If Ivan Gazidis is to make good on the change he promised this summer, then Arsenal must aim to improve the weakest areas of their team – at this point in time, that would be central midfield.
Although Wenger conceded last season and bowed to the pressure of the board to spend big on Granit Xhaka (he was initially reluctant to spend as much money on the Swiss midfielder before the board assured him it was ok), Arsenal are still weak in the engine room of the team.
Having switched to a back three, the components that make up the midfield duo have become even more significant than in previous seasons.
In the past, Arsene adopted a variation of a three man midfield with Ozil tasked with connecting the midfield and attack. This often allowed for a partnership of Coquelin, Elneny, Ramsey or Cazorla to contend with all other aspects.
However, with a back three relieving some of the defensive pressure on the midfield duo, Arsene must find a new balance – one of strength, discipline and creativeness that can help to break down opponents and still stand resolutely against other teams.
With this in mind, Wenger must assess whether the current trio of midfielders are up to the task. On the basis of last season, the answer would be a resounding no.
Over the next three chapters, I will discuss the shortcomings and strengths of the three midfielders Wenger should look to improve upon. It’s a long read, so buckle in.
It’s easy to say that Arsenal would improve if they signed X, Y and Z, however this is not how football works; and it certainly isn’t how Wenger thinks.
I believe Wenger still sees Ramsey as first choice for that second midfield spot.
However, there is no doubt that the Welshman as well as Coquelin and Elneny have fallen short of the manager’s expectations and reinforcements should be sought…