- it’s time for Gabriel Paulista to get a regular starting shirt
Gabriel Paulista arrived from Villarreal in January and has impressed in the few games he has played.
With Per Mertesacker out in the last two games for the Gunners, the Brazilian international has stepped in and performed very well.
Against Liverpool, he showed maturity and leadership - marshalling the backline and covering for his partner Callum Chambers. Against Newcastle, he partnered well with Laurent Koscielny to ensure that Newcastle couldn’t register a clear shot on goal.
The center back combines the aggression of Koscielny and the leadership of Mertesacker in his game and on current performances, he should be able to replace the big German or rotate more often with him and Koscielny.
- We need a backup defensive midfielder
Arsenal’s focus has largely been on signing a new striker this summer. But against Newcastle, we where given a reminder that it is not the only position that needs strengthening.
Coquelin was the target of so many tackles from Newcastle on Saturday, with the red card to Mitrovic and some other yellow cards shown to Steve McClaren’s men coming from challenges on him – thankfully, Coquelin doesn’t have Wilshere’s ankles.
However, he certainly isn’t superhuman and so at some point he hobbled after one of the many ferocious tackles. One could sense the dread that spread through the minds of everyone that had anything to do with Arsenal, because Mikel Arteta is no longer seen as a worthy back up for the battle hardened midfielder. And so, the need for a back-up is vital.
- Mesut Ozil is a vital piece to our attack
The German missed the Newcastle game through injury, and he was sorely missed.
With an early red card, Newcastle resigned to struggling for a draw, setting up two defensive banks of 4 players with a lone forward who still spent most of his time in his own half.
At that point, breaking down Newcastle’s defense became a headache for Arsenal, with Aaron Ramsey - who was replacing the German, not being able to produce the trademark Ozil passes to create chances for the team.
- We need a Striker
Asides the fact that we didn’t have Ozil on the pitch, the midfield also had no one to inspire them upfront. The Arsenal attack lacked leadership upfront due to the almost non-existence of supposed strikers – Walcott and Giroud.
Against a team setup to defend, chances are sure to be hard to come by and as such a striker is expected to be at his clinical best to finish off those few chances and inspire confidence in his midfield.
But on Saturday, not only did Walcott squander the few chances he got, he also didn’t pose any threat to Newcastle’s defence and was easily bullied off the ball, till he was hauled off for Olivier Giroud; only for the Frenchman to prove an even worse option, coming on to be ineffective and finding time to also squander his own share of chances.
If ever a game showed that Arsenal lacked a striker, this was it, and if Wenger is really serious about the Premier League title this season, come Tuesday night, the number 9 shirt at Arsenal should be occupied by a worthy striker.