Welcome, a very merry TFFmas from all of us here at the blog. As we head into the holiday season, there is plenty to look forward to both on the pitch and off it and we are looking forward to the month ahead. This December we will be running the 25 Days of TFFmas, every day up until the big day we will be publishing Christmas wishlists from members of our team for what they would like their club to get for Christmas.
On this third edition, we spoke to TFF member and Football/Television blogger Marissa Thomas about her hopes for Arsenal in the new year.
Nobody is quite sure what to make of Arsenal’s last season, should the fans be happy that they came higher than third for the first time since the 2004/05 season and they snatched it from Spurs on the last day or should they be disappointed that they let slip a chance to win one of the most open Premier League seasons ever. With the arrivals of Guardiola, Conte and the pre-season Klopp has spent with his team, the task for the Gunners certainly gets harder this season but they have made a strong start. A couple of recent draws have hindered them slightly but they still remain within striking distance for when games against their rivals come around. The EFL Cup draw has been favourable to them, pitting the against the likes of Nottingham Forest and Reading and they are in the …. In terms of Europe, things have just turned sour, they looked on course to beat PSG to top the group but the recent 2-2 draw handed the advantage back to the French side with their head-to-head record, so once again the Gunners may have to settle for second place.
Wish 1- To have as few injuries as possible over the Christmas period
“Arsenal players get injured far too easily and it derails their season.” There certainly is a precedent for this as in recent seasons key players such as Aaron Ramsey, Olivier Giroud and Laurent Koscielny have spent significant time out during the season during which time results have taken a dip and Arsenal’s title charge has fallen away. Arsenal really need to either sort out the constant problem with injuries or introduce better depth so their season doesn’t become derailed so easily. “This will help Arsenal claim valuable points over the Christmas period and give them a chance to still be in the title race.”
Wish 2- More consistency
“Some Arsenal players go missing during important games.” A recent example being Mesut Ozil, who terrorised Swansea and Sunderland but when it came to the big games against Manchester United and PSG, he went missing. “Other Arsenal players that need to start making a more consistent contribution to the team are Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.” Both usually come from the bench but you never know what you are going to get with them and they either showcase brilliance or they look very average. Consistency is vital and out of all the big sides in the Premier League, Arsenal have struggled with it most in recent seasons.
Wish 3- Arsene Wenger to take more risks
“Arsene Wenger is too stuck in his ways.” Tactically, Wenger been criticised a lot over recent seasons. He often plays safe and doesn’t make radical team selections. Going into the game at Manchester United, he played both Coquelin and Elneny in centre-midfield and was punished for his conservatism. Also in that game, he refused to start Giroud despite the fact he would clearly be able to better deal with the physical game United were always going to provide. Then there is the issue of his dynamism. “I believe that Wenger takes too long to change things in a match when things aren’t going his way, he very often doesn’t make substitutions before the 70th minute and they need a longer amount of time to get into the game and make a difference.”
Do you agree with this list?
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Thank you to Marissa Thomas for contributing today, we’ll see you tomorrow for another member and another wishlist!