Arsenal football club are at the middle of the 2008/ 2009 EPL season. This is an interesting transition year for the club. They are currently on 5th place with 35 points from 10 wins, 5 draws and 5 defeats.
Their best defensive lineup on papers should be Alumnia, Sagna, Clinchy, Toure and Gallas. They have conceded a total of 23 goals.
GK: Alumnia - (rating: 7)
Alumnia did reasonably well and is constantly improving. He shows he can be the No. 1 goalkeeper for Arsenal but he needs to command his area better.
DR: Sagna - (8)
Sagna is the best defender among all of them with the most consistence defending and attacking play.
DL: Clinchy - (7)
Clinchy is fantastic going forward but seems to be suspected at defense as he is out of position at times. His pace is his greatest strength but is also his weakness as he keep relying it to bail himself out of trouble. Once his positioning and defensive awareness improve, he will be the best leftback in the world.
DC: Toure - (6)
Pretty good until this season. Seem suspected at defending at time. I still believe he can be at his best.
DC: Gallas - (6)
A solid defender but seems to mess it up at Arsenal. His partnership with Toure doesnt seems to work as both are too similar. I feel Gallas is too slow and old to be an Arsenal player. I doubt he will be around for long
Silvestre - No pace, no height but lots of winning experience. Seems to be over his prime. Defended horribly at times (5)
Djourou - Pretty fast, tall and good in the air with pretty good ball distribution but need more experience before becoming a first team player (7)
Eboue - Utility man who play everywhere but doesnt impress me at all this season. He can be a reasonable player but his confidence is rock bottom (5)
Fabianski - Super reflexes and a great shot stopper but I think he wont be ready until 1 - 2 seasons later. Lack the commanding presense in the box. (6)
I feel Rosicky, Nasri, Farbegas and Dennilson will be the best pairing when they are all fit. Some would prefer Walcott to the right as he has great pace but I still feel Walcott loses the ball too often. He will be more of an impact player till he can protect the ball better. I have seen a lot of improvement from him lately. Maybe 2009 is the year for him.
LM: Nasri (7)
A very skilful player with pace and trickery. He can also score crucial goals. He will be a great player but probably he will only reach his peak EPL form somewhere in 2009.
RM: Walcott (7)
Very fast and explosive player. He can either be world class or average. He still need 1-2 years to be really good
CM: Farbegas (6)
Pretty disappointed by his standards but I dont blame him for his poor form. Personally, I think he is still adapting to the new tactics. I feel that Wenger's new tactics is to play with 2 center midfielders without any anchorman. Both CM have similar attributes and when one attack, the other will defend and vice versa. The new era of midfield pairing.
CM: Dennilson (7.5)
Did extremely well based on his standards. Score some vital goals and is only 20 years old. Player to watch this season
Diaby - Play extremely well for 1 match and very poor for the next 3-4 matches. He has the skills but something is missing. Probably confidence (5)
Song - Pretty ok but more like a squad player. He is more like a Gilberto type of player than a Flamini. I think he will improve as he is only 22 (6)
Ramsey - Looks good and can shoot from distance. I doubt he will be a key player this year. (6)
Wilshere - Wonderkid. I doubt he will play a lot as Wenger will be protecting him from the media. (Nil)
Rosicky - Brillant at times but always injured. Yet to play for the 1st time this year (Nil)
Pretty reasonable but didnt have a permanent central pairing. Non of the strikers are on form at the moment. I think the best pairing will be Adebayor and Van Persie
CF: Adebayor (7)
Strong and good in the air. Still need to improve on his positioning and shooting. Can be a world class player.
CF: Van Persie (6)
Can be brillant and poor at times. I would say he has the best technique in the EPL and seems to lack confidence and teamplay at times. Pack a powerful shot and a great freekick taker
Vela - Wonderkid. He has fast pace and very good technique. He is always willing to dribble and take on players. He doesnt lose the ball as often as Walcott. I have a feeling he might be better on the wings if he improve his defensive abilities (7)
Eduardo - Injure due to a horrific accident last year. A world class player when fit (Nil)
Bedtner - Average player. More like a squad player but I feel he would be sold if he dont like to be on the bench (5)
Arsenal is pegged with injuries this season. Walcott, Farbegas, Rosicky, Eduardo are all injured for long period of time.. I think they will do better with 3 signings. A commanding, nasty centerback who can head the ball well and has pretty decent pace. I dont see a lot of such players. A good and fast winger/ striker in the mold of Nasri will give them more options on the wing/ attack. I think a decent buy will be Ben Hatam/ Silva but I doubt they will come. The last might be a midfielder in the mold of Alonso. I still feel Dennilson is the man but it might be 1-2 seasons too early for him. Let's see how it progress. Anything can happen.
Whatever happens, I believe Wenger knows.