This season, Mikel Arteta is dealing with the effects of two serious injuries that have affected the Arsenal team, which is challenging for the team’s performance as a whole.
There are now obvious holes in the defensive lineup due to the absence of Jurrien Timber since August and the recent injury to Takehiro Tomiyasu. As a result, Oleksandr Zinchenko has enjoyed more playing time at left defense, a development that has football analyst Owen Hargreaves concerned.
Speaking on Premier League Productions (which aired on November 12, 23 at 2:30 pm), the former midfield player for Bayern Munich named Zinchenko as Arsenal’s “only weakness.” Hargreaves questioned the defensive prowess of the Ukrainian player while still praising the team’s overall strength.
Zinchenko was criticized after Arsenal’s recent Premier League loss for his part in John McGinn’s first goal. Zinchenko’s defense raised eyebrows when he let Leon Bailey exploit him from Aston Villa’s right flank. The versatile star was apparently making even Arsenal legend Tony Adams laugh.
Zinchenko’s propensity to move into midfield raised concerns from Hargreaves, who underlined the need for a different strategy at left-back and claimed that this led to defensive weaknesses. He emphasized that Zinchenko’s defense was the team’s one weakness and urged him to concentrate on it.
Arsenal’s strategy is called into question by the criticism of Zinchenko’s performance. In an attempt to mimic Pep Guardiola’s strategy, Hargreaves conjectured about possible fixes and recommended adding another center back, perhaps starting someone similar to Gvardiol at left back. Alternatively, he suggested strengthening the defensive line by acquiring a conventional left-back.
Arsenal must make decisions on how to strengthen their team in order to mount a credible title challenge in the Premier League as the January transfer window draws near. Even though the topic of discussion is whether a striker or a center back is needed, the decision-making process is made more difficult by financial limitations, including the effect of Financial Fair Play (FFP).
Given Arsenal’s past January window experiences, where signing targets proved difficult, there is a tangible sense of urgency. The Arsenal board has to strike a careful balance between adding to the team’s strength and not losing any valuable time looking at feasible solutions in light of the FFP restrictions. For Arsenal’s strategic planning and hopes of winning the Premier League, the impending transfer window looks to be pivotal moment.