Protection or self defence against any form of attack is an important feature in any kind of warfare and a very serious training subject and procedure in the military of any country since their major responsibility is to protect the boarders and citizens of a nation against external attacks. In the military, battles considered to be won, are ones in which purpose is achieved with the least number of casualties. While, the glory, in form of reward or commendations are collectively shared and enjoyed, special thanks and recognition would be heaped on the defence team and the leader of the pack. For Arsenal, nothing short of such warfare mentality must be applied in prosecuting the 2014/2015 English Premier League season, as very formidable threats like Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and even North London rivals, Tottenham, would stop at nothing to launch attacks, mostly on the field of play, at Arsenal in a bid to oust them in the title race.
The defensive midfield position, commonly called the holding midfield role in modern football terms, belongs to that selfless player who makes a lot of sacrifice just to protect his back four. He covers more space in and around the defensive midfield more than any of the defenders. Most football teams in world football history that have achieved greatness, depended on a stand-out defensive midfielder who did all the dirty jobs of picking up loose balls and sometimes initiating attack by being the link between the defence and attack. Examples include Patrick Vieira of the ‘‘Invincibles’’ era for Arsenal, Roy Keane of the Manchester United’s 1999 treble fame, Xabi Alonso of the Liverpool’s famous 2005 UCL win and Claude Makelele of the ‘‘resurgent’’ Chelsea of the early 2000s. As football improved, we began to see modifications to the role with even more energetic attributes from players who had an eye for goals like Yaya Toure of Ivory Coast and Manchester City; Sami Khedira of Germany and Real Madrid; Steven Gerrard of England and Liverpool; and Fernandinho of Brazil and Manchester City.
It’s looking like a dawn of a new era for Arsenal going by the desire the team showed last term and the summer signings brought in by the manager this transfer window. Almost all positions in the team have credible and talented players and even some experienced assistants. However, the defensive midfield position, though stable, with experienced players like Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini, still needs that kind of player described above, on the long term. This is not to say Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini are not up to the task, for the upcoming season. They are respected veterans who would stabilize any team. While Flamini is known for the battles and the Gattuso-like wicked tackles, Arteta dominates the position with his fair tackles, good interceptions and his good passing ability.
The key however, to not only winning the EPL, other domestic titles and an European success in the upcoming 2014/2015 football season, but to an era of good football and total dominance in England and Europe, as seen with the ‘‘Invincibles’’, is a relatively young player, maybe versatile, strong and energetic, with an eye for the ball, a strong blend of Arteta and Flamini with some sprinkling of Yaya Toure and Arturo Vidal (goal scoring). Sami Khedira, the German and Real Madrid player, would perfectly fit this description but for his age. At 27, he won’t be as much of a long term plan as William Carvalho, 22, who may not have Khedira’s all round attributes as a player yet. In the immediate plan of winning the EPL, Sami Khedira’s expertise would in no small measure apply. His excellent aerial ability, hard tackles, quick interceptions, swift initiation of attack and goal scoring record would stabilize the team.
What Wenger would do next is unpredictable but the hope of signing one of the two players Arsenal has ‘‘forever’’ been linked to is not at all looking bleak.