Arsenal Need More Reliable Players.

One of the key features of championship winning teams is their consistency. The day in day out ruthlessness to beat teams up and get a job done. This is done by having reliable performers. Players whose performance you can predict and rely on.

Look at the Liverpool or City team. Over the course of a season, all of their first-team members have a predictable production. You know what Van Dijk will do against Stoke and Barcelona. You know what Aguero can do against Cheltenham and Chelsea. There is little doubt about how they will perform over the course of a season. This is why you know that they can pick up so-so number of points or go this far in a cup competition.

Arsenal do not have so many good reliable performers. We have Leno, Holding, Tierney, Xhaka, Elneny, Partey, Aubameyang and now Saka. That’s it. We know how Holding will play every match. He is a reliable performer. We know how Xhaka will play every match. We know how Aubameyang will play. We know how Leno will play. Now, we understand how Saka will play every match.

That’s just 6 reliable players in the team. As for the rest, we do not know how they are going to perform going into every match. Whether they will be good or bad. This is what the Benfica game has shown us. Ceballos, Luiz, Gabriel, Bellerin, Lacazette, Willian, Pepe, are not reliable enough. They fluctuate. We can’t depend on any of them to reach our set goals. They have good and bad games very frequently. And this is hampering our chances of moving forward.

Arsenal’s Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka and Arsenal’s German goalkeeper Bernd Leno celebrate. / (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)

This is why Arteta has stuck with Leno even when Martinez was so good. We know exactly how Leno will perform over the course of a season. There is no doubt or risk about that. This is why Xhaka plays all of the time. The coach can depend on his football three times a week. Holding has shown us over the course of three years that he’s utterly reliable, too. He is not necessarily the best defender but we know that he will be quite solid in every match. Saka, a 19-year-old, has joined this crew. We know how the boy will play three times a week. This is why he’s now our most used player. Aubameyang has become a little less reliable this season but he is far more predictable than the likes of Pepe, Willian or Lacazette. We know that if he gets shooting chances he is going to score.

We need more players who we can depend on day in and day out, especially in the final third. How do we know if someone is reliable? Simple: watch them over the course of several seasons. Houssem Aouar is brilliant in the Champions League but he blows hot and cold in the league. Grealish is far more reliable than him. We know that Lamptey will be frequently injured but good on the pitch if we get him because that’s what he already does.

Predictability is not easy to come by, especially good predictability. Look at all the previous high-profile transfers in the Premier League and compare the consistency of their performances before they got the move versus when they do. You will see a striking similarity. We need dependable performers to reach Champions League spots. We can’t just have 6 in the squad. That will make for a very turpsy-turvy team and performances, especially when one or two of those reliable players are injured.

Agboola Israel

This article first appeared on Just Arsenal and was syndicated with permission.

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