rightfully scrutinised- there is a too big-a-gap in terms of quality and experience between our starting XI and the rest. Many would also argue that there simply aren't enough of 'the rest', which is evident from our shortage at full back. To seriously compete with the highflying Spurs, and Chelsea-who will no doubt open their chequebooks this month-these issues must be addressed-and preferably not on January 31st at 11.55 pm.

Set backs such as our 1-1 draw at home to Wolves (who beforehand had only taken four points from their previous eight away fixtures this season) and the extremely disappointing loss away to Fulham, epitomise our inability to maintain real consistency. 

On the other side of North London however, consistency against the so called 'lesser' teams is what keeps Spurs comfortably in 3rd place, six points ahead of us with a game in hand. They have dropped only 7 points against teams below 6th place (drew to Swansea and Newcastle, and lost to Stoke-all away). Tottenham's fine form this season is undoubtably helped by their lack of distractions: they're out of the Europa League and were knocked out by Stoke in the Mickey Mouse  Carling Cup. Not taking anything away from them though-they've done very well to win the games they 'should' be winning, albeit their record against the so called 'elite' is questionable (lost 3-0 to Utd and 1-5 at home to City).

In contrast, we have dropped 12 points from these such 'lesser' games (this was however our worst start to a season in 50+ years). Taking one point off Fulham this season is not good enough, and could come back to haunt us come May. 

As you can see from the table below, Tottenham have won 68% of their games, which is 13% higher than that of ourselves, and Chelsea for that matter. This clearly emphasises the contrasting levels of consistency between ourselves (plus Chelsea) and Spurs. 


League position


Games played

Games won (%)

Games lost (%)

Games drawn (%)





























In my view, any of the three London clubs could finish 3rd or 4th. I don't see why we can't finish in third place ahead of Spurs-there will be plenty more twists and turns this season. The fact that 85% of Arsenal's games are won or lost, it's fair to say it is fairly black and white for us-there's not much in between. As for Liverpool-well the stats show that they have the lowest win % out of those four clubs, and the highest % of draws. The 8-match ban of their only goalscorer Luis Suarez will seriously dent their chances of 4th place, so they too will need to invest this January-which I'm sure they will. 

Lyon's left back, Aly Cissokho
 It doesn't take a genius to see that we have major injury issues in defence-Wenger has publicly stated that he will be looking for a left back on a short term loan deal. Whilst slightly relieved that he isn't going to 'maintain faith in youth' in this situation and call up one of our 16 year old academy players, I do feel that signing a left back-who is an improvement to what we have currently-on a permanent basis is a much better option. I mean, this is hardly going to be the last time where Gibbs/Santos/both are injured, so why not prepare for the long-term? I certainly don't want us to be left in the same position as we were at Fulham where Squillaci is playing is our last option at full back. Not only that, but with no natural full backs playing, our attacking threat is significantly reduced. 

Aly Cissokho, a powerful, attacking left back, has been linked with us and Arsene is a known admirer. He has Champions League experience too, which has its flipside, as he'd be cup-tied this season. 

Furthermore, it's pretty blatant we need to sign a striker to ease the pressure and reliance on RVP to produce week in week out, due to the failings of Park and Chamakh (who's off to the African Cup of Nations with Gervinho). The return of Henry will have a really positive impact on the team; simply having him around in the changing rooms will be a massive boost on its own, and hopefully he can flourish in his new 'impact sub' role, in a similar way to that of Henrik Larsson when he joined Man Utd a few years back. Having said that, he cannot be our sole addition upfront. 

Bobby Zamora, doing what he does best
Personally, I feel we could do a lot worse than Bobby Zamora, a player who, without scoring 20 goals a season, would improve our frontline. He holds the ball up superbly and brings others into the game, whilst possessing a goal threat, as we witnessed to our own peril. He is one of the best in the Premiership at what he does and would certainly compliment Robin Van Persie's game. So why not?

The media have reported the likes of Lukas Podolski to be in the frame, however the boss has said he isn't interested. That doesn't mean much though-as we have seen over the years, most recently with Arteta. 

Wenger does make you wonder.

*stats taken from EPL Index

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