Connect in the back of the net
A criticism labelled at Arsenal throughout the 2011/12 season, was the over reliance on Robin Van Persie to not only score goals, but to create chances for his team-mates. 


With the signing of Lukas Podolski, Arsene Wenger has attempted to take some of the strain off the Dutchman’s shoulders – yet the lack of a true creative midfielder in the absence of Cesc Fabregas remains a thorn in Le Professeur’s proverbial backside.


The Problem


When it became apparent Cesc Fabregas was to become a focal point of Arsenal, the transition from a 4-4-2, to a 4-3-3 come 4-2-3-1 took place.  The side was set up tactically, to give Cesc Fabregas ‘free-reign’ in attack. 


Simply put, the team was built around the Spaniard, and everything went through him.  Last summer, Cesc departed for the Nou Camp. This left a large hole in the tactical set up at the Emirates.

Fabregas… team was built around him which left a huge hole for the Gunners (Taken from Zimbio)

Despite it being widely considered that Mikel Arteta has been an astute signing; he is not Cesc Fabregas.  Mikel Arteta is a deeper playmaker, whom keeps possession ticking over and controls games – whilst providing essential defensive cover when Alex Song goes roaming. Arteta has filled the role left by injury-ridden starlet Jack Wilshere. 


Tomas Rosicky has provided creativity in the second-half of the season, but his work-rate is so much that he doesn’t feel comfortable having  the team on his shoulders. 


The Czech has had a remarkable turnaround, yet his age and susceptibility to injury means that a true, creative force has been lacking at the Emirates since the departure of el Capitan, Cesc Fabregas.



The Possible Solutions



Shinji Kagawa

Taken from Fan IQ

Whilst his Dortmund team-mate Mario Götze was the fan’s favoured choice to sign for Arsenal – a deal for the highly rated German seems very unlikely. His price tag would be far higher than £30 million, and the player himself seems very happy at Dortmund. 


His teammate Shinji Kagawa is a different story, however. It is accepted that the Japanese sensation Kagawa is going to leave this summer – for the Premier League. With one year left on his contract, Shinji would command a fee of around £15 million. For a player of his ability; it’s a steal.


The man would not only fill in the creative role, feeding Van Persie and providing vital goals for himself, but could also fill out on either wing. The versatility of the Japanese playmaker makes a deal all the more enticing. It seems Manchester United have also taken a liking to the Bundesliga player of the season, so perhaps Shinji Kagawa isn’t a viable option for Arsenal.




Younes Belhanda

Taken from Chrono Foot

Alongside Olivier Giroud, Younes Belhanda is a player who has had his reputation increased the most after Montpellier’s shock Ligue 1 title victory. The Moroccan has alerted many of Europe’s top clubs with his dazzling dribbling and immaculate passing range. 


Something that will have alerted Arsene Wenger’s attention is his great footballing intelligence. With 12 league goals and 4 assists – Belhanda could be another option. 


Would the player want to leave? I’m unsure. After winning the title with Montpelier, perhaps the 22 year old will want to try his hand at the Champions League with MHSC – much like Eden Hazard. 


Let’s hope for everyone’s sake that if he does leave next season, he doesn’t ‘troll’ fans like the Belgian.




Marvin Martin

Taken from Infos-Foot

The 5ft 7inch frame of Marvin Martin may not be described as intimidating. What is intimidating, especially to opposition players and supporters, is the ability of the young Frenchman. Being a traditional playmaker, Marvin is a player whom has been on Arsenal’s radar for a while. 


Giles Grimandi warned that he needed more time in the French League a few years ago – and he’s had that now. Perhaps Marvin Martin could be the man to fill the void.


In 2010/11, Martin notched up an incredible 17 league assists, and could be vital to take the creative load off the Captain Robin Van Persie. 


This season just gone was a lot quieter for Marvin Martin, so perhaps with him going slightly off the boil as it were; it could be a perfect time to pick him up on the cheap.




Robin Van Persie

Taken from Arsenal: The Offside

Van Persie is a player whom has never really been considered an out and out striker – until this season. He scored a remarkable amount of goals and was of course the Premier League golden boot winner, with 30 league goals. 


German international Lukas Podolski could allow Van Persie to drop into a more natural creative role. Despite playing as a lone striker – the Dutchman managed 13 league assists, a remarkable feat.  


Imagine how many assists he could conjure up as a creative player, a la Dennis Bergkamp? 




Arsenal revert to a 4-4-2


The most interesting option would be a tactical rethink and reshuffle into a modern 4-4-2, similar to Manchester United. Van Persie could drop slightly deeper in a ‘Rooney role’, whilst Lukas Podolski or rumoured signing Olivier Giroud could slot the chances away. 


With a strong midfield duo of Mikel Arteta and Alex Song providing a strong base, the wing play of Alex Oxlade Chamberlain and Gervinho could really come to the fore.


This is unlikely. Arsene Wenger realises the defensive mentality of his side is poor at the moment, so losing a midfielder could further reduce the stability of the side. The concept is interesting however, as Arsenal last won the Premier League with a flat 4-4-2 system.




Final Thoughts


To conclude, there are many different scenarios and ideas that can be drawn up when addressing the lack of creativity in the current Arsenal team. Theo Walcott and Gervinho also need to begin to create more from the wide areas. 


There are other options that I haven’t even began to talk about in my piece – such as Marek Hamsik or Kaka, however, if I mentioned all of the options, this article would be far too long. 


I hope I’ve given a decent range of options, and if there’s anything you want to discuss, don’t hesitate to contact me on twitter, I usually reply pretty quickly. 




Written by Frankie Hobbs
Follow me on Twitter @FrankieH_


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