Arsene Wenger has spent the better part of two decades with a single aim in mind:
Field an entire team of midfielders.
Despite the widely-held belief among many pundits and fans that football is a complex sport requiring athletes who are quite specialised in largely mutually exclusive areas of expertise, such as scoring goals, defending the flanks, managing possession in the midfield, and goalkeeping, Wenger believes that all eleven positions are in fact best filled by midfielders.
It appears that his undying ambition may finally be nearing fruition.
In the upcoming Arsenal season, Wenger has confirmed that he will shore up an oft-maligned back four with midfielders; replace his heralded new goalkeeper with a midfielder; fill the central holding position with either one or two midfielders, depending on the defensive requirement of the match; identify two players with pace to deploy as flanking midfielders; fill the central attacking role with a midfielder; and complete the attack by putting either one or two midfielders in the traditional striker roles up top.
With the summer transfer window far from over, there could be even more firepower brought in, as it remains to be seen whether Wenger will accomplish his goal of bringing in a marquee, world-class midfielder to the fold.
The Premier League season kicks off on August 9th against West Ham. Expected starting eleven below.
Keeper-midfielder: Francis Coquelin. Defensive capabilities on full display last season, Wenger has elected to move him to arguably the most defensive position on the pitch.
Centreback-midfielders: Mikel Arteta and Matieu Flamini are looking to finally cement a starting position anchoring the defense.
Fullback-midfielders: Gedion Zelalem and Aaron Ramsey. Wenger has elected to give Zelalem a chance at left back; it remains to be seen if his confidence in the youngster will pay off. Meanwhile, Ramsey’s beard is sure to add a Spartan-like grit to the right side of the defense.
Holding Midfielder: Jack Wilshere. The summer has not been kind to Wilshere, as the English media has caught wind that he may have been thinking about smoking a cigarette while on holiday. Despite these off-the-field troubles evidencing a tendency to be a terrible example to the nation’s youth, he looks to be a sure-fire start.
Left Midfielder: Santi Cazorla. Rumour has it that Santi Cazorla is literally the best at costume parties.
Right Midfielder: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. The only starting Gunner to sport a hyphen in his name, which may or may not hamper his attacking efforts on the right side of the midfield.
Central Attacking Midfielder: Mesut Ozil, in his preferred position, will be sure to lead the attack with his creative playmaking abilities and clean-line hairstyles.
Advanced Attacking Midfielders: Alexis Sanchez and Theo Walcott. The attack is sure to be dangerous with Theo’s pace and Alexis’ creative flair; there is nothing middling about these talented midfielders, who are listed on Arsenal’s official website as forwards, which we think is kind of funny, because they are definitely midfielders on our fantasy team.