Newest Review: ... the first south England football team to join the football league. Since Arsenal were founded they have gone on, to become one of the mos... more
Consistent, but always 2nd
Member Name: Carrow Road Canary
Date: 04/09/01, updated on 04/09/01 (25 review reads)
Advantages: Great squad, Great manager
Disadvantages: Can't finish above Man Utd
Arsenal are the team that are always around the top of the table, and always make the late stages of cup competitions – but they have now gone 3 seasons without a trophy, after the magnificent double-winning season in 1998
On paper Arsenal are probably as good as anyone in England, and are capable of reaching the later stages of the European Cup.
Arsene Wenger – Wenger has a reputation as a brilliant coach, yet his team are consistently finishing 2nd to Man Utd. He was a highly supported candidate for the England job, and is widely tipped to take over the Japanese national side when he leaves Arsenal. Despite Arsenal’s lack of trophies, Wenger is definitely the right man for the job.
For Arsenal this is a very strong area on the pitch. David Seaman, despite a lot of criticism, is consistently proving himself as the best goalkeeper in England. Richard Wright is the best young keeper in the country, and will get plenty of first team experience in cup competitions, before taking over from Seaman when he retires.
The famous Arsenal back four of Keown, Adams, Dixon and Winterburn is no more, and people have speculated for years on how Arsenal would cope with life without them. The answer is that they are coping very well. Sol Campbell is a brilliant choice to partner Tony Adams or Martin Keown – neither will play every game. Lee Dixon continues to put in his unspectacular but consistent performances on the right, and Ashley Cole is not only proving to be brilliant for the Gunners, but also seems to be the solution to England’s left-back problems.
Arsenal’s midfield is one that appears to have everything. Patrick Vieira is arguably the best midfielder in the England Premiership at the moment – only his temperament lets him down on occasions, while Freddie Ljungberg and a vastly improved
Robert Pires provide the creative flair which sees Arsenal score many great goals to watch. The much ridiculed but workman-like Ray Parlour may not have succeeded at international level but is as good at his job as any other midfielder in England. Giovanni Van Bronckhorst has proven himself in Scotland and is a versatile player who can play in defence, while Lauren and the so far unseen Inamoto should provide good cover.
Arsene Wenger faces the very difficult challenge of keeping 5 strikers, who on their day would scare any Premiership defence, happy.
Obviously, the best of these is Thierry Henry – he not only scores goals with lightning pace and deadly finishing, but creates just as many for his team-mates. Many people believe that Dennis Bergkamp is on the way down, but after his magnificent start to the 2001-2002 campaign, people will not be so quick to write him off in the future. Sylvain Wiltord started his Arsenal career slowly but by the end of last season he looked as deadly as compatriot Henry, while the always inconsistent Nwankwo Kanu may be the first of the 5 to leave Highbury due to a lack of first team opportunities – he is brilliant at times, but to play at the top level you have to be brilliant all of the time. Finally there is £10m signing Francis Jeffers, the vastly underrated ex-Everton hitman – he brings something to the team which no other striker has at Highbury, and that is the ability to get in the box and win the ball in the air.
On paper it could be a very exciting season for Arsenal, but expect another year of coming 2nd, and a disappointing Champions League campaign.