There’s probably a name for it, there usually is in this internet age. Moore’s Law, Godwin’s Law; there’s a law for everything. This one demands that we herald the superiority. We’ll call it Invincible Law and the basic premiss is that every argument about Arsenal winning the title will inevitably end with someone telling you that we don’t need to recreate The Invincibles as if they are slamming down a winning card in a game SNAP! on the table.
Which is entirely flawed. We do need to recreate The Invincibles, a point that Arsène made at his press conference. “The problem we had this season is Chelsea had no real blip. They [have] lost only two games” might be something of an anomaly in recent seasons but to me that underlines how poor recent title-winning sides have been.
In losing just twice, Chelsea underline how far Arsenal have to travel in terms of consistency. We’ve begun that journey with as strong a run as could have been hoped for in 2015. The trick is to continue that into next season and beyond Christmas as well. To stop being a half-season team. Work on the basis that Chelsea will come close to matching this form next season, even if the reality pans out differently.
In other words, strive to recreate The Invincibles.
Is it possible? Who knows but we have the resources to give it a good go. And it’s not about signing Galacticos. If it was, Real Madrid would have won their league and Champions League a lot more frequently this century. It’s about getting a group of players who gel together. Yes, they are going to be at a certain level but some of them may not be household names or even regular choices for their country. It’s about how well they can fulfil a role at the club.
Transfer talk is just opinion and there is no right or wrong answrer. Actually there is, the manager who guides the club to the title is the one who has got it right. Even experienced football professionals argue about signings. Hell, even the present and presumed future Arsenal managers are at it. Arsène quipped that he didn’t need to sign more players than Tottenham this summer. Yes, Arsène, you do, said Thierry Henry in his latest tabloid tale.
Henry argued that even when joined Arsenal, there were quality strikers at the club who could rotate with him as needed. Suker, Kanu, Bergkamp; they all chipped in with important goal tallies that season as did those who followed the former pair. Henry noted that whilst he was the dominant scorer, those players provided serious alternatives if needed, which he feels is a crucial difference between then and now.
If Sanchez is more prolific than Bergkamp, Henry feels that Giroud needs others to support him, to compete with him, to provide an alternative to him, in the role of lead striker. One of those is surely Danny Welbeck, who freely admits that he is disappointed with his scoring record since joining. Like Walcott, aspirations to lead the line seem something for the future rather than the present.
Another defender, another goalkeeper, another defensive midfielder; you’ll find find a champion for each cause without looking too hard. With arrivals this season in each of those positions, I am not sure that Arsène will support each one although his decision for goalkeeper will be based more on what happens with Wojciech Szczesny this summer.
One thing is for certain, Gabriel, Ospina and Francis Coquelin are certainly not going to roll over and give up their places in the side without a fight. Of the trio, only the Colombian’s path to the top can be viewed as relatively smooth; the other two have known the moments when their careers seemed to be on a downward spiral. Both at young ages as well.
Coquelin certainly is not going to shy away from a fight if his Guardian interview is anything to go by. Annointed Arsenal’s King Of Counter-bling by Amy Lawrence and it seems a fitting title to be worn, one that captures his role in the side perfectly. He has also refocussed the manager’s mind on the benefits of a specialist in that position rather trying to find the perfect midfielder, one who can tackle and spray a defence-splitting pass. Going back to basics has been Wenger’s saviour this season, as well as Coquelin’s.
Similar in outlook to Gilberto Silva, quiet, unfussy, win the ball and pass to a teammate to distribute. It’s a simple mantra to adhere to but a difficult one in practice. Every youngster wants to show off, according to Coquelin. Perhaps we could call that Song’s Law, where a player gets such an elevated idea of their abilities that they think they are Messi, forgetting that they forged their career on being Nobby Stiles.
Coquelin seems more grounded, the school of hard knocks has along the way built one of Arsène’s favoured traits; resilience. How he will react if someone with an enhanced reputation arrives in the summer will be interesting. Henry pointed out that the competition is good for the squad, for players, as it raises their game and contributes to achieving their aim: winning the title.
How many will be needed to achieve that? Put ten Arsenal fans in an empty room and you’ll get twenty opinions…