Next season’s midfield will be different, Arsene’s chance at magic, and why the Hazard rumors make sense

Lots of talk about new imports. Some are just funny, others smack of possibility. Holding aside names for just a second, even if only 10% of  the rumors are true, a pattern is starting to emerge. Yes, yes, of course goal keeping and defensive support, but more importantly a particular focus on the midfield; or, rather, a type of midfield player. All year Arsene supported his midfield, but something seems to have changed. Arsenal is being linked with midfielders of a certain type at that; a type that we don’t have. This means big changes are coming this summer.

Lets face facts, Arsene isn’t going to splash the cash on expensive imports. And truth be told, besides the media attention, it’s not really worth it. Besides, what famous players can Arsene buy that isn’t outrageously expensive -cough cough real madrid.

But if one follows the rumors and looks for patterns, glimmers of Arsene’s strategy seem to emerge. Whether one looks at the most extreme purchase like Eden Hazard, or the more likely Anders Herrara, the rumors indicate a subtle shift in the type of player Arsenal is being linked to.  No more Diaby’s and Nasri’s, no, the new players are more passing oriented players. One rumor recently linked us with Ibrahim Afellay.  Again, a passing type. None of the midfielders we are being linked with are big time scorers or the dribblers we have.

Granted, rumors are just that, rumors. But the power of rumors is more often in what they signal. I for one don’t trust the blogosphere to be so perceptive as to get it right, even by the law of averages. No, this is something more; we are hearing the whispers of Arsene’s inquires. To be sure, inquires, not confirmations. But from these whispers we can see where Monsignor is headed.

If Arsene truly believes in the 4-3-3 then he watched as barca’s passing sliced and diced us and they threw at us more scoring threats than we could handle. Fixing the defense is obvious, but our midfield has come up short as well as have our forwards and strikers. This is where Arsene will make the sly move the soccer (football) world has come to know so well.

If Arsene wants to succeed, finding the right ingredients to finalize the midfield is key. Too often our midfield has sputtered about. “Physicality” as our island cousins put it, is not the key. Organization and skill will win. Give us three players that can cut the defense with a knife of a pass and a forward line that can finish and the game is over.

Oddly enough, fixing our forward line is easy, we just need one player that can finish, two would be a blessing. That would end most teams chances. The midfield is the challenge. We lose to the big clubs because they can focus on Fab, shut him down and we falter; add one more player to open up the pitch and Arsena has his magic. I don’t know who it will be, but rumors like Hazard or his type of player (a la Herrara) make a lot of sense. Imagine just one more player of that type.

-the student


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